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My Queer War Hardcover – April 27, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 647 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


My Queer War is magnificent . . . There has never been anything quite like it and it deserves to become a classic.” ―Larry Kramer

“Here's proof that all wars could be a tiny bit less brutal with gay people serving in the military.” ―John Waters

“It's an amazing testament to one individual's struggle with a barbarism mostly erased from triumphalist accounts of Nazi Germany's defeat . . . But what really stands out, what one suspects will be most enduring about this remarkable memoir, is the way in which Lord's outsider-ness gave him a particular perspective and a particular moral compass . . . About the prose: it's so extremely good that Lord has the confidence to flirt with making it bad, simply not to give a damn about verging on the purple . . . This is a work of supreme calculation, every comma fixed in place . . . In this estimation it is evidence of genius.” ―Lewis Gannett, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide

“The author writes with occasional archness, much irony and good humor . . . It is clear that he and other gay soldiers on the battlefield did as much as anyone to win the war . . . A timely, artfully written memoir of one man's war.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“His unflinching, insolent honesty constantly got him into trouble with his superiors . . . But his cheekiness also gained him entry into the drawing rooms of Picasso and Gertrude Stein, setting the stage for a charmed life and fruitful writing career . . . The story is captivating . . . Recommended for fans of expatriate writers like Edmund White and Gore Vidal and for those seeking a corrective to the standard World War II memoir.” ―David Gibbs, Library Journal

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

JAMES LORD's books include A Giacometti Portrait, first published in 1965, and Giacometti: A Biography (FSG, 1985), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent work is Mythic Giacometti (FSG, 2003).

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374217483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374217488
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (647 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,539,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Howard Goldowsky on March 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sebastian Junger is the well-known author of The Perfect Storm and A Death in Belmont. He is also a world-class war correspondent with over a decade of experience. This book is the product of five months spent embedded with a platoon in U.S. 2nd Battalion in the Korengal valley, Afghanistan. For five months, Junger existed like a regular soldier in the U.S. army: He ate MREs, went on patrol, took cover when the bullets started to fly. As Junger likes to explain in the book, he was the target of the same bullets as the other men in the platoon, and he had the same responsibility to Army rules. Even one broken minor rule risked lives. Junger remained vigilant, won the companionship of these soldiers, and garnered enough of their trust to record their thoughts and beliefs about what it's like to be in combat. That's what this book is about. The war in Afghanistan happened to be just a convenient location to do field research. At one particular scary moment, Junger was in a Hummer that got hit by a roadside bomb. The bomb exploded under the engine block, ten feet away. The blast shook Junger's emotions for days. Needless to say, this book was almost never written.

Good thing it was. Junger provides excellent war correspondence, describing combat as a first-hand observer. Junger's prose remains apolitical, his goal to show the reader what it's like to be in battle, not make a political statement. The book is broken into three sections: "Fear," "Killing," and "Love." All three sections describe combat, but each section is loosely structured around its theme.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There aren't many books that really tell the reader what it means to be in battle. Those that have been there don't feel comfortable trying to explain it to those that haven't. As more than one combat veteran has told me, "you just wouldn't understand." Most reporters, even those embedded in a war, haven't really experienced what it means to bean active participant in battle- trying to kill someone before he kills you. There are some very good books about what it's like to be in the middle of a war, like Bernard Fall's Hell in a Very Small Place; Fall was a French reporter who was there at the siege of Dien Bien Phu. But even though Fall could describe what it felt like to survive the incessant shelling and attack on the base, he wasn't a combatant. He was still a reporter, an observer.

Sebastian Junger is a writer of rare skill who can paint a frighteningly real picture of places few of us would ever think of going. His first book, The Perfect Storm, gave readers a taste of what it would be like to be on a doomed fishing boat in the North Atlantic, at from home, at the mercy of the sea. In War, he takes the reader to an Army outpost in Afghanistan, where Junger and filmmaker Tim Hetherington spent five months over the course of a year and a half with a platoon of young soldiers, fighting a war that we've all read about, but that few of us can imagine.

This isn't the tourist war reporting we're used to, where the embedded reporter rides along at the rear of an armored column; Junger puts himself in a situation where he runs all the risks of the soldiers he's reporting on, including getting blown up by an IED that is detonated under the Humvee he's riding in.
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Roger Moorhouse's new history, "Berlin at War" is a terrific view of Germany's capital city during WW2. Moorhouse covers every phase of life for those who lived in the city - whether by choice because they were residents - or by force, because they were foreign laborers brought into Berlin from the occupied countries to help with the war effort. He obviously interviewed many Berliners about their lives during the war, as well as depending on diaries and official documents of the German government.

Moorhouse examines daily life in the city as the war progressed. From the early air raids by the British to the almost carpet bombing later in the war when much of the city was destroyed, life for Berliners went from relatively easy to a desperate day-by-day existence. Searching for food and other rationed goods was an on-going problem, for everybody. (Except, of course, Nazi officials). The reader sees how acceptance of the idea of "total war" calling for "total effort" on the home front slackened greatly as the war was perceived by Berliners as going the wrong way, after 1942. Moorhouse writes about ordinary Berliners trying to eke out a daily existence despite nights spent in air raid shelters and largely destroyed city infrastructure. And then the Russians came, in early 1945, and destruction to the once great, liberal city was complete.

Moorhouse leaves very little out in his book. Chapters on the Jewish "problem" and ultimate solution are in the book along with chapters on propaganda, criminality by both the state and individuals, and on how the city functioned in the face of destruction. He's an excellent writer, too. For the amateur historian, this book is a delight.
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