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War [Hardcover]

Sebastian Junger
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 May 2010

From the author of The Perfect Storm, a gripping book about Sebastian Junger's almost-fatal year with the 2nd battalion of the American Army.

They were known as "The Rock." For one year, in 2007-2008, Sebastian Junger accompanied a single platoon of thirty men from the storied 2nd battalion of the U.S. Army, as they fought their way through a remote valley in Eastern Afghanistan. Over the course of five trips, Junger was in more firefights than he can count, men he knew were killed or wounded, and he himself was almost killed. His relationship with these soldiers grew so close that they considered him part of the platoon, and he enjoyed an access and a candidness that few, if any, journalists ever attain.

War is a narrative about combat: the fear of dying, the trauma of killing and the love between platoon-mates who would rather die than let each other down.

Gripping, honest, intense, War explores the neurological, psychological and social elements of combat, and the incredible bonds that form between these small groups of men. This is not a book about Afghanistan or the 'War on Terror'; it is a book about the universal truth of all men, in all wars. Junger set out to answer what he thought of as the 'hand grenade question': why would a man throw himself on a hand grenade to save other men he has probably known for only a few months? The answer elusive but profound, and goes to the heart of what it means not just to be a soldier, but to be human.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (27 May 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007337701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007337705
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Praise for ‘Fire’:
'This is frontline reporting of the highest order from the dangerous, blade-sharp edge of things.' The Times

'His language, as powerful as the most abrasive undercurrent, describes an exceptional tug of war with the elements.' Alex O'Connell, The Times

'He writes like a poet who has been to meteorology school.' Ruth Rendell, Daily Telegraph

'Detail blazes through these chapters like the fiercest fire storm, yet the writing is invariably controlled, never breathless…Junger is an excellent story teller.' Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Sebastian Junger is the bestselling author of The Perfect Storm and A Death in Belmont. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. He lives in New York.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WAR---this will open you eyes... 27 Jan 2011
by Sebastian Junger

Book Review by Jay Gilbertson

For over fifteen months author Junger (a Vanity Fair contributing editor) shadowed a single American army platoon in and around the Korengal Valley located deep in a remote part of Afghanistan. This is NOT an easy read, but one of the most compelling accounts of something most of us know very little about. This is not the kind of information you will ever see or hear in the media--this is what it's really like out there--and it's not what you think.

It's worse.

"The core psychological experiences of war are so primal and unadulterated, however, that they eclipse subtler feelings, like sorrow or remorse, that can gut you quietly for years."

Junger lives the life of combat in an area so humanly unfriendly it's often hard to read; let alone imagine. For the entire duration of their tour there is no running water, no cooked food, no women or booze or internet. Their time is filled with constant stress so palpable it will change them forever. How could it not?

This is not a diary, nor is it a case-study of how a soldier lives, nor is it in any way political; it's a collection of brutal experiences. From intense gun-fire and grenade tossing and road bombs that tear up young men beyond recognition to a myriad of horrible injuries and death all tied to the fact that this particular platoon fights as one unit.

That theme is what powers this entire piece. This group of incredibly well-trained men would rather die themselves than be the cause of any other soldier's demise. There's a little known practice called blood-in and blood out to cement this into each and every soldiers psyche and to break the boredom.

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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking essential read 12 May 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When you pick up a book called "War" it's pretty obvious from the outset what you're going to get: a diary style account of the Afghanistan War as seen through the eyes of Sebastian Junger, a journalist who spent 15 months with a platoon in the bloody Korengal Valley whilst on an assignment for Vanity Fair magazine. As you would expect, Junger depicts the brutality of war, filled with gunfights, explosions and ultimately death, but "War" is so much more than a book about the violence humans can inflict upon one another in what can from the outside appear to be a pointless battle. It is also a book about the nature of humans and the relationships that men form in such extreme circumstances.

The men of 173rd Airborne are clearly distinguished by Junger with their individual personalities and varyingly dishevelled appearances, but what really stood out for me was the complete honour and trust they all placed in one another. If one man makes a mistake, he doesn't just put his own life at risk, but the lives of the entire platoon, and it is this bond and reliance on each other that makes the book so interesting. On top of this, Junger also delves into the lives of the men when they go home on leave, and how their mental state is affected by everything they've been through. It's not an easy thing to read about, but it's important that people are made aware of how these men can never truly leave the war behind.

"War" is an amazing read - exciting, terrifying, humbling, devastating. There are many words that could be used to describe this book but I'll summarise in just two: "read it".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frontier Arithmetic 19 April 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sebastian Junger was embedded with a US Army unit in the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan for over a year. This book is the result of that experience.

It is an interesting mixture of styles: there is the "Despatches" School of blood, profanity and squaddie philosophy; then there is a technical discussion of how the US Army wages war on the Taliban; finally, an attempt to place the experience of the men in some kind of psychological and social context. Junger resists the temptation to go too far in any direction and the result is a good book.

The soldiers are not seen as quaint or odd but as functioning as well as they may with their lives to date and their present position. Junger gives a view as to why so many die so bravely (he discusses what bravery means) and so many of the survivors suffer yet re-enlist; reminding us that unlike Vietnam these are not conscripts. There is even time to consider the motivation of the Taliban as they sit out in the hills trying to ambush the Americans.

The men in the Korengal chronicled by Junger compare well to the GIs in Vietnam chronicled by other more excitable accounts; this group come over as being much more fluent in counter-insurgency and much less "deranged"; but that maybe a function of Junger's ability to not get in the way of their story. As an account of men under fire it is in the tradition of the Great War rather than Apocalypse Now.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review by ROROBLU'S DAD - short and sweet 12 May 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a very brief review and I make no excuses for that.

If the subject of this book is even of mild interest to you then please read it. It gives a plain and brutal account from the people actually involved, of what it is like to be `out there'. I won't spoil it by giving away any of the content, save to say it is not disguised by flowery prose.

As I said, it's plain and brutal..... just like it needs to be. Maybe our politicians should be forced to read this. Things just might be different, you never know. Let's not hold our breath though.

A brief thank you to Sebastian Junger for putting this in print.

`Get some'.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
This a brilliant insight into young men's experience of war. As you would expect little from Afghan side. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. J. Youngs
5.0 out of 5 stars It was one of the better Afghanistan war books that I have read
It was one of the better Afghanistan war books that I have read, told through the eyes of a journalist. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Johnathan Hockey
5.0 out of 5 stars and what its like to be doing something most of us cannot imagine
Incredible book - its not just about war, but the human condition. I am not a huge war-book reader, but this one is about spirit, and people, and what its like to be doing... Read more
Published 2 months ago by London Gal
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
I wanted to read an account from the US perspective and this is very well written, balanced and informative. I highly recommend this.
Published 9 months ago by James
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Read and doesn't avoid the hard topics of what happens with men on the front line. All the nitty gritty
Published 10 months ago by Tasha
5.0 out of 5 stars War.
Although Junger goes on about technical things quite a bit,the speed of a bullet and what it can do. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Lynne Kirkman
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic reporting
A fascinating insight into frontline soldiering and the realities of US counter-insurgency in Afghanistan by a very brave and accomplished journalist. Worth every penny.
Published 14 months ago by G Whitehead
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
exiting and gripping story telling of actual events during military operations. a must read even on the beach. i read each day when i had free time and i loved it.
Published 14 months ago by Dimitris
5.0 out of 5 stars Griping / Sad / Humbling........
Having watched the film I was eager to follow this up by reading the more in-depth account given in the book. And I must say I wasn't disappointed. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dan
4.0 out of 5 stars Restrepo and The Brotherhood
If I could recommend a book about our American soldiers to every American, 'War' would be the one. I thought I knew what war was like, I knew nothing. Read more
Published 16 months ago by prisrob
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