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Extended Audio Sample Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood, by Donovan Campbell, David Drummond Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,030 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Donovan Campbell, David Drummond Narrator: David Drummond Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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After graduating from Princeton, Donovan Campbell, motivated by his unwavering patriotism and commitment, decided to join the service, realizing that becoming a Marine officer would allow him to give back to his country, engage in the world, and learn to lead. In this immediate, thrilling, and inspiring memoir, Campbell recounts a timeless and transcendent tale of brotherhood, courage, and sacrifice.

As commander of a forty-man infantry platoon called Joker One, Campbell had just months to train and transform a ragtag group of brand-new Marines into a first-rate cohesive fighting unit, men who would become his family: Sergeant Leza, the house intellectual who read Che Guevara; Sergeant Mariano Noriel, the “Filipino ball of fire” who would become Campbell’s closest confidant and friend; Lance Corporal William Feldmeir, a narcoleptic who fell asleep during battle; and a lieutenant known simply as “the Ox,” whose stubborn aggressiveness would be more curse than blessing. 

Campbell and his men were assigned to Ramadi, that capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province that was an explosion just waiting to happen. And when it did happen—with the chilling cries of “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad!” echoing from minaret to minaret—Campbell and company were there to protect the innocent, battle the insurgents, and pick up the pieces. After seven months of day-to-day, house-to-house combat, nearly half of Campbell’s platoon had been wounded, a casualty rate that went beyond that of any Marine or Army unit since Vietnam. Yet unlike Fallujah, Ramadi never fell to the enemy.

Told by the man who led the unit of hard-pressed Marines, Joker One is a gripping tale of a leadership, loyalty, faith, and camaraderie throughout the best and worst of times.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Faced with urgent life-and-death decisions, Campbell had learned that there are no great options … you live with the results and shut up about the whole thing. For all his constant self-questioning, Lt. Campbell brought Joker One home with only one KIA—a record as impressive as his account.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Denise | 2/16/2014

    " This was not a fast read in that it was told from Donovan's view with a lot of explanation about the events. I really enjoyed this book and felt even more grateful for those who sacrifice for our freedoms here. I don't know how the soldiers handle the daily stress! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Andy | 2/3/2014

    " If you want an inkling of what we've asked our military to do in our collective name over the last decade, this will give it to you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michael Flanagan | 1/29/2014

    " The scene is the city of Ramadi like all of Iraq the enemy could be anyone and anywhere.This book really hit home with me the sacrifices made by ordinary people in serving their country. The last half of the book were the author goes into the the strain of leadership and the toll it takes when those you lead get hurt also struck a deep chord with me. What these people do day after day after day is beyond comprehension and shows what strength of character is all about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Stuart Lodge | 1/29/2014

    " I saw Donovan Campbell speak at an FEI meeting last fall. Campbell related the incredibly powerful and heartfelt story of leading his Marine platoon into combat in Ramadi, one the most brutal areas of the Iraq war. You could have heard a pin drop during his presentation, which was one of the best I've ever seen at a business function. Eager to read Campbell's book, I found it no less compelling. Campbell's gripping story, filled with the gritty realities of war, is chock-full of the heroic and tragic stories that naturally result from leading young men into combat. The book is a page-turner that left a lump in my throat and gave me a better appreciation for the trying conditions of the Iraq war as well as the incredible sacrifices made by the brave men and women fighting for the Iraqis' freedom. "

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About the Author

Donovan Campbell graduated with honors from Princeton University and Harvard Business School, finished first in his class at the Marines’ Basic Officer Course, and served three combat deployments—two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and a Bronze Star with Valor for his time in Iraq. He is now working for PepsiCo and living in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and daughter.