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Publisher's Summary

This is the personal side of battle, where emotion, courage, and strength are stretched to the limits.

In one of the most compelling combat narratives ever written, Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, an Army infantry platoon leader in Iraq, gives a teeth-rattling, first-hand account of 11 straight days of heavy house-to-house fighting during the climactic second battle of Fallujah. His actions in the firefight, which included killing five insurgents in hand-to-hand combat, earned Bellavia the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and New York State's highest military honor, the Conspicuous Service Cross. He has been nominated for the Medal of Honor and for the Army's second-highest combat medal, the Distinguished Service Cross.

©2007 David Bellavia (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[W]ill satisfy readers who like their testosterone undiluted...a precise, hour-by-hour account of the fighting, featuring repeated heroic feats and brave sacrifice from Americans." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about House to House

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hoest, direct and unapologetically human.

One of the most honest and direct portrayals of the human condition in extreme circumstances. A representation of selfless sacrifice, brotherhood, strength and courage in the face of fear, uncertainty and brutality of war. Thank you for your Service.

1 person found this helpful

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The book grew on me

I struggled with Yank bravado but saw through it and felt the story and hardship.

1 person found this helpful

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A great book, highly recommended

Non stop action from the start with some great humour, one of the best non fiction combat books

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strong one minute weak the next

I liked the story line very much but jumping from a strong disciplined team to a squabbling and panicking bunch, was to much. No Yin & Yang happening with this group.

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H 2 H

Very good book, almost like being in the clearance teams. Graphic and detailed. Great listen. BTW the worst Aussie accent I have ever heard, but does in no detract from the book.

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Insightful

Very insightful into the cost of war,

Really good accounting of the violence and speed of action but also accounts on the not so glamorous parts of war.

Well worth the read.

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Great War story

Thoroughly enjoyed this.
If you like war stories this is for you.
Narrator is great also

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really good work

loved this ground level overview of the battle for Falluja.
excellent narration overall with the exception of a horrific Aussie accent !

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Struggled to get into it

Yeah I couldn’t get into it. Was written well but the voices the narrator uses was driving me crazy.

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short intense burst of action, inspiring

awesome story of the making of an army soldier, easy to listen to and an inspiring, honest and open story about the reality of close quarters combat

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  • Robert
  • 24-09-2007

As raw as it gets

David Bellavia's memoir "House to House" describes the intense fighting and the sacifices made by our forces in Iraq in raw detail. If you are looking for a first-hand account of what is really going on in Iraq then this is the book you should download. David, thank you for your service to our country.

32 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • K. Labidi
  • 04-08-2011

excellent writing, story and narration

I think this is a great book. I've read or listened to many books about the wars in Iraq (including another that focused on Fallujah) and AFG. and think this is one of the best. Although I like almost all of the other books, this one really gives a sense of what the weeks, days and hours for Staff Sgt. Bellavia and his unit were like (unrelentingly brutal). It gives details about things I've never thought about before - what it's like to have lacerations from flying shrapnel all over ones face and body in a filthy, bacteria laden environment (the result is intense infection), or the consequences of not being able to take off combat boots for days on end (painful, rotting feet) - and those are just a couple of the "little" things.

I wish every American would read this. As our troops return from multiple deployments, it's extremely important that the general population be educated about what they've endured. I can't imagine anyone reading this without coming away more understanding of and compassionate towards our combat veterans (and active duty service members).

Finally, I can't say enough good things about the narrator - he is fantastic.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Dennis
  • 11-10-2013

FIRST HAND ACCOUNT OF WAR

This is a first hand account of the horrors and sometimes incredible stupidity of war. Don't look for the reasons why we go to war but experience through the authors and narrator what it means to be in combat, sometimes hand to hand combat. My services in the Army taught me that you can become numb to almost anything and this book reminded me of those times. It also reminded me of the so often stupidity of superior officers who dress like field combat soldiers but sit comfortably behind desks in safe offices and never, ever even come close to combat. And of those politicians in Washington who send young troops to war, young men and women to fight battles for reasons unknown while the politicians pompously wait for their drivers to take them to the nearest pub for a free meal and drinks. Cynical am I, you bet but that comes from experience. This is a really worthy book. Not always easy to read and sometimes a little gritty. The language is that of a soldier, not a Harvard educated author but that is reality. You may be angry at the end but you should be proud of those who serve and you will be better off with a clearer understanding of war for having read this book. .

6 people found this helpful

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  • james
  • 05-06-2012

Wow, Best of this type!

Where does House to House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very near the top. Story is just amazing and author brings you along so well.

What was one of the most memorable moments of House to House?

when author fights by himself in the house near the end of the book. Also when he recounts his interactioins with his son it just tore me apart. Reminded me of my son and having to leave him and his mother when I travel.

Have you listened to any of Ray Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Have not listened to one of his other performances but this was truely stellar.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

You bet....but I forced myself to break it into little pieces to make it last.

Any additional comments?

I was thinking this would be similar to many other similar books I read but I was absolutely floored by the emotion, and the feeling that pours forth from this book. Only regret is not purchasing sooner. You will judge other books of this type by this book from now on.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle Miller
  • 15-01-2012

One of the best audio books I have listened to

Any additional comments?

This book gives a brilliant insight of what it was like to be in the US Army, in Iraq, post Saddam. The author is very funny, honest and doesn't spare the listener from any of the horrors of war. This is a book you must get.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nigel
  • 23-09-2008

From the Ground

This is one mans view of the US assault on Fallujah, if you want an overview of strategy this is not the book for you. This is about the struggle of Staff sergeant Bellavia and his platoon as they fight house to house in the city of Fallujah. Personally I like the detail and the perspective from the man on the ground, no gloss, no political spin, just the raw details as he sees them. The saying "someone has to do it" in never more appropriate than in this book. War is not clean, surgical or all electronic yet... We still rely on the "Warrior" despite the spin often portrayed in the media. The book does not always read well but this is not meant to be a classic this is one mans perspective and I think he does the job well. You have to admire anyone who is prepared to place themselves in harms way in situations like this, God Bless our troops may we always support them, despite the social/political climate.

17 people found this helpful

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  • ParamedTX
  • 17-06-2019

A story that strikes me speechless.

This is by far the most intense and emotional war memoir I have ever read. I have never been pulled into the fight like I was in SSG Bellavia’s telling.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Janet C. Walker
  • 25-06-2013

Excellent!

SSG Bell relates his story of the battle of Fallujah and completely involves the reader. Fascinating and can't put down story everyone ought to read(listen). It makes you want to scramble for your flac vest. Oh, I left mine in the arms room 35 years ago. What these men went through does not compare at all to my 20 plus years in the Army and makes me need to back up to the pay table for my retirement check. Heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.

Hooah, hell Thank god for the American soldier.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 21-01-2008

Entertaining Listen

The author's down-to-earth while engaging and detailed style made this one of my favorite recent listens. Sure made two long drives fly right past. Gave me a much different perspective on things 'over there' than all other media sources have. Just a warning - quite a bit of front-line infantry style profanity than a more traditional documentary format so might be better to avoid if that is going to offend you. I found myself laughing out loud frequently though.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-04-2021

Veteran Approved

This had me locked in through start to finish. More specifically, the final 25 minutes. I went into my five year olds bed and laid beside him as he slept.....I listened and sobbed.

This book tells a story to those that can’t imagine....and hits home to those that can.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • christina
  • 17-08-2011

pretty good, just doesn't quite hang together

I downloaded this because I'd just finished watching Generation Kill on TV and it got me really interested in the lives of military personnel. I did enjoy this book. It feels like an honest portrayal - the storyteller comes over as very brave and strong but also fallible and, on several occasions, a little bit deranged. And in a lot of the sections you feel like you know what it would be like to be out there. The bits I liked least were the (long) battle scenes. He doesn't give any real sense of time so you never know whether the events are spread over days or just minutes. Also he seems to take a lot of very odd decisions which kind of jar with the narrative. I'm sure a lot of us would do some strange things under that kind of stress, but it's never really explained. But overall still a worthwhile and interesting listen and a good insight into the life of a soldier

5 people found this helpful

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  • Tony D
  • 09-08-2021

Engrossing first hand account of combat

I understand how some can question the depth of the content and think some of it is bloated to fill out the book.

However, if you had spoken to him when he had finished the house clearance, he would have merely said something like, "f..k that was fun, I proper sh.t my pants fellas." or just honesty like, "that's why I'm a NCO, that's what we have trained for"

Many contacts in battle are forgotten as its a blur & we were just doing our jobs. Those who have never been in those situations and battle spaces can never really understand the pressure, mentality, gallows humour, professionalism along with the mental frailty of those who have.
The author has had plenty of time to think about what actually happened during that tour and that clearance, it would take a brave man to write waffle knowing that his men will probably read it, even if just to do a name check 😉
The author will not want to lose the respect his men will have for him by sowing such lies.

Strangely, you usually learn more about your part in a contact from others rather than your own memory, others see the near misses and majority of times what you hit or didn't hit, you, well you see and remember only the madness of your own moments , much is lost to your brain going into rotation after rotation of the training drilled into you.

Listen to the book, have an open mind and enjoy the war diary of an individual who is prepared to share his memories.


3 people found this helpful

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  • Dave Cassim
  • 21-08-2021

Gripping

The story was fantastic but the narrator... blew me away! So much energy and passion, he really brought the story to life!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sjndre
  • 30-07-2020

Great book

As a former infantryman this book really touched me. I was moved to tears at several points.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian portee
  • 22-03-2018

“Heavy infantrymen”

Excellent book, a bit repetitive at times but overall a very good book. The narration is great, this guy can do all the voices so well that really helps.
Would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about war an war in Iraq, an the taking of Falluga.....⁉️

1 person found this helpful

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  • MR J R Stagg
  • 13-03-2018

comes across wrong

having experience of combat this whole story of him in the house comes across as a bloatig and inflated story. the cliche touch of the face and last minute crumbling of a supposedly 'high' insurgent leads me to believe that he was in a bad situation but bloated the story with riff raff and movie b.s

1 person found this helpful

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  • Someone
  • 26-05-2022

Raw CQB as it is.

I was looking for a good memoir of the 2nd battle of Fallujah, this one far exceeded my expectations. It isn't surprising as it was written by a Medal of Honor recipient, the highest American award. The narrator is doing a great job with impressions and accents.

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  • Mark Thompson
  • 10-05-2022

Unfinished

Would be good if the last 1 hours and 16 minutes played it just stopped

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  • Phil H
  • 06-05-2022

Plain title - terrific book

I picked this up from the Plus collection and I have to say, I was blown away by it.

I've read dozens of military memoirs over the years and almost always, they follow the same format: Gripping first chapter designed to suck you into the story, then chapters of a (usually bad) home life, recruit phase, working unit phase and so on.

It's all moderately interesting, but to be honest, I don't want to wade through a hundred pages of backstory unless it's relevant to the task in hand.

As usual, this book jumps straight into the action, but surprisingly, Chapter Two continues in the same vein.....and so does the third and fourth chapters......what the hell? A military book without all the background fluff?

Throughout the whole book, the pace never slows down and the frank admissions of SSGT Bellavia makes the reader feel very close to both him and the action. He has doubts, he has fears and undoubtedly, he has courage.

Ray Porter's narration is pixel-perfect for this book. It is outstanding and brings the memoir to life. The descriptions make you feel like you're in the sandpit and it really brings home the horrors of house to house fighting in the modern day.

Highly recommended.

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  • GC
  • 21-03-2022

The Terror

Initially I was turned off by the narration which at first to me seemed a little gung-ho. However this quickly dissipated to reveal a raw expression of the terror that these brave souls endured. Despite being non military I have spent time in Iraq and Iran and although my experience was passive I can relate to the geographic environment and the mindset of some of the people. Apart from the enduring heat and the smell I cannot conceive of the taught nerves and extreme exposure to danger that is excellently conveyed in this book.
A full blown personal insight into Bravery Loss Danger Comradeship and Sacrifice.

Recommended.

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