Soldier's Blog Book Wins Award

Shortly after the Army issued rules restricting soldiers' access to certain Web sites and what they can write in personal blogs, a print on demand company awarded a literary prize to a soldier who anonymously blogged about his experiences while serving in Iraq.

Colby Buzzell (View photo) won the second annual Lulu Blooker award for his book My War: Killing Time in Iraq, in which he writes about his experiences as a soldier fighting in the Iraq's Sunni Triangle in 2005. Lulu, which describes itself "as a technology company, not a publisher" and offers services "to publish and sell any kind of digital content," gives the $10,000 Blooker award a book that started out as a blog. The Penguin Group published My War.

According to a Reuters article:

Buzzell ... says he started posting his experiences online from a frontline Internet tent as a way to "kill time." ... His blog allowed him to explain the war to readers back home with an immediacy that he would never have been able to match if he wrote a book after he returned, Buzzell told Reuters by phone from Los Angeles.

"I would come back after missions, my ears still ringing from the firefight, and sit down and write about it," he said. "If you look at prior history and books about war, it's always in retrospect. I've been back two years. If someone told me to write a book about Iraq now, I wouldn't know where to start."

In an interview with Public Radio International's The World, Buzzell read an excerpt from his book, in which he encountered an insurgent who fired an AK-47 at him. He said bullets whizzed within inches of his head and made pinging sounds as they hit the metal around him. A bullet went through the helmet of Buzzell's platoon sergeant, but did not injure him.

Buzzell's blog post describing the fight identified him as the anonymous blogger, and Buzzell's commanding officer ordered him to stop blogging.