In listening to Sebastian Junger read War, the book he both experienced and wrote, you will periodically find yourself standing or sitting stock-still while the powerful narrative sinks in. Junger does not pull any punches in his writing, and his reading carries with it the anxiety and the pure fear he experienced embedded on five occasions with U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. This six-mile long valley "the Afghanistan of Afghanistan”, according to Junger has sustained 70% of all U.S. bombing in Afghanistan. Junger’s respect for the soldiers of U.S. Army’s 2nd Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade can be heard as he contrasts the jocularity of the men (the platoon was all male) and periods of stultifying boredom with the split-second responses every soldier maintains to react to snipers, ambushes, and IED attacks.
Junger tells of the bravado and the extraordinary human connection to one another the soldiers display. Each soldier and even Junger knows that the next instant might bring death. That knowledge is ever-present as Junger describes surprise attacks by Taliban and on Taliban with vivid intensity.
Junger’s reading lets you join in on the soldiers’ humor that strengthens bonds and, for the moment, relieves the reality of life in one of the world’s most unforgiving terrains, even without a vicious enemy potentially lurking behind the next boulder. His tone captures the men’s loneliness and the existential angst inevitably affecting them all until the next firefight comes as most of them do, in an instant and seldom with warning.
Listeners will enjoy Junger’s description of the physically huge soldier, Vandenberg, who has his fellow soldiers in awe of his sheer bulk and strength. Vandenberg is a source of good-humored testing and honest admiration, and you can hear the catch in Junger’s voice as he tells of Vandenberg’s nearly fatal wound and the tenderness with which the soldier reached from the cot where he lay to grab the hand of his also severely wounded buddy, while both waited to be helicoptered away for more intensive medical care.
Junger describes the brutality of war experienced by young American soldiers and shares examples of bravery and camaraderie that occur on almost a daily basis amidst deprivations unimaginable to civilians which will make you want to stop every person in military uniform to thank them for their service. You’ll also want to thank Sebastian Junger for writing War and— most especially for reading it with honesty and compassion. Carole Chouinard
In his breakout best seller, The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger created "a wild ride that brilliantly captures the awesome power of the raging sea and the often futile attempts of humans to withstand it" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, Junger turns his brilliant and empathetic eye to the reality of combat - the fear, the honor, and the trust among men in an extreme situation whose survival depends on their absolute commitment to one another.
His on-the-ground account follows a single platoon through a 15-month tour of duty in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. Through the experiences of these young men at war, he shows what it means to fight, to serve, and to face down mortal danger on a daily basis.
©2010 Sebastian Junger (P)2010 Hachette
"Junger mixes visceral combat scenes-raptly aware of his own fear and exhaustion-with quieter reportage and insightful discussions of the physiology, social psychology, and even genetics of soldiering. The result is an unforgettable portrait of men under fire." (Publishers Weekly)
Like the movie that accompanies it, the immediacy of this book is both profound and profoundly challenging. Going into it and coming out of it I craved some meaning and global, political, and existential context. While in the story I forgot that desire though, and just listened, rapt, to a very well written, meticulously examined, usually inaccessible, passionately performed story of one moment in time.
Insightful, forceful, thought provoking. I listened to it three times in rapid succession. And, in my taste, Junger is a stellar narrator. This a "must read" for those who liked Junger's "War."
I marveled at his take on our broken political system and our contempt for each other. I agree with his observation that each political side represents two sides of the necessary whole, but that we focus on differences rather than unity.
I guess I should go get a loin cloth.
Amazing! Have no illusions about the horrors of war, yet still curious how I would handle it, this give you a miniscule amount of insight into what combat is like.
Not if Junger narrates it himself. Junger is a journalist, he uses words for a living essentially. This book is horribly written compared to books that have been written by soldiers themselves.
I understand that Junger is not an actor or does not narrate books as a profession. With that said he reads the words almost as if he has never seen them before, much less actually written them. He pauses mid sentence and inappropriate times. His intensity will increase when not necessary etc.
Audible, this is a ridiculous question for a work of non-fiction. Please look at your system for book reviews and improve it.
This is not the worst book I have ever read in this genre but out of 30 or so titles I've read it's probably in the bottom three. I very much appreciate that Junger risked his life to be able to expose this to the world. It seems like after he got back to his safe and comfortable environment that he just rushed through the writing of the book. It is too bad he didn't just slow down and do a better job.
researcher, mad off-roader, desert girl
I've read hundreds of books that either deal with combat, combat vets as characters in various fiction novels. This book is riveting. While Junger describes the men he is embedded with, the battle actions and consequences, it is his growing realization of the unexpected consequences of war on participants. From the mundane to the insane, and then to the realities that No One Talks About. The excitement of war. And the delayed reactions. When the impersonal to mortally personal.
This book is riveting because Junger, not the best reader, becomes your reality after a while and all you are left with the sensations of war.
Should be mandatory reading for every voter, every civilian, every servicemember and essays required from lawmakers and decisionmakers.
You owe it to what we Americans come from to listen/read this book.
It will pass quickly, but will echo in your thoughts for months to come.
It's honesty and Junger's willingness to get close to his subjects.
I can't think of another book like this which makes it so important.
Being the author and narrator, there was no confusing what the author's intended inflections were.
Every passage was incredibly moving. I found myself bookmarking a whole lot and truly savouring Junger's words.
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