3 out of 4 stars
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Natividad Ruiz is one of the American soldiers who were on the front line during the war in Afghanistan. Bad Infidel is his memoir in which he recounts his experiences during the war. He gives a detailed account of the things that he did, with a special focus on his family in the war zone (his platoon). He also uses the book to give his opinion about leadership within the military. It has 300+ pages.
Someone once said, “Sometimes, the nicest people are covered with tattoos.” In this case, I would say, “Sometimes, the nicest books are loaded with F-bombs.” I almost gave up reading this book after I met the first one (F-bomb) in the first paragraph of the first chapter. Yes, in the first paragraph, but I am glad that I chose to read it. I ended up being glued to its pages as I read more about what Ruiz and his platoon (The Black Sheep) went through during the war. I was particularly upset with their First Sergeant who treated them as if they were not good enough. He was always looking for new opportunities to make them feel like pieces of trash. He behaved as if it was fine to walk all over his fellow human beings. After an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosion, the platoon’s lieutenant (Lt. Osborne) and another soldier (Sgt. Roesch) were injured and had to leave. The First Sergeant (Dicks) did not care that The Black Sheep, which was already disadvantaged in terms of numbers, needed some additional soldiers. He even went ahead and made it the assault unit. Ruiz noted, “We were less than twenty-six soldiers, and for some reason made the f**k assault for a “TASK FORCE.” No officer, no hero with bells and whistles.” Just to give you a clearer picture, the ideal platoon for the task was “twenty men stronger” and was better equipped.
I loved the author’s brevity, loyalty, and sense of humor. When the lieutenant left the platoon after the accident, Ruiz took the leading role. Just ‘walking’ and ‘staying’ with him as he did his job, especially disarming IEDs, gave me chills. He always looked out for his soldiers and ensured that they were always safe. He even confronted the First Sergeant on several occasions to protect the wellbeing of the platoon. Can you imagine that at some point, he found himself in the middle of a heavy crossfire, and he describes that as the perfect moment of his life? I could not believe it when he said, “ So here Wynell and I go running up the f**k road, past the bombs, and bullets coming toward us, no sh*t, at us, and I think, “This is the most perfect time of my life.” This moment right here, bombs, guns, bullets, and I’m running to the sound of the guns and my men, The Black Sheep. No matter how long I may live, I will never reach this perfect feeling of person, place, and time again.” That’s beyond amazing.
This is a book that I would recommend to the whole world: If not for Ruiz’s sense of humor and his ability to loosen up the tension of thick situations with his tactful use of words, then for the lessons that we need to learn about war and politics. It also gives a perfect picture of the challenges that soldiers go through during times of war. The mainstream media journalists will also learn how lame their one-sided reports can be. Those who love books with a paranormal aspect (in real life) will also love it.
It was not professionally edited. Sadly, I gave it 3 out of 4 stars because I had to deduct a star due to the several grammatical errors that I noted. The author has such an amazing personality and a great sense of humor that made me not to give the book a lower rating.
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