Most helpful positive review
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An Outstanding Book
on 24 July 2013
Jake, that is by far the best book on the subject of war that I think I have ever read and I have read literally hundreds. A searing account, painful to read, powerful and above all brutally honest. I think it is your total and unflinching honesty which really makes the book stand out and I admire your courage in writing it. The Junior Officers Reading Club comes close,but I think yours is better. I also served on Herrick 6, with the Territorial Army, in an Infantry role. My tour was rough in parts, but not on the same scale as yours. Your observations and descriptions of the impossibility of ever really fitting properly back into civilian life again were incredibly well written and helped me on a personal level. TA (and all reserve forces) face a unique challenge regarding re-integration into society, and I don't mean a harder or easier challenge than the regs, just a different one, which I think you capture perfectly. I do not have PTSD, and I didn't loose any limbs, both of which I will be eternally grateful for. But, like everyone I served with, I am not the same as I was before Afghan and the blackness, as you so astutely describe it, is always there, and always has to be consciously repressed. On a personal level your book helped me hugely, at a time when perhaps the blackness was becoming difficult to manage. It made me feel less isolated, and I am certain that your book will help many veterans. Anger, rage, numbness,sitting at a desk and struggling to integrate the soldier and the civilian which form every TA or reservist are things which I, and I am certain many others can relate to. Finally, with regard to your quest to arm Infantry drivers with pistols - top notch. That has been a personal bugbear of mine since Afghan,having spent part of my tour as an Infantry driver, with my rifle wedged uselessly over the WMIK gearstick/dashboard,I am in absolute agreement that not issuing pistols routinely is criminal. The sheer helplessness of being an effectively unarmed driver in a heavy contact, in amongst compounds,is pretty awful.I wish you all the best in your battle with PTSD. You won your other fights and you can win this one too. For anyone considering buying this book - do it. It is an excellent piece of literature and will give you an insight into certain aspects of war which you simply won't get anywhere else. Jake was clearly a highly competent soldier, he is also a highly competent author.