During the troop surge in Iraq in 2007, Washington Post journalist David Finkel was embedded for eight months with Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich - a determined, optimistic, inspired leader - and his unit: the 2-16 Second Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment from Fort Riley, Kansas.
The 2-16 were deployed at the time in an area of intense insurgent activity in eastern Baghdad. Finkel writes, “From the beginning I explained to [the soldiers] that my intent was to document their corner of the war, without agenda. This book, then, is that corner, unshaded.” In fact, much of the book’s success stems from the open access granted to Finkel and the soldiers’ willingness to share their stories.
Finkel casts light on virtually all aspects of the 2-16’s “corner of the war”, including unflinching descriptions of deaths, and the profoundly destructive injuries inflicted by improvised explosive devices. Finkel’s descriptions are deeply moving and in many cases profoundly disturbing. But this is war, this is what the soldiers experienced, and Finkel aims to document the sacrifices these soldiers made that enabled the surge to succeed.
The Good Soldiers, besides being a valuable and unforgettable document, honors the men of the 2-16 Second Battalion. Written as a nonfiction novel, its prose style is simple and brilliantly effective.
Relatively new to audiobook narration, actor Mark Boyett has a strong, young voice whose articulation, pace, and clarity will resonate inside a car, a hall, or your head. He easily and naturally shifts his voice from the narrator’s point of view to the words of the many people chronicled in this book. A great range of emotions is expressed in The Good Soldiers, and Boyett adeptly inhabits these characters as he gives voice to the words they express. –David Chasey
Among those listening were the young, optimistic Army infantry soldiers of the 2-16, the battalion nicknamed the Rangers. About to head to a vicious area of Baghdad, they decided the difference would be them. Fifteen months later, the soldiers returned home forever changed.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel was with them in Bagdad almost every grueling step of the way. What was the true story of the surge? Was it really a success? Those are the questions he grapples with in his remarkable report from the front lines.
Combining the action of Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down with the literary brio of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, The Good Soldiers is an unforgettable work of reportage. And in telling the story of these good soldiers, the heroes and the ruined, David Finkel has also produced an eternal tale - not just of the Iraq War, but of all wars, for all time.
©2009 Dave Finkel; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"Finkel's keen firsthand reportage, its grit and impact only heightened by the literary polish of his prose, gives us one of the best accounts yet of the American experience in Iraq." (Publishers Weekly)
"A superb account of the burdens soldiers bear." (Kirkus Reviews)
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.
A searing account of the trials, wounds, and frustrations of a battalion of combat infantry soldiers posted to a dangerous region of Baghdad during the 2007 "surge." The writing is riveting: direct, factual and first-hand. The author was "embedded" with the soldiers for eight months of their 15 month tour of duty. He describes in vivid detail the injuries (14 were killed) suffered by the soldiers from hidden roadside explosives, a menace these troops faced every day. You will take from this book an unforgettable appreciation of the combat horrors our troops face in Iraq and Afghanistan. We all owe them a monumental debt of gratitude for the dangers they face and the wounds so many of them and their families have endured.
My only criticism of the book is that its focus on the frustrations, injuries and deaths suffered by these soldiers appears calculated to lead to a foreordained conclusion that the whole deployment was pointless and that the Iraqis they were trying to help were hopeless, incompetent, or hostile. There is an "Oh, by the way" tone to the relatively few mentions of the successes that were achieved during the surge: much reduced death rates among coalition troops, improved security in much of Baghdad; even functioning gas stations in the battalion's own area.
The book clearly illustrates the hard choices we face in dealing with the violent extremists in the Middle East. They are brutal and without conscience or good sense in inflicting terror, torture and destruction on any (including their neighbors) whom they see in their way. Our military response is at best a stopgap: it is necessary for self defense, but it does not build the personal ties or trust and goodwill we need in order to build lasting peace and security.
A harrowing story, noteworthy for its gritty realness. The Finkle accomplishes the difficult task of telling the story of the 2-16 apart from any narrative on his own time in Iraq. He writes simply of what happened to the men fighting the war.
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