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)
Ho Hum. This book is either really slow or really intense. Pretty much what I image the war in Afghanistan is like. It somehow lacks a commitment to any particular point- but maybe that IS the point. Don't read it if you want to crystallize your views on why we should or should not be in Afghanistan. Do read it if you want a glimpse of the psychology and intense camaraderie that develops at the battlefront. It is seems to be an objective view of what life is like for some of our men and women in Afghanistan.
Great book. Learned tons with the narrative and the facts-- just how I like my books. But I do think he inserted himself too much in it, such as the time he wrote about why soldiers fought (for their buddies or something to that effect).
He could have shown us more about that instead of telling. As a former soldier, I hate it when writers try to discover the "way of the soldier."
Aside from that, it was entertaining and I learned a lot during my roadtrip.
Sebastian does it again with an excellent. Great story and just another reason we need to either win it with the full power of the United States Military or else get out completely.
There have been many brave men in out nations history, praised and revered. But the hardest and most unsung heroes stories seldom are heard, and I am extremely thankfull to Mr. Junger for sharing his experiances and telling the stories of these American bad asses.
My Sincerest Thanks to our Soldiers and to Mr. Junger for telling thier stories.
While I'm sure this book doesn't tell the whole story of Afghanistan and the war we're fighting there, it did help me to find out what was going on in one of the hot spots of that war. I listened to this after listening to Matterhorn, an excellent novel about Vietnam, and the contrasts and comparisons between the wars is very interesting. Based on these two books Vietnam seems tame compared to fighting the Taliban.
Sebastian Junger captures the war in a way that is nothing short of amazing. His ability to connect real time events with scientific research data adds a tremendous dimension to this story. Great Read!
Hats off to the whole damn crew. Junger delivered this in a way that has to be recognized as exceptional. You don't have to agree with war but you will damn sure have a better understanding and appreciation for what the men and women of this country have to go through that step up to the plate for freedom. This is also a great listen for anyone thinking about joining the forces. Thank you
Junger has proven the real life is more interesting than fiction with "War". He brings the stories to life, and helps the listener get into the mind of our Soldiers without getting political about the situation. It's raw, and wonderful. If you want to know what life is like for our Soldiers in the Korengal Valley, this is the book you need to read.
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