Black Hearts | Jim Frederick | Audiobook Review

Why Did I Read This Book?

I listened to Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent Into Madness In Iraq’s Triangle Of Death by Jim Frederick mainly because I was required to because of secret project thing that I am a judge for — and really that’s the most I can tell you at this conjecture. However, I found myself drawn to this book because war is interesting to me. I mean, it scares me and all, but it’s still interesting. I also find the whole effects of post traumatic stress fascinating as well. Furthermore, I have family serving and so, even though this is not about everyone in the military, I thought it might help to give me a little bit of insight that I sorely lack.

Black Hearts by Jim Frederick | Good Books And Good Wine

What Is Black Hearts About?

Essentially, Jim Frederick’s Black Hearts is a book that really lays the foundation and groundwork and examines a terrible tragedy from all angles and just totally looks at the why. The book talks about the different people within a certain platoon. It talks about conditions in Iraq and in the military and you know, what these people who fight over in Iraq are truly sacrificing. It goes into all of the horrors seen by the military, like trusting certain village people and then those people end up being suicide bombers. Also, the horrors of seeing your comrades blown up. Then, it goes into depth on the incident where a group of soldiers raped a 14 year old Iraqi girl, then killed her and her family. It also goes a bit into sociopathy. I guess, really, that’s what the book is about in a succinct nutshell. If you want to know more or a longer summary, there’s always goodreads.

What Did I Learn?

Huh, this is a hard one for me to fill out because this is more of a book about how things can go horribly wrong and such than it is about like, grandiose history theories and such. Also, straight up being honest, it’s really hard for me to think about this book as being ‘history’ because the events have happened within my lifetime, when I was a teenager which was less than 10 years ago. For me, I don’t know, I guess history has always felt like some distant thing but it’s not. Alas. I think what really sticks out to me is how maybe we don’t treat our soldiers right, now. Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this whole stop loss thing. I know that if you don’t get breaks and are continuously doing things that can mess you up inside, that’s really going to fuck up your psyche, and you know, this book did a very wonderful job examining that. I guess overall, what I truly learned is that I am saddened by the lack of mental health services for combat soldiers, at least as presented in this book.

How Is The Narration?

Unfortunately, I did not entirely gel with the narration of Black Hearts by Jim Frederick. I guess the book felt so monotone and robotic in the beginning. It was very staccato. The production values seemed kind of fuzzy. I would zone out a lot even though the topic is very interesting. I am not sure I’d recommend the audiobook. I think if you were to read this, I would tell you to go get a physical copy. The audiobook is narrated by Corey Snow. It is 12 hours and 12 minutes long. It is produced by Tantor Audio.

Disclosure: Review Copy Provided.

Other reviews of Black Hearts by Jim Frederick:

I clicked through 5 pages of results on google, none from book blogs — so if you review this TELL ME.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. This does sound like a difficult read but also an eye-opening look at life in the military. It saddens me too that the needed mental health services are not available for these soldiers.

    And oh I listened to an audiobook sample and see what you mean about the narration.

    I’m intrigued about your secret judging project! Is it audiobook related?
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