Marine Corps Memoirist Defends Webb’s Fiction


By Neal Comment

nate-fick.jpgAfter preparing my initial summary of the artificial controversy over Jim Webb’s novels late last night, I glanced over at my bookcase and spotted my copy of Nathaniel Fick’s One Bullet Away, which longtime readers may recall I consider one of the best-written memoirs in recent years, and decided to send off an email to the former USMC officer asking if he had any thoughts about Webb’s Fields of Fire. “It’s one of the top two or three iconic books about the Corps,” Fick (right), who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, replied. “I’d venture to guess that 98% of Marine infantry officers have read it—most of them more than once. It’s as good a description as I’ve seen of leadership under fire.”

“This blow-up by George Allen et al is a classic case of those without talent or experience in a particular area attacking those who have it,” Fick added, “go[ing] after others’ strengths to mask your own weaknesses. I hope he gets hit with some serious blowback.” The full political impact won’t be known until next week, but in the meantime, the attack on Webb has had one discernible impact: the paperback edition of Fields of Fire is currently one of Amazon’s top 600 bestsellers. (Sadly, I didn’t think to check on that ranking days ago, when the iron was really hot…)