This is one of those books that has far too many 5 and 1 star reviews when the correct number is 3.
I feel like too many people, including the author of the book, but also all these professional reviewers (slate non-fiction book of the year...), are viewing the decision of whether or not to read this book, and then whether or not to praise it, as somehow taking a great moral stand in support of the troops. Reality check: it's not. I /support/ the troops, in the sense that I don't really do anything for them, except vote for people who vote to fully fund the veterans administration, etc. Spending your time listening to a discussion of how they clean their uniforms after they get body parts blown into them doesn't really make you any better of a person than not doing so. The writer keeps trying to impart weight to his prose, and frankly it gets really tedious and irritating.
The question should be is this book interesting to listen to. And there I have to say the answer is somewhat. If for some reason you're really interested in the experience of US troops during the counterinsurgency years of the Iraq war, perhaps because you know someone who was there, I don't know of a book that tells this story better. But if you're just looking for something interesting, perhaps something about war, I don't really recommend this. Maybe Imperial Life in the Emerald City or Generation Kill, both of which are about Iraq, but neither about this particular topic.
The accounts told in the midst of the soldiers made their story very real to me.
This book really helped me to understand just how dangerous their job was. And it was also frustrating to see that the high command put them into such danger to accomplish so little.
I believe I first heard about this book on a podcast, and was very interested. It is definitely a great listen. The narrater is very good, as is everything else about this.
It was a great insiders look on how the war really is on the men and women that fight for us.
The story will focus around an infantry unit commanded by Ralph Kauzlarich during the “surge” (2007-2008)…who by the way, was the Ranger Regimental XO for Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. Kauzlarich conducted the second investigation into Tillman’s death. I have no respect for our government using Tillman’s death as advertising…but I couldn’t help but feel poetic justice as Kauzlarich faced the real impact of command…the wounded, the dead, the stress. The book is a “not so pretty look” at the war in Iraq…I commend Finkel on his work, and the time he spent…slow at times, I still must put into the MUST read category!
This should be required high school reading. A great first hand account of the war experiences in Iraq just a few short years ago. Highly recommmend.
I listen while doing those tasks when I don't need to be mentally engaged all the time. If I miss something I listen all over again.
Thought their story was interesting, but seemed overly focussed on the futility of one small segment of the war, and the self-centered commander of that one spot. Seemed like the author tried to stear the readers opinion on what to think about the war..
The characters were great you got love our servicemen, but compared to a lot of other books being written about Iraq/Afgan it does not have the same smooth flow, too choppy for me. A journalist writing about war always has a bias and it seems to bleed through with this one. If your looking for a journalist on Iraq/Afgan war "Generation Kill" is much better.
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.
I believe the author thinks he is being creative by repeating parts of previous sentences for several sentences in a row. I believe the author thinks this because he uses this "style" so frequently in the book, that I had to stop listening to it. So, while I believe the author thinks this repetition adds to the book, in fact, it detracts from the story in a major way. I felt like, I heard the words the first time buddy, no need to repeat them again and again.