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The Blog of War: Front-Line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan Paperback – Bargain Price, September 5, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 5, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0743294181
  • ASIN: B001PO69D2
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,600,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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93 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Kaleb on August 25, 2006
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As Matt says in the introduction "military blogs were ideal for filling in the gaps that both the media and the military left out."

My blog is one of those Matt excerpted for his book...but it wasn't until I read The Blog of War in its published form that I understood how powerful and eye-opening it is to bring so many voices together in one book.

This book brings into a single volume the straightforward, heartfelt expressions of Soldiers, their families and friends as expressed in military blogs during the unique period of time before the military clamped down on such dispatches from the warzone.

What this book accomplishes is also unique: it allows the reader direct access to the men and women with a personal stake in Afghanistan and Iraq, allowing the Soldiers and their closest confidants to represent themselves. These are the voices of those directly and heavily invested in the war - the messages are intensly candid and personal. And they are their own, unfiltered by wire services, media or the Pentagon.

The book excerpts numerous blogs to bring the reader a broad sampling of circumstance, perspective and voice in a single volume. The act of reading this book will immerse the reader into the often mystifying culture of the men and women of the United States Military. Not the Generals, but the Lieutenants, the Sergeants, their wives and husbands.

If you know a Military man or woman who has served, you will appreciate the opportunity this book brings to become more familiar with the circumstances and situations they faced.

If you've ever wondered how or why some men and women voluntarily sign up to put themselves in those circumstances and situations, you will likely find your answer here.
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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful By SarahGrok on August 27, 2006
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What I like most about this book is that the contributors (and yes, I too am one) wrote their segments months or years before this book was dreamed up. None of us knew our words would be immortalized; they were just our bare-soul thoughts at the time. Most of the accounts were written the day the "event" happened, so what you read is the freshest and rawest emotions. This was a book a few years in the making, but each contribution feels spontaneous and true.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By T. Banks on September 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Be prepared to laugh, cry, and be amazingly moved while reading this book. The bloggers do a fantastic job of telling the tales of war - on both fronts. Seeing the action through the eyes of the men and women there will change your life. Feeling the panic, fear, pride and joy on the homefront will move you in ways you never imagined.

Burden does a fabulous job of pulling together the posts and his segues are wonderful introductions and glimpses into who these amazing men and women are.

Reality TV? Who needs it. Read the book. You won't regret it.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Scott Koenig on September 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
I want to thank Matt for putting this book together. I know how much work went in to it, as we corresponded several times while he was writing it. He even managed to shoehorn a couple of my blog posts into the finished product.

It would be negligent of me, as one of the original "Live from the Sandbox" milbloggers, not to directly address CPT Kevin O'Meara's assertion that we can't be trusted because we are "under constant censorship by the US Government." While it's true that active duty military members have certain restrictions on the information they can disclose, I am pleased to report that after maintaining a military blog for almost four years I have never - not once - been instructed by anyone to remove or edit a single entry in my blog.

When I first blogged as "L.T. SMASH" in December of 2002, the technology was so new that there were no military regulations specifically addressing weblogs. We are always bound, of course, by military regulations concerning sensitive and classified information, as well as prohibitions against "contemptuous speech" towards our superiors. But I knew, as a milblogging pioneer, that I would be setting the standard for those who would follow in my footsteps.

Without any guidance from above, I did what any good officer would: I came up with my own set of rules, a little bit more stringent than those already in place for other forms of communication. Over time, I distilled these rules down to what I call the Golden Rule of MilBlogging:

*** Write every post as if you expect it to be read by the enemy, your commanding officer, and your mother.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dbie on September 7, 2006
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I just got my copy of "The Blog of War", a compilation of favorite milblog posts over the past few years, lovingly put together by Matty O'Blackfive. They are, in a word... mesmerizing.

I remember the first time I read many of these posts, and how emotional I was at the time. It's no less emotional now, and in some cases more emotional because of recent events that relate to the original posts.

I love the way Matt laid out the book, with bits of commentary about the authors and their situations, the follow-up stories to let us know what many of the authors are doing now, the mil-lingo glossary, and the detailed index. You did an AWESOME job narrowing down the posts and putting the book together, Matt. Thank you SO much for doing this.

Go buy the book, and a box of Puffs. The soft kind, but not with lotion because when you want to wipe the tears off of your glasses, they leave a slimy film on the lenses.

(oh... and anyone who thinks these posts were edited or sensored... you really don't know much about the authors, do you? Yes, milbloggers in theater are closely watched, but I would fall short of saying they are sensored like the Army used to do with letters home.)
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