From Publishers Weekly
A torrent of Internet blogs has poured from U.S. forces overseas, providing a unique view of our wars. Retired officer and blogger Burden does not claim this collection of extracts represents a cross section of what's available, nor does he disguise his biases. All the officers in the book are competent; all the enlisted men and women are brave; and all the husbands love their wives and vice versa. Every writer supports America's war aims, admires the President, despises enemy fighters (generally referred to as terrorists) and holds a low opinion of Americans who oppose the war (generally referred to as liberals). The best (if sometimes troublesome) selections relate personal experiences: a woman trucker is severely wounded; a tanker fights his way into Fallujah, enthusiastically describing the men he kills; a base commander fires an obstreperous Iraqi employee. More literary efforts are less successful, with several wince-inducing attempts at poetic battlefield imagery. Tributes to fallen comrades often fall into mawkishness. Burden warns that unfettered war blogging may soon disappear under the heavy hand of military censorship, but if our leaders are worried about criticism of their policies, Burden's book will reassure them.
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Vietnam has often been called the "first television war." In a similar way, the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan might be viewed as the "first Internet war." That is, for the first time, Internet bloggers are having a significant impact in shaping the public perception of the planning and conduct of an ongoing war. Many of those bloggers are pundits or pseudopundits who have never been in harm's way. But Burden, a veteran who has served with Special Operations and intelligence units, provides a glimpse into a new form of war literature, the military blog. Previously, war letters, diaries, and memoirs were published long after the actual experience of the writers. Burden, a blogger himself, has selected observations of ordinary men and women written and sent in real time as they endure the cauldron of war. Some of the writings are mundane, but there are also chilling descriptions of surviving a mortar attack and attempting to save the life of a severely wounded Iraqi. This collection is an excellent introduction to an emerging form of war reporting. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved