Learn more Download now Shop now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 27 April 2011
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.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 29 January 2012
Despite a glut of books written about the post 9-11 conflicts, few of them have been truly exceptional and many have been virtually unreadable. Evan Wright's Generation Kill and Sebastian Junger's War proved to me that a professional writer in a war zone can convey the reality far better than a soldier writing his first hand account of combat. David Finkel's The Good Soldiers is a third unmissable book, charting a batallion's journey from hope to nihilism as they try to bring stability to a region of Baghdad during the 2007 surge. Finkel was embedded with the unit but deletes himself entirely from the narrative. It's a wise decision as it focuses on the soldiers as they kill and are killed for no obvious gain. Finkel also doesn't comment on or judge their actions, a calm journalistic decision best seen during a chapter when an Apache gunship blasts apart a freelance photographer after mistakenly identifying his camera as a weapon. (Footage of this incident sparked the Wikileaks scandal when it was released as 'Collateral Murder').
The Good Soldiers works as a fitting testament to the courage of the men it portrays but can also be read as a impartial catalogue of wasted lives on both sides of a decade-long war that seems to have achieved little. A must-read.
A minor quibble is that the Kindle manuscript is full of typos, missed spaces and brok-ken words, suggesting that the original paperback version wasn't resubbed for Kindle release. Considering the work Finkel put into this work and the dangers faced by the soldiers he wrote about, an extra check of the text wouldn't have been too hard.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
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
0Comment| 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 19 February 2011
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.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 2 April 2017
This is an interesting book as there are not many books written about the Iraq war; here we are not talking about the first wave to take out Sadam but the second wave i.e. the attempt to bring peace to the country with the “surge” (which by the way is Petraeus’ idea rather than Bush’s). A number of things prevent this book from being a great book. For one thing the view is mostly from the side of the regiment’s commander; it hardly ever through the eyes of the common soldier. The other thing is that there is too much focus on the negative. You get the impression that all those guys do is go on patrols through town to get their Humvees regularly wacked by some IED or AFP. It all seems pretty useless and hopeless and makes it a very depressing read.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 18 August 2013
Couldn't get to grips with the authors writing style. Gave up after 20 pages, far better books on the subject are out there.
11 Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 23 May 2014
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 14 March 2013
This is an honest story of what happened to a battalion of US infantry soldiers on a deployment to Iraq. The author was there and he speaks in the voices of the soldiers who were in constant danger of death and serious injury. Descriptions of those who were unlucky are graphic as are the reactions of the witnesses. The style is relaxed which is in effective contrast to the carnage and emotional distress that is being described. Despite the content it is an easy read. The reader is not guided to make political or moral judgements but the inevitable conclusion is that it was a criminal waste of human lives.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 12 January 2014
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 23 December 2017
It deserves five stars for the belief in the writing the under playing of emotionb the taste of fear and the monotony of waiting. It describes normal people in abnormal situations and the despair of failure to be understood
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Customers also viewed these items

Red Platoon

Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)