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Download Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Joker One: A Marine Platoons Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood Audiobook, by Donovan Campbell Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.19 out of 54.19 out of 54.19 out of 54.19 out of 54.19 out of 5 4.19 (26 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Donovan Campbell Narrator: David Drummond Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781400180745
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When Donovan Campbell's platoon deployed to Ramadi in the spring of 2004, they believed they'd be spending most of their time building schools, training police, and making friends with the citizens. But shortly after arriving, when Campbell awoke to the chilling cry of "Jihad, Jihad, Jihad!" echoing from minaret to minaret across the city, he knew they had an altogether different situation on their hands. For nearly the entire day, Joker-One-the forty-man infantry platoon that Campbell was charged with leading-fought house-to-house to rescue other units, sometimes trading grenades with their enemies from just a few feet away. In the days and months that followed, hundreds of hard-core insurgents launched simultaneous attacks on the Marine forces in Ramadi, their ranks swelled by thousands of local volunteers drawn from the citizens of a city whose primary export was officers in Saddam Hussein's army. By the fall of 2004, nearly half the men in Campbell's platoon had been wounded in some of the fiercest urban fighting since Vietnam; less than a month after they withdrew, the forces in Ramadi were doubled, then tripled. Although Joker One is set in Iraq, the book's themes-brotherhood, honor, and sacrifice-are universal. Campbell shows us how his Marines' patience, discipline, and love for one another created a whole that is much greater than the sum of its parts, and how the essential goodness of these men remains unchanged by all of the pain and the terror surrounding them. His sharp-eyed, evocative, and unflinching account of his deployment is just as impressive as the man himself-a man who chose to enter the military because of his patriotism, sense of privilege, and deep religious faith when most of his Princeton classmates were cashing in their ivy league educations for lucrative careers among the financial elite. The vivid and gripping battle scenes will satisfy fans of military memoirs, but it's Campbell's sense of duty, faith, and love for his men that makes Joker One a truly extraordinary account of a war that has touched us all. Download and start listening now!

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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)

  • Beautiful and harrowing.... A Entertainment Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/24/2014

    " Fabulous read. Highly recommended. This book provides civilians with a much better understanding of what our troops are doing in the Middle East and a much greater appreciate for their service. We thank all the men and women for all the work they do. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chrissy | 1/17/2014

    " This book does a superb job depicting what life as a platoon leader in Iraq is like in the lead up to deployment, during the deployment itself, and just what being an officer in general means. Furthermore, the book shines brilliantly in sharing with you the lives of the Marines in Joker One platoon. Parts of the book had me laughing out loud. Certain parts literally gave me goosebumps (helicopter incident). The last chapter had me shedding a few tears. Chiefly, the love the author had for his Marines is palpable throughout. Certain books are tagged as must-reads for new platoon leaders, and in my opinion, this book deserves to be counted amongst that group. I know it will have a special place on my shelf for years to come. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 12/18/2013

    " 3 to 4 stars. Realistic, gritty recount of time in Iraq "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hugo | 12/9/2013

    " The ending made me shed a tear cause I refused to go all out. Sad book, makes you reflect how good we have it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roger Smitter | 11/8/2013

    " This is a compelling read that takes the reader into combat. The author writes with forcefulness and reflection, especially about the loss of one of his men. It's a good example of leadership. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tristanb18 | 11/4/2013

    " Good description of being a platoon commander and honest about his shortcomings. He's a little to impressed by his men at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 10/11/2013

    " Very hard to read as it is unbelievable how challenging it is to me an American Marine. The conditions are just unbearable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Perry | 7/12/2012

    " Excellent insight into the mind of a young infantry officer in his first combat tour as he develops into a a leader. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 5/19/2012

    " Funny how we're sometimes guided to a book that we never would have given a second glance. And it fits us perfectly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 3/10/2012

    " There is language (it is about Marines) and it is also filled with battle imagery. It tells a story that needs to be told and it reaches into the hearts of these men. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 2/8/2012

    " The setting is novel but the narrative is diminished by cliche. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 12/3/2011

    " A good solid 3.5 - very enlightening for me about one platoon leader's detailed experience in the war in Iraq. Told on a micro rather than macro level. Will tear your heart out in parts and makes the daily sacrifice of our armed forces in combat very real for the reader. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brad | 11/22/2011

    " If you are an officer in the Army or Marine Corps and you are leading men into war, you should read this powerful memoir of leadership, sacrifice, and love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sam | 5/16/2011

    " Very good book, but as far as military books go...it falls behind Band of Brothers and Lone Survivor "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hugo | 4/25/2011

    " The ending made me shed a tear cause I refused to go all out. Sad book, makes you reflect how good we have it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 2/6/2011

    " Straightforward but moving account of a platoon leaders experience in Iraq and even more importantly his growth as a leader of men "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 12/27/2010

    " Excellent book about the Marines in Iraq. This is as realistic as it gets... It is set in Ramadi just as it gets hot... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 9/6/2010

    " A powerful & moving story...and a reason why I always say to someone in a military uniform..."Thank You, Stay Safe" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Perry | 8/30/2010

    " Excellent insight into the mind of a young infantry officer in his first combat tour as he develops into a a leader. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 8/27/2010

    " Fabulous read. Highly recommended. This book provides civilians with a much better understanding of what our troops are doing in the Middle East and a much greater appreciate for their service. We thank all the men and women for all the work they do. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dante | 8/11/2010

    " Good personal account of a tour in Iraq. No political editorial of the war; it is more a military procedural. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gregory | 7/30/2010

    " Great story about leadership and bringing men into battle. "

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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.

About the Narrator

David Drummond has made his living as an actor for over twenty-five years, appearing on stages large and small throughout the country and in Seattle, Washington, his hometown. He has narrated over thirty audiobooks, in genres ranging from current political commentary to historical nonfiction, fantasy, military, thrillers, and humor. He received an AudioFile Earphones Award for his first audiobook, Love ’Em or Lose ’Em: Getting Good People to Stay. When not narrating, he keeps busy writing plays and stories for children.