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The Good Soldiers Audiobook

The Good Soldiers

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Audible Editor Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. He called it "the surge". "Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences," he told a skeptical nation.

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.

What the Critics Say

  • 100 Notable Books of 2009 (The New York Times)
  • Best Books of 2009 (Publishers Weekly)
  • Best Nonfiction of 2009 (The Boston Globe)
  • Best Reads of 2009 (Slate.com)
  • Best Books of 2009: Nonfiction (Christian Science Monitor)
  • "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)

    What Members Say

    Average Customer Rating

    4.2 (488 )
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    4.2 (238 )
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    4.3 (236 )
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    Performance
    Sort by:
    •  
      Matt yakima, WA, United States 11-03-10
      Matt yakima, WA, United States 11-03-10
      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "SAD but true"

      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.

      1 of 1 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Douglas mission viejo, CA, USA 12-29-09
      Douglas mission viejo, CA, USA 12-29-09 Member Since 2016
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      "One of the best audiobooks of the year"

      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.

      2 of 2 people found this review helpful
    •  
      james 11-06-11
      james 11-06-11
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      "Honest opinion folks"

      The author wrote the story from the perspective of an anti-war correspondent as opposed to the perspective of the men of the unit he claims the book is about. The book isn't about the men in that unit, it's about the horrors of war that met the men in that unit, through the eyes, mind, and words of an anti-war correspondent.

      This book honors anti-war activism, not the Americans he walked amongst. His Nobel Prize did the same.

      My son did 6 years Air Force and was deployed overseas to various locations. My daughter did 6 years Army and was deployed to Baghdad just after the surge. My daughter's husband is U.S. Army and has been deployed to Iraq (during the surge) and Afghanistan, where he was wounded by an enemy mortar round and is home healing awaiting the birth of his son. I have no military experience. My dad was Navy in WWII. A high percentage of my high school students have gone to various branches of the military.

      War is absolutely brutal and the worst thing that our young men and women will ever have to experience. I am absolute anti-war.

      I lived during Vietnam and saw what journalism did to the men and women who served and how they swayed public opinion not only against the war and American government but also against those who served. It was a national disgrace. Some of those soldiers were my friends.

      Ask an American soldier who has been to Iraq or Afghanistan what they think of the American media they watched on TV's while in those countries. It was and still is demoralizing with zero interest in those who served and sacrificed. They use those men and women as pawns in their quest for furthering their own agendas.

      Not all correspondents and reporters are the same, but this author sure as heck continued on in the tradition of going to war with soldiers so he could justify the book he'd already written in his mind.

      Personally, I think Congress and the White house needs to be relocated to the middle of Arlington National Cemetery so everyone of those politicians has to walk by all those headstones everyday and see them everytime they look out a window. And go find the ones whose families they are now representing and learn what the man buried there did in his life. That honors him and his family.

      You want to write a story, pick one of those headstones and write the history of the man that lies beneath it instead of how horribly he was killed during a war. War is what war is, telling the horror of war doesn't honor those who survived or died. Nor will that horror story stop the next war or it's horrors.

      I downloaded this book based on the descriptions. I'd like to see the descriptions corrected to reflect what the book is really about. I would have ignored it as just another journalist working his own personal agenda.

      9 of 14 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Jens United States 04-09-11
      Jens United States 04-09-11 Member Since 2010
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      "Soldier's story almost without politics"

      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.

      2 of 3 people found this review helpful
    •  
      03-31-11
      03-31-11 Listener Since 2008
      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "The Good Soldier"

      This is a well written and interesting book. I enjoyed it and would recommend it. I might read it again .

      2 of 3 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Ray GRAPEVIEW, WA, United States 03-28-11
      Ray GRAPEVIEW, WA, United States 03-28-11 Member Since 2015

      FlagAmerica

      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "The Good Soldiers"

      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!

      2 of 3 people found this review helpful
    •  
      John San Diego, CA, United States 11-27-10
      John San Diego, CA, United States 11-27-10
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      "Great book on a tragic war"

      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.

      2 of 3 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Mike Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 02-07-10
      Mike Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 02-07-10 Member Since 2010
      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "Great Account of "Boots on the Ground""

      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.

      3 of 4 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Craig Tacoma, WA, United States 08-09-10
      Craig Tacoma, WA, United States 08-09-10 Member Since 2015
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      "Hate the rant..."

      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.

      6 of 10 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Tom 12-12-10
      Tom 12-12-10 Member Since 2013
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      "defines the five star rating"

      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.

      3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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