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Extended Audio Sample Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails: A Memoir, by Anthony Swofford Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (141 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Anthony Swofford Narrator: Anthony Swofford Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The publication of Jarhead launched a new career for Anthony Swofford, earning him accolades for its gritty and unexpected portraits of the soldiers who fought in the Gulf War. It spawned a Hollywood movie, it made Swofford famous and wealthy—and it also nearly killed him.

With the same unremitting intensity he brought to his first memoir, Swofford here describes his search for identity, meaning, and reconciliation with his dying father in the years after he returned from serving as a sniper in the Marines. Adjusting to life after war, he watched his older brother succumb to cancer and his first marriage crumble, leading him to pursue an excessive lifestyle in Manhattan that brought him to the brink of collapse. Consumed by drugs, drinking, expensive cars, and women, Swofford lost almost everything and everyone that mattered to him.

When a son is in trouble he hopes to turn to his greatest source of wisdom and support: his father. But Swofford and his father didn’t exactly have that kind of relationship. The key, he realized, was to confront the man—a philandering, once hard-drinking, now terminally ill Vietnam vet he had struggled hard to understand and even harder to love. The two stubborn, strong-willed war vets embarked on a series of RV trips that quickly became a kind of reckoning in which Swofford took his father to task for a lifetime of infidelities and abuse.

For many years, Swofford had considered combat the decisive test of a man’s greatness. With the understanding that came from these trips and the fateful encounter that took him to a like-minded woman named Christa, Swofford began to understand that becoming a father himself might be the ultimate measure of his life.

Elegantly weaving his family’s past with his own present—nights of excess and sexual conquest, visits with injured war veterans, and a near-fatal car crash—Swofford casts a courageous, insistent eye on both his father and himself in order to make sense of what his military service meant, and to decide, after nearly ending it, what his life can and should become as a man, a veteran, and a father.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mr. Swofford can write like he drives: fast and furious and profane, a poet’s touch control channeling all the testosterone and adrenaline into a high-test, high-wire performance.”

    New York Times

  • “He may have left the battlefield, but his story doesn’t get any less harrowing—Swofford recounts nights of excess and sexual conquest, visits with injured war veterans, and a near-fatal car crash.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “It’s an old story, this father-son dynamic, but well told here…A worthy entry in the pantheon of dysfunctional-family memoirs.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Unsparingly honest…With his naked reflections harboring a redemptive conclusion, Swofford will engage those interested in father-son relationships.”


  • “Fiery…Swofford’s writing, like many of his stories, is explosive.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Peggy Boshears | 2/15/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Anne Kadet | 2/6/2014

    " Asshole son writes about his asshole dad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kristen | 2/3/2014

    " It was ok....I liked the author and he had some good stories but the whole book was kind of disjointed and jumped all over the place. And the author is obsessed with his anger at his father which seems a bit over the top and the rants get old. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Joyce | 1/20/2014

    " Found this really interesting. "

  • > Show All
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