“A truly extraordinary book . . . [written] in the most vivid firsthand manner. These recollections, pooled experiences, and shared sacrifices constitute the most authentic account yet produced of the Iraq battle.” (Christopher Hitchens)
“Sgt. J.B. Walker, the “author” of this absorbing, dramatically vivid chronicle, is a pen-named collective effort by American soldiers fighting in Iraq. Originally self-published, the narrative is comprised of candid e-mails assembled once the group returned to American soil and encompasses much more than its original intent to detail “the simple charms of soldiering.” With exacting scrutiny, many of the unnamed authors share the stark realities and myriad complications of counterinsurgency efforts. Each of the six sections delves deeply into the multilayered aspects of military duty: the culture shock from intercepting violence (while expressing good intentions) to the citizens of a predominantly foreign society, soldiering with a concussion, profiling jihadist militants, the inexplicability of suicide bombing and the silent suffering of innocent Iraqi women and children. Most affective are the personal accounts, ranging from the poignant to the humorous. Individual narration of violent conflicts and meticulously rendered scenes of armed tactical maneuvering are tempered by the soldiers’ first-person depiction of fearless Iraqi civilians demonstrating resistance to cutthroat guerrilla movements. Expertly archived and originally written for military audiences, this confluence of warfare experiences is sure to garner widespread attention, with the publishing proceeds directed to charities serving military families, “the unacknowledged soldiers of any war." A bracing cooperative effort taking readers as close to war as humanly possible.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred))
“A rare accomplishment: Nightcap at Dawn tells the story of the counterinsurgency in Iraq from the perspective of troops on the ground, while simultaneously analyzing the multitude of challenges and dilemmas brought by an insurgency. The marriage of hot narrative and cold analysis brilliantly succeeds in bringing the experience alive while cutting through the fog of war like a laser.” (Stathis N. Kalyvas, Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science and Director of the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at Yale University)
About the Author
J. B. Walker is the collective pen name of a dedicated group of former U.S. Army soldiers. Together they wrote Nightcap at Dawn: American Soldiers’ Counterinsurgency in Iraq. All the authors’ proceeds of publication will go to charities that serve military families.