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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Memoir
A stunning first effort; I loved this book! I don't usually read books in the military genre, but I loved this one. "The War I Always Wanted" is a moving memoir of a young man's experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it's really even larger than that. It's more of a "coming-of-age" story. Friedman is a skillful young writer who does not lose his readers in military...
Published on July 17, 2007 by P. Austin

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story by someone who has been to "the big game"
Don't read this one for battle scenes, famous tactical engagements or overall conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You won't find that here. You will find a fine story of a young lieutenant who finally gets to go to the "big game" and comes to realize war is hell. He is only involved directly in one gunfight in the two wars he goes to. He is involved in Op...
Published on February 6, 2013 by Michael S. Peters


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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Memoir, July 17, 2007
By 
P. Austin (Shreveport, LA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
A stunning first effort; I loved this book! I don't usually read books in the military genre, but I loved this one. "The War I Always Wanted" is a moving memoir of a young man's experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it's really even larger than that. It's more of a "coming-of-age" story. Friedman is a skillful young writer who does not lose his readers in military terminology, acronyms, or long descriptions of maneuvers and strategy. This is a much more personal story. More than once I found myself with tears in my eyes as I empathized with what was happening not just to him but to other characters in his story (his mother, for example). His descriptions put you right in the middle of the scene (the marathon march in Afghanistan...), yet he is equally adept in making you feel for yourself the range of emotions he goes through (the girl with the rose). The conclusion is fabulous; again, he alienates no one. Young adults will even be moved by Friedman's story; I plan to use the book in my high-school classroom as part of a larger unit with also includes writings by Tim O'brien (a writer Friedman eclipses, in my opinion.) One of the best things about this book, I think, is that you can enjoy it and relate to it regardless of how you feel about the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flashback, August 22, 2007
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This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
As a fellow Iraq Veteran (OIF I) I felt this book was so realistic it brought me back to those fateful days in March 2003 waiting in the Kuwaiti desert for the inevitable "war" to begin. From the false NBC (nuclear, biological & chemical) alarms to the sandstorm of near biblical proportions, nothing I have read prior to this book has brought those days back in such a clear and concise way. I highly suggest this book to those who wonder what it is like to serve in a combat zone.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Compelling, August 14, 2007
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This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
The sadly surreal, surprisingly boring and at times terrifying reality of war, put down on paper by someone who knows how to write. One soldier's unflinchingly straightforward experience. Highly educational for all who have not experienced armed service or combat. All at once satisfying, heartbreaking and informative. Well worth the read.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Dalton Trumbo, October 23, 2007
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This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
Reading this reminded me of Dalton Trumbo's classic book on WWI, "Johnny Got His Gun" though that book took a stridently anti-war position throughout. Not that this doesn't at all but I would consider it to be more neutral where that's concerned even with the author's disenchantment with the Iraq War;on the other hand because of 9/11, he felt his commitment to fight in Afghanistan to be a just cause. The italicized first person observations reminded me of the stream of consciousness technique found in Faulkner's "The Sound and The Fury."

So all in all, a first rate literary accomplishment.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eternal, November 19, 2007
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This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
My Infantryman (son) returned last month from the war in Iraq, and was thrilled at touching down on U.S. soil, full of hyperactive banter about a layover in Ireland where he went into an airport pub, yet he was curiously quiet, if you can picture that. Then he arrived at Fort ______, home base, and I asked him on the phone if he was ecstatic, and he seemed to mean it when he said, "Hell yeah!" He chattered about all the things he was going to do. But it wasn't a week later that I found him frustrated, growling, saying he'd rather be back in Iraq. He laid out a few short, sweet reasons, too. This from a young man (he turned 20 over there) who has made up his mind not to re-enlist, even though he's wanted to be a "soldier" since he was four.

Now when he comes home on leave next week, if he seems changed, out-of-sorts...maybe even out of sorts with ME...I'll understand, and be equipped not to make that be about ME. So thank you, Lieutenant Friedman. I strictly bought your book for the title, because it seemed to be about my son.

Outside of what I needed (and got) from it personally...wonderful book! Except for Catch 22, Slaughterhouse Five, and maybe you could count EXODUS (Leon Uris), I am no reader/seeker of war books, but I couldn't put this one down. It's fast-paced, exciting, as readable as a great novel. Riveting, sometimes upsetting...but without beating a drum, it SHOWS you what you might not have considered about THIS WAR, and all war, and your loved ones who are (or might become) soldiers in a war.

There was a time or two when I wanted to smack our young protagonist upside his head, but I think the author knows this. And there was the time I closed the book and laid it down for several minutes, because I had to bawl hard out loud. (Am glad I was by myself for that, so I could give it all I had once and for all.)

Ya might wanna read "The War I Always Wanted" with a pencil handy, to keep from bracketing your favorite sections with a pen. There are vital, living, eternal things in here, that you'll want to read again and remember. With America at war (so we're told, although I often look around and wonder), "The War I Always Wanted" is reading I recommend for everybody, without exception. Don't worry! Nothing dry here. It's a story. You'll enjoy it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The War I Always Wanted, December 27, 2007
This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
One of two war books I have read since the DMZ in Vietnam, this book gets the distinction between preconceived notions of war and the experience of war. The times that can be emotional if we allow them to, and the experience of one of the most alive times one can experience, is captured in this book in a way I could never have expressed myself--and I've tried. This one truly "gets it". Strongly recommended!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving..., October 18, 2007
By 
A Physician (Dallas, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
I think this will be considered one of the classics coming from the growing body of Iraq War memoirs. Friedman is a gifted writer and this is certainly one of the most well-written accounts I've read coming from this War. Friedman grew up watching the same war movies I did and had the same fantasies of glory in battle. He went to war and found that it isn't the stuff of a kid's dreams. His telling of coming home and trying to adjust to life outside of the Army and away from "his war" is particularly powerful. Should be read with "One Bullet Away" (Nathaniel Fick), another classic in this genre.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work, August 28, 2007
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This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
What an excellent book. As a Marine Corps combat veteran I had instant empathy with the writer from the first few pages. My war was in Beirut in the 80's, his was much later but all infantrymen know the same things regarding what they thought war would be and what it is. This is one of those booksy you can't put down until you finsh it.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give this book to those who think they are tough guys, September 1, 2007
By 
O. Cooper (Issaquah, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
Brandon Friedman adds to the rich literature of warfare with this well written look into his life as a young platoon leader, eager to lead troops into what seemed a righteous war against those who attacked America in Afghanistan, then abruptly finding himself in a war of American aggression in Iraq with an unclear purpose.

Every young person considering a military career should read this book. It recognizes the best about American Armed Services while revealing how politically motivated leadership can abuse the troops loyalty. This era's "Catch 22".
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very unique, May 4, 2008
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This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
Brandon has a unique story telling gift that is to be treasured. I am an OEF veteran and I felt I was in his shoes at the precise times he describes. I had many of the same fears and emotions and connected with him through the book. Once I picked it up I did not put it back down till I was done.
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The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War
The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War by Brandon Friedman (Hardcover - August 15, 2007)
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