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Tyler E. Boudreau is a twelve-year veteran of the Marine Corps infantry. He trained and committed himself physically and intellectually to the military life. Then his intense devotion began to disintegrate, bit by bit, during his final mission in Iraq. After returning home, he discovered a turmoil developing in his mind, estranging him from his loved ones and the bill of goods he eagerly purchased as a marine officer.
Packing Inferno is the spectacularly written story of the ordeal of a marine officer in battle and then coming home. It is the struggle with a society resistant to understand the true nature of war. It is the fight with combat stress and an exploration into the process of recovery. It is the search for conscience, family, and ultimately for one's essential self. Here are the reflections of a man built by the Marine Corps, disassembled by war, and left with no guidance to rebuild himself.
This is Tyler E. Boudreau's first book. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works with other veterans on many projects related to war.
Former marine officer Boudreau documents his struggles with the demons of war in this uneven memoir. Initially "infatuated" with war, the author was deployed to Iraq in March 2004 as the assistant operations officer for an infantry battalion. His wartime experiences, however, left him increasingly disillusioned and ambivalent; unable to face another deployment, Boudreau resigned from the Marine Corps after 12 years of service. The author's rage stems from his frustration with the U.S. mission in Iraq, which he concludes is "un-accomplishable," noting, "I see my fellow Marines getting blown away for nothing and with no chance whatsoever of success." Boudreau dismisses the "surge" strategy and greets "stories of tactical success with skepticism." The author's efforts to call attention to veterans' psychological wounds are commendable, but his brief against the U.S. mission in Iraq a "labyrinth of... unattainable goals" is supported by occasionally suspect statistics (i.e., his exaggerated figures for army suicides). Boudreau writes convincingly about his inner struggles and draws on a seabag of colorful anecdotes to support his observations and conclusions in this provocative if flawed memoir.