Review: ‘Thank You For My Service’
The Washington Free Becon
AUGUST 25, 2019
From Balad to Black Rifle
He doesn't discount the reality of PTSD or survivor's guilt among some veterans, but he takes issue with the media-made notion that every veteran story is an "endless parade of horribles" and veterans are "ticking time bombs waiting to explode."Mat Best is an American man's man, someone who loves "man s—t like beards and whiskey and guns and hot chicks in American flag bikinis." Beneath layers of playful, irreverent humor, Best’s memoir Thank You For My Service is a serious book about a former Army Ranger navigating his way back into civilian life, overcoming an addiction to war, and trying to support his fellow veterans.
Best's book covers everything—his decision to join the military out of high school, his deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than a modest portion of his sex life. After serving multiple deployments in Iraq, he wrestled with the question of whether to stay in the military.
"Was I going to age too rapidly and burn myself out over here and miss all of my twenties if I stayed? Probably. Would it be more rewarding to stay? Maybe. Would I regret not giving the carefree twenties a shot? I didn’t know," Best writes.
Yet the transition proved challenging. College initially seemed compelling, but an afternoon on a campus listening to students' conversations—and their "fundamental lack of understanding of how the world works"—dissuaded him from that path.
He then opted for a job in private security that ended in a booze-filled sex-fest during a party at the home of a Gatsby-esque Los Angeles billionaire. Best blasts Los Angeles for its "selfishness, rudeness, and disrespect," observing that "it's incredibly mind-blowing how quickly that town can break you down."
read it here