Jarhead meets Redeployment in a suspenseful and smart fiction debut that has been called "thrilling, tragic, and darkly funny" by National Book Award-winning author Phil Klay.
The US military is preparing to withdraw from Iraq, and newly minted lieutenant Jack Porter struggles to accept how it's happening - through alliances with warlords who have Arab and American blood on their hands. Day after day Jack tries to assert his leadership in the sweltering, dreary atmosphere of Ashuriyah. But his world is disrupted by the arrival of veteran sergeant Daniel Chambers, whose aggressive style threatens to undermine the fragile peace that the troops have worked hard to establish.
As Iraq plunges back into chaos and bloodshed, and Chambers' influence over the men grows stronger, Jack becomes obsessed with a strange, tragic tale of reckless love between a lost American soldier and Rana, a local sheikh's daughter. In search of the truth and buoyed by the knowledge that what he finds may implicate Sergeant Chambers, Jack seeks answers from the enigmatic Rana, and soon their fates become intertwined. Determined to secure a better future for Rana and a legitimate and lasting peace for her country, Jack will defy American command, putting his own future in grave peril.
Pulling listeners into the captivating immediacy of a conflict that can shift from drudgery to devastation at any moment, Youngblood provides startling new dimension to both the moral complexity of war and its psychological toll.
©2016 Matt Gallagher (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
the feeling that something is about to go wrong permeates this story, mauve is a Roadside ied, maybe a intra personnel blow up. well told, makes you feel like you have been a fly on the wall.
Matt Gallagher does an amazing of taking the listener to a war that few people understood and few people wanted to support. Gallagher does a fantastic job as a true story teller to show both what life was like for soldiers while adding enough fiction to capture the listener's imagination. Kirby Heyborne does a great job as the reader as well. Would recommend this to most everyone, whether they have been in the military or not.
I hesitated to take away a star from the story and performance because this novel is far greater than the sum of its parts. I really hope it gets wide readership. There are probably too many characters, often with similar voices, and a lot of military lore to keep straight. Sgt. Chambers comes off as a cliche -- until he no longer does. But Gallagher has helped me put into perspective the complex code of honor and the cross cultural conflicts from my own military past many years ago -- even though the Iraq war certainly produced a unique cocktail of circumstances that Gallagher nails.
I have friends who have been deployed in combat and non combat roles in the Middle East, and although this is a fictional account, I believe that there is an insight into the mind of today's combat soldiers and the great difference between the world wars and these "conflicts".
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