Fives and Twenty-Fives (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre - This debut novel written by an Iraq War veteran manages to bring brutal realism, humor, and wisdom to the stories of three members of a road-repair platoon, both during their time searching every pothole for a bomb on the dangerous Iraqi roads as well as after they return to the US. Focusing on what is so often over-looked, the lives of soldiers when they aren't soldiers anymore, Pitre makes us take a deep look into who we're asking our countrymen to become. ~ Nancy

— From Nancy's Book Picks


It's the rule-always watch your fives and twenty-fives. When a convoy halts to investigate a possible roadside bomb, stay in the vehicle and scan five meters in every direction. A bomb inside five meters cuts through the armor, killing everyone in the truck. Once clear, get out and sweep twenty-five meters. A bomb inside twenty-five meters kills the dismounted scouts investigating the road ahead.

Fives and twenty-fives mark the measure of a marine's life in the road repair platoon. Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel. Their mission lacks the glory of the infantry, but in a war where every pothole contains a hidden bomb, road repair brings its own danger.

Lieutenant Donavan leads the platoon, painfully aware of his shortcomings and isolated by his rank. Doc Pleasant, the medic, joined for opportunity, but finds his pride undone as he watches friends die. And there's Kateb, known to the Americans as Dodge, an Iraqi interpreter whose love of American culture-from hip-hop to the dog-eared copy of Huck Finn he carries-is matched only by his disdain for what Americans are doing to his country.

Returning home, they exchange one set of decisions and repercussions for another, struggling to find a place in a world that no longer knows them. A debut both transcendent and rooted in the flesh, Fives and Twenty-Fives is a deeply necessary novel.

About the Author

Michael Pitre is a graduate of Louisiana State University, where he was a double major in history and creative writing. In 2002, he joined the Marines, deploying twice to Iraq and attaining the rank of Captain before leaving the service in 2010 to get his MBA at Loyola. He lives in New Orleans.

Praise For…

“One of the great novels of war, the kind of book that comes along only once or twice each generation. It pulls off that rare literary feat of being at once expansive and personal; real and brutal and funny and wise. Michael Pitre is not just the real deal; he’s a literary force in the making.” —Joseph Boyden, author of Three Day Road

“An authentic and evocative novel about the many battlefields that soldiers face, Fives and Twenty-Fives represents an important new voice in the literature on war.” —Dominic Tierney, author of How We Fight

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781620407547
ISBN-10: 162040754X
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: August 26th, 2014
Pages: 400
Language: English