7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A new view of our military and development,
This review is from: It Happened On the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace (Hardcover)
Rye Barcott has written a story that is both personal and important. It makes a worthy addition to any bookshelf that already includes "Three Cups of Tea," but goes much deeper.
Barcott's descriptions of Kibera, the giant slum in Nairobi, Kenya, do not glorify it or its people. But, he makes clear that even in such misery there are many who demonstrate the will and capacity to improve not only their own lives, but those of their neighbors. His account of how Carolina for Kibera was established, the problems and successes, and the lessons learned from the participatory development process, should be read by anyone who seeks to be of help.
Barcott's unvarnished description of his life as a Marine, notably in Fallujah, Iraq is equally illuminating. We ask our military forces, in the words of one general, "to be able to be aggressive and hostile one moment and the next moment be able to play soccer with the kids." Barcott himself expected to be able to carry out that mission, given his successful experiences in Kibera. Yet, he found that to be an almost impossible charge. His descriptions of how he reacted when confronted with kids who were almost certainly co-opted by the enemy demonstrate the difficulty of the task for our troops, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It Happened on the Way to War is compelling and thought-provoking. It is a must for anyone interested in the nature of war, development, or the links between the two.