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Twentynine Palms: A True Story of Murder, the Marines, and the Mojave


Twentynine Palms: A True Story of Murder, the Marines, and the Mojave

TWENTYNINE PALMS is a cheap strip of land laden with fraternal
lodges, cheesy motels, seared-grass front yards, and small,
beyond-fixing-up homes in the Mojave desert. To the north of town
is the world's largest Marine Corps base, to the south the
beautiful and exotic landscape of Joshua Tree National Park.

In 1991, the desperate and horrific murders of two young girls by a
Marine just returned from mind-bending duties in the Gulf War
shakes the foundation of both the community and the outposts of
military associations across the country. What is it about the
armed forces that breeds such pain and sorrow? How is this one
single crime an umbrella call for change to the legions of broken
homes and shattered dreams that the Marines leave in their wake in
the course of duty? Deanne Stillman, a long-published journalist
and former columnist, takes a look at this incident and, from that,
manages to wreak out details, both painful and remarkable, from the
life of those who support our country with their lives and those
who depend on them in smaller ways, with promises broken, love

In the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks against the US, it
is hard to look at the military with anything but a shaded view ---
yes, there are lots of things about the way they run their business
and the way they indoctrinate American youth to violence for the
sake of freedom that we all find disturbing. And watching the
youthful faces of the recruits getting ready to go defend us
against the evildoings that shattered our securities, it is hard to
think badly of them. However, there is a lasting legacy that the
forces have passed on from decade to decade that, although we can
all agree that there is a reason that they exist, enables us to
question nonetheless the way in which they bend the emotional
fragility of a human being to its most protruded extraction. Of
course, this is just one case, but somehow it serves as a warning
--- this is what happens when someone is taught to kill for the
sake of a higher goal.

Stillman manages to stray from the cliches and super-emotions of
most real-life murder tales. In doing so, she crafts an indelibly
poignant story about the whys and wherefores of war and how it
truly affects us at home.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 24, 2011

Twentynine Palms: A True Story of Murder, the Marines, and the Mojave
by Deanne Stillman

  • Publication Date: November 30, -0001
  • Genres: Literary, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 277 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • ISBN-10: 0380975602
  • ISBN-13: 9780380975600