David Finkel has created a definitive, first-hand account of 'the poor, bloody infantry' at war. Anyone who has been there will recognise the hard truths at the heart of this narrative - the hours of crushing boredom punctuated by brief periods of gut-wrenching action, where all there is to fall back on is your training, and the knowledge that your mates are with you all the way. Finkel's sometimes terse, journalistic prose fits well with the harsh realities of the lives of the very real people who are at the centre of all of this. The contrasts between the real,war zone experience and the remote, subjective impressions of the politicians and of the public in general is also made clear. For those not directly involved. the reality only seems to truly come home when Finkel describes the interplay between wounded survivors and their families. This is no 'gung ho' account with John Wayne/Audie Murphy type characters, despite the fact that the unit involved is an elite one - the Rangers. There are heroes, nevertheless - but these are real people, with all the doubts and fears that assail any soldier faced with the carnage that they experience. What makes them 'good soldiers' is the fact that despite all this, they still continue to function as a unit - sometimes only just... This is a tale that needed to be told, and is relevant to any war zone at any time. Read it and weep... Brilliant.