Top positive review
29 people found this helpful
The first essential book on the Iraq War is here
on 18 May 2010
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