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Review Excerpts

New York Daily News – August 12, 2007
“Kulish's fast-paced and funny work of fiction gives the reader a rare window into the lives of the Marines. Though filled with moments of humor as Stephens becomes the war correspondent he and his editors never really believed he could be, the novel's final pages are heartbreaking as the realities of war come crashing down… Beyond the compassion the reader feels for Kulish's characters, he is able to put the Iraq war in perspective, describing the oddities of being up-close and personal during a battle that seems confusing both for those back home and for the men and women who are fighting in it.” – Jo Piazza

New York Times – August 4, 2007
“This is a very good book: funny, harrowing and sympathetic. Mr. Kulish has (no surprise) a reporter’s ear for dialogue and detail, and a novelist’s skill at constructing a cracking good story. He tells it briskly and with genuine wit. The pages fly by faster than a Predator drone. The best moments in the book, indeed, have a Yossarian feel to them, echoing the justifiable cowardice of the hero of Heller’s masterpiece.There are passages in this novel as stark and heart-rending as... funny, which makes Last One In a worthy addition to the curious but indispensable shelf of war satires.” – Christopher Buckley

Celebrity Service International – July 16, 2006
“With the publication of his first novel Last One In. a stylish satire in the tradition of Mark Twain, Evelyn Waugh or Graham Greene, [Kulish] presents readers with a likable, innocent observer to shed light on our current conflict. A refreshingly original novel written with the expertise of an eyewitness and the imagination of a gifted fiction writer, Last One In may be Nicholas Kulish’s first novel, but its reading will whet one's appetite for much more from this very talented young writer.”

Los Angeles Times – July 15, 2007
“A readable and compelling satire… Jimmy's own personal arc is also never in doubt. But the author manages to make it a gripping journey, even if its basic roadmap is unsurprising. He has an ear for the infantryman's cadence and occasional crude sense of humor. Such spot-on dialogue helps make the "Last One In" a good romp, an entertaining road trip that keeps the reader yearning for Jimmy's next flub. But Kulish… takes the book up a notch, marking this journey with insightful commentary. In the end, we are as happy to see Jimmy's redemption as we are saddened to see its cause.” – Kit R. Roane

Washington City Paper – July 5, 2007
“The opening pages of Nicholas Kulish’s debut novel, Last One In, set up what could be made into a Charlie Kaufmannstyle dramedy... Soon enough, though, the jokiness disappears, and Kulish’s story becomes a sharper and subtler satire. Last One In effectively captures Jimmy’s slow-growing awareness of the multiple hypocrisies and moral gray areas that war creates, and Kulish (who covered the war for the Wall Street Journal) has an excellent eye for the humdrum details of Marine life, from the construction of ad-hoc toilets to superstitions about LifeSavers candies. Plus, his dialogue has a great, Strangelove-ian snap.” – Mark Athitakis

The New Yorker – July 2, 2007
“Kulish launches his clever, affecting novel as a fish-out-of-water narrative… There is comedy (a dimwitted network correspondent provides some of it), and Kulish’s affection for the Marines is palpable. There is considerably less laughter, though, when the invasion begins and Kulish (who was himself embedded with a Marine attack-helicopter unit) describes the sights and emotions of warfare. Through Jimmy’s increasingly fearful and perceptive eyes, the conflict is a cruel, mismanaged catastrophe from the very first shot.”

Entertainment Weekly – June 29, 2007
“When gossip reporter Jimmy Stephens gets his paper sued for libel, he's forced to impersonate an injured writer who shares his name and embed with the Marines for 2003's Iraq invasion. Isn't that the setup of Evelyn Waugh's Scoop? you ask. And do we really need more novels about a Gen-Y guy's redemption? But the story and hero soon blossom into something far more captivating. Kulish, a former war correspondent, devises the perfect carrot/stick combo for our Paris Hilton-ized generation: a passionate critique of modern warfare disguised as lad lit. This one'll sneak up on you. A-.”

New York Sun - June 29, 2007
“Original and illuminating… Mr. Kulish finds his best material in what's happening at the margins… Mr. Kulish catches the different kinds of speech: the grating profanity of the Marines… the semantics of the reporters… and — best and darkest — the eerie doublespeak of the military PR machine. The barbs don't stop as the Marines approach Baghdad, but they become grimmer, and the story finds a deeper register. Mr. Kulish's descriptions of the Marines exploring Saddam Hussein's vacant palace, and of the anti-climactic arrival of the Americans into the decimated city, is surreal and affecting.”

Kirkus – April 1, 2007
“A compelling first novel uses humor to illuminate the deadly absurdities of war. Though Kulish reported from Iraq as an embedded journalist for the Wall Street Journal... this fictional debut extends well beyond his own experience. Ultimately, Jimmy experiences a number of revelations – about the nature of journalism, about the fraternity of soldiers, about the unpredictability of war, about his own values. Kulish arrives at a different sort of truth about the war in Iraq than can be found in nonfiction accounts, and shows a deft command of tone-from the slapstick to the tragic-in the process.”

Publishers Weekly – March 26, 2007
“Kulish, a journalist who was embedded with a Marine attack-helicopter unit for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, draws on that experience for this satirical debut novel. Though the war has changed dramatically since the initial invasion—lending a strangely dated feeling to the narrative—a steady flow of Yossarian-flavored absurdity (‘We're the pro-Iraqi forces, and the anti-Iraqi forces are the Iraqis’) smoothes out the bumps in Stephens's odyssey.”

New York Post – February 27, 2007
“Gossip columnists may want to keep their editors from reading Last One In, the upcoming HarperCollins novel by Nicholas Kulish, who was embedded with a Marine attack helicopter unit for The Wall Street Journal. The dark-comic tale, out this July, features a columnist for The New York Daily Herald who gets rail roaded into covering the invasion of Iraq after he wrongly accuses a big star of cheating on his wife and gets the paper sued. Knowing he's nervous, his boss tries to explain the perks, telling the columnist, ‘I mean it. No one gets laid like a war correspondent.’”
 

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