Fives and Twenty-Fives: Book summary and reviews of Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre

Fives and Twenty-Fives

by Michael Pitre

Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre X
Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2014
    400 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

It's the rule - always watch your fives and twenty-fives. When a convoy halts to investigate a possible roadside bomb, stay in the vehicle and scan five meters in every direction. A bomb inside five meters cuts through the armor, killing everyone in the truck. Once clear, get out and sweep twenty-five meters. A bomb inside twenty-five meters kills the dismounted scouts investigating the road ahead.

Fives and twenty-fives mark the measure of a marine's life in the road repair platoon. Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel. Their mission lacks the glory of the infantry, but in a war where every pothole contains a hidden bomb, road repair brings its own danger.

Lieutenant Donavan leads the platoon, painfully aware of his shortcomings and isolated by his rank. Doc Pleasant, the medic, joined for opportunity, but finds his pride undone as he watches friends die. And there's Kateb, known to the Americans as Dodge, an Iraqi interpreter whose love of American culture - from hip-hop to the dog-eared copy of Huck Finn he carries - is matched only by his disdain for what Americans are doing to his country.

Returning home, they exchange one set of decisions and repercussions for another, struggling to find a place in a world that no longer knows them. A debut both transcendent and rooted in the flesh, Fives and Twenty-Fives is a deeply necessary novel.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A war novel with a voice all its own, this will stand as one of the definitive rendering of the Iraq experience." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Pitre's restrained depictions of Doc and Donovan's wartime doings and their labored readjustment to civilian life...is praiseworthy. But it's the nuanced take on Dodge's divided loyalties - to his family, country, and postwar identity as an activist in Tunisia pressing for President Ben Ali's resignation - that imbues the novel with depth and integrity." - Publishers Weekly

"A thrilling, defining novel of the Iraq War." - Booklist

"More than any other novel about our recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Fives and Twenty-Fives demonstrates how hard it is for troops to leave war behind them in a foreign country...Just as these men and women can't shake the war from their souls, readers won't easily forget the Marines of Engineer Support Company." - David Abrams, author of Fobbit

"Fives and Twenty-Fives is one of the great novels of war, the kind of book that comes along only once or twice each generation." - Joseph Boyden, author of Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce

"An authentic and evocative novel about the many battlefields that soldiers face, Fives and Twenty-Fives represents an important new voice in the literature on war." - Dominic Tierney, author of How We Fight: Crusades, Quagmires and the American Way of War

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Reader Reviews

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Diane S.

fives and twenty-fives
An honest and significant work highlighting those who served in the Iraqi war, their motivations for joining, their fears and their struggles trying to assimilate back into a normal life. It is narrated by three different men, the most interesting to me was Dodge, the Iraqi interpreter.
During the war these three men were part of a crew that filled in Iraqi potholes, where every pothole had a bomb that needed to be detonated. All the characters were complex and the description were very detailed. Also love the introduction of Huck Finn and the meanings found within the text.

The author was a Marine captain and this added authenticity to the storyline and peaked my interest in this accounting of a war I only knew from the television and newspaper accounts. Wonderfully written, honest and raw.

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Author Information

Michael Pitre

Michael Pitre is a graduate of Louisiana State University, where he was a double major in history and creative writing. In 2002, he joined the Marines, deploying twice to Iraq and attaining the rank of Captain before leaving the service in 2010 to get his MBA at Loyola. He lives in New Orleans.

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