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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first essential book on the Iraq War is here
Many excellent history books bring the immediacy of a situation to the forefront by adding a first hand account. This entire book is a first hand account with the added advantage of being extremely well written by a journalist rather than heartfelt but potentially not as eloquent as if had been written by a soldier.

The books tells the story of the 2007 tour of...
Published on 18 May 2010 by J. Duducu

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Good Soldiers - an alternative view
I have to disagree with some of the reviews written here. I found the book to be patronising and the author seemed to spend the whole of his time trying to find the negatives in any situation. He also seems to have spent the majority of his time attached to the CO's webbing with the occasional mention of the troops involved.

Now, getting to the soldiers...
Published on 27 April 2011 by Auld-Yin


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first essential book on the Iraq War is here, 18 May 2010
By 
J. Duducu (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Soldiers (Paperback)
Many excellent history books bring the immediacy of a situation to the forefront by adding a first hand account. This entire book is a first hand account with the added advantage of being extremely well written by a journalist rather than heartfelt but potentially not as eloquent as if had been written by a soldier.

The books tells the story of the 2007 tour of 2-16 a US Army brigade in Iraq. The stories themselves you have seen on TV, films or read before- IEDs rip apart young men, the leaders good intentions decline as the death toll mounts, The invisible threat of snipers, the gross generalisations of the politicians- it's all here.

What turns this from an also ran to a must read is everything is described in such vivid detail using various writing techniques (such as repetition) to make you see the bloodied wounded pleading to be saved, or the grinding down of young men into virtual zombies. There are moments of levity too so as to not make the entire read unbearable, with some moments bordering on farce.

David Finkel sometimes takes you out of Iraq to see the war protests, or the Washington machine assessing the war or, most touchingly, wounded soldiers slowly recovering with their loved ones looking on with great sadness. I'm not embarrassed to say I shed a few tears reading some those sections.

Powerful, eloquent and thought provoking this is an essential read for everyone and anyone interested in the highly complex topic simply called war.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Good Soldiers - an alternative view, 27 April 2011
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This review is from: The Good Soldiers (Paperback)
I have to disagree with some of the reviews written here. I found the book to be patronising and the author seemed to spend the whole of his time trying to find the negatives in any situation. He also seems to have spent the majority of his time attached to the CO's webbing with the occasional mention of the troops involved.

Now, getting to the soldiers involved. In each case he only goes to the soldiers' story if it shows the worst of what was happening to the Battalion. Even when they have a good result during an operation Finkel always can find the negative side to bring down the importance of what they were actually doing.

Finkel describes how this Battalion was brought together purely for operations in Iraq and mentiones that some of the soldiers should never have been there due to varying personality issues and also delinquency issues. He does this early in the book, setting the standards that he expected from the Battalion. A big mistake in my view. Also Finkel must have been attached to the most humnourless infantry Battalion that the US could find. I personally don't believe this. There is nothing in the book about the humour that fighting men find in virtually any situation - everything is negative, hence the negative review I have to give.

I feel that Finkel has done this Battalion and its officers no service at all and also feel that the Battalion did not live up to his uninformed standards therefore only the bad side can be shown. A good example of this is the nominal roll of the battalion at the end of the book. It has asterisks against those who received the Purple Heart - there is absolutely no mention against names of those soldiers who picked up bravery awards. This I think sums up the book in total, Finkel has ignored the positives of this Battalion purely to show the negatives.

This is my opinion, and I am happy to be proved wrong should members of the battalion wish to come along and give their view. I believe this Battalion to be better than portrayed by Finkel in an especially difficult area of operations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, 2 Sept. 2010
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An excellent account of an infantry units' time in Iraq, no bravado, politics or historical analysis, just the day to day brutality of life patrolling the streets of Iraq. Horrific and saddening, and doesn't end in the combat zone, prepare for the uncomfortable realities of injuries sustained in battle and the long term recovery from them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing but the truth...., 19 Feb. 2011
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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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 3 Jun. 2014
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You cannot fail to be both shocked and surprised by what you read in this book. I don't remember any of this being reported in the news at he time. Very moving, and makes me feel very humbled.
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5.0 out of 5 stars incredible, 23 May 2014
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Abby S (Catterick UK) - See all my reviews
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this book is wonderfully written and really shows what soldiers go through whilst at war. Not only does it tell you what real soldiers saw and thought whilst at war, it also tells you about the effects of those things. It also doesn't glorify fighting and wars and thats something I really enjoyed. Many books about the army glorify the killing and act as if none of it affects the soldiers involved. Although that may be the case for a numbered few, it is obviously not that way for everybody and this book discusses this incredibly well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, 8 May 2014
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A good read and insight into how tough it was for those stationed in Baghdad.
I would describe this book as a depressing read but still makes me want to return to Iraq to see if has changed and how much
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5.0 out of 5 stars the good soldiers, 25 Feb. 2014
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still reading it have got about half way in to the book very good tells the true storyabout the war
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5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT BOOK, 24 Feb. 2014
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Lebo (Northumberland U K) - See all my reviews
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Every politician should read this book before deciding to send soldiers to war or not. A heart breaking read at times.
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4.0 out of 5 stars makes you realise why you don't want to go to war, 12 Jan. 2014
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This is a heart-breaking read, in a good way. Good men sent to war, doing their best and finding that war is more awful, brutal and uncontrollable than they were ever led to believe. Excruciating in detail and shattering in detail. Politicians should have to read this before committing people to combat. A very engaging account of what the unglamorous reality of life in the front line is like. Honest, unvarnished and upsetting, but I'm glad I read it. Credit to the the author and the young men and women it chronicles.
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