What a horrendous loss of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by so many American men and women following the political and military incursion into Iraq. And, as Finkle often pointed out, was it worth the cost? We are led to experience the the war from Finkle's embeded perspective of the 216th Batallion headed by Lt. Col Ralph Kauzlarich. This is his strength and weakness: being "embedded," and in only one corner of the war.
His ability to convey the "Pucker" factor of war, and the unique pucker factor of the Iraq war regarding IEDs and EFPs is one of his greatest contributions. The related revelation from this book is how IEDs and EFPs just come out of nowhere, uncontrolled, leaving limited ability to plan or strategize in order to avoid the violence. Previous wars pitted intelligence and strategy against enemy violence and gave the impression of being able to minimize violence. That feeling of control appears to be completely translated into sheer dread and fear while riding around in humvee's and having no control of when death from IED violence may strike. It even appears that this phenomenon affects the political as well as military levels of uncertainty of how to measure the value of the war itself.
The limits of this embedded reporter Finkle is reflected in his ingratiating portrayal of the unit's leader, Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich as well as his use of George W. Bush quotes. The character of Lt. Kauzlarich is seriously called into question in that he said (see ESPN) that the family of Pat Tillman was not at peace with his death because they are atheists who believe their son is now, in Kauzlarich's words, "worm dirt."
I think that the "Good Soldiers" as represented by Finkle certainly applies to the men on the front lines, but seems to apply less and less as one goes up the ranks.
I liked the book for its real storyline but thought it to be too sad for my liking.
There is alot of feeling and not enough action for me.
Great writing, compelling story, and superb narration equal one great audio experience. i can understand why this book won the Pulitzer. Any young man thinking of going to war should read this to make an informed decision.
Powerful story of the soldiers with very limited politics. No completely blatant Bush bashing but there is a twinge of a liberal swing. But forget that because it is barely noticeable and the stories of the soldiers involved is very powerful.
This is a well written and interesting book. I enjoyed it and would recommend it. I might read it again .
Just a great book on Iraq and the frustration and craziness of the American commitment there. An excellent description of the Loss and Toll taken on our soldiers. Listen To IT!
An excellent book on America's twenty first century Vietnam. The reader is excellent as well. Every American needs to read/listen to this book so we can all understand just what we are asking of our young men when we put them in harm's way.
If you want an accurate picture of what the troops are facing day in and day out in Iraq, this is the book for you. The narration is good, the tempo, apart from the last few chapters, is quick, and the prose is fluid and crisp. This gives you a gritty no-nonsense look at the "real" war, from the perspective of a battalion commander and his troops. Not for the faint of heart.
Can't get over the ranting about one persons perspective. The soldiers I know had a very different experience. Sorry I just could not get over the constant pounding and interjecting of politics in this book. Rather than state a fact or opinion and leave it at that the author continues to beat you over the head with it as though I did not hear or understand it the first time.
Now I know what a five star rating really is. Before this I gave some 5 ratings. Doubt I will ever give another. This book will let you feel the fear of war. If hou have anything but ice water in your veins it will, you will fall in love with our servicemen and their families and not only those with wounds showing. And most of all it will define your cowardice. You will probably want to go to BAMC or Walter Reed to put your arms around our men and women to show your love, but fnd you, like me, don't have the courage.
At the end you will forget about the idiots that garner all the press, our politicians, and have new members in you mental family of those caught in between who had no ability to make decisions but to follow orders. As a past soldier who sever during Vietnam, but not in that theater, only now do I understand war. I am not sure I like what I found via this book. The reality for there men and women sucked. The reality of my cowardice while living less than 100 miles from BAMC is something I must overcome. We must go put our arms around our warriors and the families or those who came back whole, came back wounded or didn't. Come back.