cover of KABOOM

Embracing the Suck
In a Savage Little War

by Matt Gallagher

Published by Da Capo Press
ISBN: 9780306819674
ISBN-10: 0306819678
Where to buy KABOOM

Praise for KABOOM

"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 soldiers from every strata of American society. . . .

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."

— Bing West, Wall Street Journal

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“As funny as it is harrowing.”

Entertainment Weekly


“A vivid and introspective chronicle of Gallagher’s fifteen months in Iraq…Its aim is simple: to explain what it is like to wage an unconventional war…Unlike a journalist, whose Heisenberg-like presence inevitably distorts, Gallagher is able to candidly depict the lighter moments of war…Evocative prose, convincing dialogue, and, especially, telling vignettes of life as an American soldier in Iraq.”

The New Republic

Kaboom is funny and profound, urbane and vulgar, witty and worthwhile…Photos with informative captions, and an index [are] the only pages in Kaboom without a sense of humor…As jaw-dropping, laugh-inducing and eye-opening as any life-threatening rollercoaster ride in a war zone.”

Military Times


“[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.”

Library Journal


Kaboom is nothing short of purely honest, unabashedly descriptive and unexpectedly humorous.”



“A funny, moving and insightful book…You’ll be doing yourself a favor by reading it.”

—’s Attackerman blog


“[Gallagher’s] prose is often quite graceful. He knows how to set a scene, he has a good ear for dialogue, and his descriptive powers are keen and quirky...There are times he really nails it.”

California Literary Review


“[Kaboom] takes you there. Gallagher does a great job of portraying the hateful abuse that is the camaraderie of brothers in arms. He also maintains if not a slight detachment, at least some perspective on what is going on.…Well worth a read.”



“If you’ve been searching for a military book to read with unfiltered, frontline stories of the Iraq War, look no further than Matt’s Kaboom.”



“A first hand account of the nuts and bolts of the counterinsurgency effort during the ‘surge’…The majority of Americans have no idea what war is all about. I recommend Kaboom because it may well help in a small way facilitate that understanding. It's also a good read.”



“It's a 21st-century memoir reflecting the age of blogs and instant messaging in a war where national and religious customs are complicated and where the line between combatants and noncombatants is faint…The writing style, quick and incidental, might be an example of the future of prose, with younger people turning out books under the influence of blogs, Twitter and text messaging…Heavy yet compelling reading.”

Reno Gazette-Journal


“This may well be the best memoir to have been written about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Because it captures something I have never really seen captured all that well in memoirs—how the constant suck of war is intertwined with the never-ended stream of hilarity that takes place in a tight-knit combat arms platoon.

Kaboom is laugh-out-loud funny. And brutal. Buy it.”

Abu Muqawama blog (Center for a New American Security)

Kaboom [is] surely the Jarhead of the second Gulf war.”

Financial Times

Praise for the KABOOM blog:

"One of the most brutally honest blogs ever to come out of Iraq/one of the military blogosphere's best-loved voices from the war."



"At turns hilarious, maddening, and terrifying."

The Washington Post

"Highly literate, grippingly entertaining, funny, scary, strange and unblinkingly honest posts."


"A stylish, candid window into the soldier's experience."

—Jay Bookman, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution