Author(s): Matt Gallagher
When Lieutenant Matt Gallagher began his blog with the aim of keeping his family and friends apprised of his experiences, he didnt anticipate that it would resonate far beyond his intended audience. His subjects ranged from mission details to immortality, grim stories about Bon Jovi cassettes mistaken for IEDs, and the daily experiences of the Gravediggersthe code name for members of Gallaghers platoon. When the blog was shut down in June 2008 by the U. S. Army, there were more than twenty-five congressional inquiries regarding the matter as well as reports through the military grapevine that many high-ranking officials and officers at the Pentagon were disappointed that the blog had been ordered closed. Based on Gallaghers extraordinarily popular blog, Kaboom is at turns hilarious, maddening, and terrifying, providing raw and insightful snapshots of a conflict many Americans have lost interest in (Washington Post). Like Anthony Swoffords Jarhead, Gallaghers Kaboom resonates with stoic detachment and timeless insight into a war that we are still trying to understand.
"Wall Street Journal," 3/23/10 "Understanding that comedy best captures the irony of the human condition, Mr. Gallagher pokes fun at himself, his soldiers and those above him...Above all, "Kaboom" is about the day-to-day travails of a typical platoon set smack among thousands of disillusioned and war-weary Iraqis...Without a trace of sentimentality, Mr. Gallagher draws the reader into the everyday complexities of leading 44 soldiers from every strata of American society...One of the attractions of "Kaboom" is its first-hand reporting, unfiltered by a journalist's interpretative 'framing.' Whenever a tense situation arises, whenever bullets start flying, Mr. Gallagher and his soldiers rush to the scene and instinctively take charge through pure force--and we're right at their side. Mr. Gallagher brings the reader down to the stinking streets, through the sewer water and into meetings with cunning sheiks and sycophants...Mr. Gallagher is too modest, and too ironic, to tout his own accomplishments, so I'll do it for him: He is a classic representative of the U.S. military, a force that imposed its will, both physical and moral, to shatter al Qaeda in Iraq and quash the Shiite-Sunni civil war and that is now withdrawing with honor, leaving Iraq a much better place than under Saddam Hussein. Mr. Gallagher's platoon served in chaos and brought order. His book tells us what a grind it was. Victory over the insurgency wasn't foreordained; it took the work of gritty soldiers and leaders." "Library Journal," 4/1/10 "[Gallagher's] exceptional narrative technique makes the soldier in-group cant both believable and coherent; his relentless pursuit of sanity in the midst of a chaotic storm of IEDs, policy changes, sheiks, civilians, and baffling missions makes this blog-based memoir an exciting read reminiscent of Anthony Swofford's "Jarhead."" "Zink" magazine, April 2010 ""Kaboom" is nothing short of purely honest, unabashedly descriptive and unexpected
Matt Gallagher joined the U.S. Army in 2005 and received a commission in the armored cavalry. Following a fifteen-month deployment in Iraq, Gallagher left the army in 2009. Originally from Reno, Nevada, he now lives in New York City.