Written by: John Steakley
Narrated by: Tom Weiner
Originally Reviewed: 07-05-18 on audible.com
Rating: 1, must read for everyone
One of My All Time Favorites
This book was first introduced to me by a fellow Veteran, who unequivocally stated that all Veterans should read this book. On the surface, this book is just another fun ant killing book with spaceships, jump suits, and military-style witty-dark humor; it is so much more. I’ve both read and listened to this book several times in the past 15 years and each time I get a bit more out of it.
Since my first reading, I’ve often emotionally connected this book to Starship Troopers, for writing quality and similarities of universe. However, it wasn’t until my most recent listen (just two weeks ago) that I noticed a line that may inextricably link the two. It may be a stretch, but in the beginning when the vets were asking Felix why he joined, one asks, “Are you from South America or something?”; linking a vendetta motivation of enlistment possibly due to Heinlein’s bugs destroying Buenos Aires and which also killed Rico’s mother.
Regardless of similarities, Armor stands on its own two feet with regard to quality and impact on a reader; probably more so due to the subject matter. Where Starship Troopers focuses on political as well as individual moral and leadership philosophy and development, Armor is saturated with the effects of trauma on the psyche and subsequent management ( or lack thereof). Having read everything by LTC(ret) Grossman, as well as, Judith Herman’s incredible, Trauma and Recovery, it seems that Steakley did his research on PTSD before it ever became the catchphrase it is today.
I’m not a huge fan of the narration, but it isn’t awful. This is the only book I’ve listened to by Weiner and his stereotypical “gruff veteran” voice is fine for Felix, but is essentially the same for Jack and a few other characters. Although he does well with Ware and the females. Still it’s not great. I usually listen at 3x speed and I would’ve had to lower that speed for this book had I not already read and listened to this several times before.