- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 2, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307279448
- ISBN-13: 978-0307279446
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 344 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Forever War Paperback – June 2, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Filkins, a New York Times prize–winning reporter, is widely regarded as among the finest war correspondents of this generation. His richly textured book is based on his work in Afghanistan and Iraq since 1998. It begins with a Taliban-staged execution in Kabul. It ends with Filkins musing on the names in a WWI British cemetery in Baghdad. In between, the work is a vivid kaleidoscope of vig-nettes. Individually, the strength of each story is its immediacy; together they portray a theater of the absurd, in which Filkins, an extraordinarily brave man, moves as both participant and observer. Filkins does not editorialize—a welcome change from the punditry that shapes most writing from these war zones. This book also differs essentially from traditional war correspondence because of its universal empathy, feelings enhanced by Filkins's spare prose. Saudi women in Kabul airport, clad in burqas and stylish shoes, bemoan their husbands' devotion to jihad. An Iraqi casually says to his friend, Let's go kill some Americans. A marine is shot dead escorting Filkins on a photo opportunity. Iraqi soldiers are disconcerted when he appears in running shorts (They looked at [my legs] in horror, as if I were naked). Carl von Clausewitz said war is a chameleon. In vividly illustrating the varied ways people in Afghanistan and iraq have been affected by ongoing war, Filkins demonstrates that truth in prose. 5 photos. (Sept. 17)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Filkins, foreign correspondent for the New York Times, has covered the struggle against Islamic extremism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. He marshals his broad experience to present a wide-ranging view of this struggle, told through a series of intense, vivid, and startling vignettes. Embedded with marines during the struggle for Fallujah, Filkins describes an almost surreal scene of confusion and unvarnished violence. In Kabul, Filkins witnesses the amputation of a pickpocket’s hand, followed by the execution of an accused murderer under the Taliban regime. At a press briefing, a Taliban “minister of information” recites a litany of forbidden activities that is both absurd and terrifying. An interview with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjshir, who bravely fought both the Soviets and the Taliban, is particularly poignant, since he would eventually be assassinated by al-Qaeda operatives. Filkins accompanies Americans searching a Sunni village for insurgents, where their insensitivity probably creates more enemies than they capture. A portrait of the difficulty, complexity, and savagery of a conflict that will be with us for some time. --Jay Freeman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The Forever War is a treasure. A reader could find most of what is worth saying about the What, Why and Wherefore of America’s engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Dexter Filkins spent 3 and a half years in Iraq, from the beginning of the invasion to the sad state of civil war and the collapse of that society resulting from that conflict and was essentially fearless in going where he needed to go and talking to whom he know needed to be interviewed, plus a tern as Embedded Journalist during the Marines storming of Fallujah. He knew The Story was evolving and he pursued it.
He was in Afghanistan before the invasion working there for the Los Angeles Times when the Taliban where in control and OBL and the Arabs where training for Jihad. Returned when the reaction to 9/11 launched the Allied invasion and stated until moved by the New York Times to Iraq. He never seemed to have lost the journalist quest for finding all components of The Story; that is the beauty of this book.
The “Bad Guys” are to him Insurgents but as he notes “Insurgent” is a necessary but imprecise term and its meaning was in a state of flux as time passed.
Returning home and having the time and support to write this book he notes that he had to greatly simplify his response to the question “What was it like over there?”, because eyes would began to glaze over. Do we really want to know? For those who do this summary is a must.