Green on Blue Kindle Edition
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: Green on Blue unravels the complexities of the Afghan war, then dissolves it all into the brutal heartache of reality – where home is a battlefield, fighting is a job, vengeance is a moral right, and war is “a racket…it had no sides. Each was the same as the other.” Aziz, an Afghan boy at the beginning of the novel, has lost nearly everything: Taliban forces killed his parents, and his older brother is left crippled when U.S. forces clash with militant ones. Alone, in need of money and seeking revenge, he enlists in the Special Lashkar, a militia funded by Americans to fight local insurgents. Aziz rises through the ranks, learns to kill, and discovers the nefarious profiteering, oppression and cultural beliefs that contrive this never ending war. A decorated Afghan and Iraq war veteran, Elliot Ackerman’s empathetic portrayal of individuals, factions, and the reasons they fight is fierce and haunting. With crisp, uncompromising prose, Green on Blue joins the canon of contemporary war literature and leaves you breathless. – Al Woodworth
Review of Elliot Ackerman's Green on Blue by Ben Fountain
Photo credit: Thorne Anderson
Photo credit: Peter Van Agtmael
"The militants fought to protect us from the Americans," says Aziz, the young Afghan narrator of Green on Blue, "and the Americans fought to protect us from the militants, and being so protected, life was very dangerous." Aziz would know better than many: first he loses his parents and his home to the war, then his cherished older brother is left permanently disabled by a bombing, a chain of events that leads Aziz to join the Special Lashkar, an indigenous army sponsored by the Americans to combat insurgents in the Afghan countryside. And so begins Aziz’s life as a soldier in a savage, complex war where the requisites of nang and badal honor and revenge, sometimes serve, and at other times clash with, the larger goals of the Americans and their Afghan allies and enemies.
War: one could do worse than define it as the collision of chaos theory with the law of unintended consequences. Aziz discovers that what he wants from the war isn’t nearly so simple and pure as it once seemed, and indeed, the war itself is gradually revealed to be ghabban, a racket, with the blond-haired, blue-eyed American soldier “Mr. Jack” providing the money and arms that keep the whole bloody business going. “Some wars only feed themselves,” says Atal, the sometime enemy, sometime ally of Aziz. “They cannot be won, only starved.”
If we want to understand anything about this war we’ve been fighting for thirteen years--a war that keeps spinning off greater and greater chaos, and more black consequence than even the most cynical pacifist might have predicted--then Ackerman’s unflinching novel is an excellent place to start. Part of the genius of this book is the sheer power of the storytelling, thanks to the immersive effect of Aziz’s voice and the keenness with which he observes and ponders all that comes his way. What we witness in Aziz is the wisdom of the survivor: clear-eyed, stony, unsparing. But perhaps the greater part of this novel’s genius lies in the grinding, almost inevitable logic of Aziz’s ultimate act, the fatal "green on blue" of the title. How could he do otherwise in a war with "no cause . . . at least none larger than oneself?" All the politicians’ cheerleading of the past thirteen years, the p.r., the fine and pious phrases that seek to sanitize the shedding of more and more blood, are shown for the fraud they are by the truths of Elliot Ackerman’s extraordinary novel.
From School Library Journal
- File Size : 365 KB
- ASIN : B01EJQASD4
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Publication Date : March 24, 2016
- Publisher : Daunt Books (March 24, 2016)
- Print Length : 257 pages
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,818,969 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"The forest grew cooler and cooler as we wandered to its depths. Like the bottom of a lake, the trees trapped a cold reminder that that the sun struggles to touch all parts of the earth equally."
Ackerman's military credentials in Afghanistan give veracity to this story, and I have to admit that I initially struggled with the novel as the subject is not for the feint of heart. Ackerman's writing drew me on, however, and the story's masterfully woven plot and surprising ending made me so glad that I did.
America's 14-year military involvement in Afghanistan makes this book a must-read for anyone who cares about our foreign policy impact in this war-torn country, or who simply wishes to read a beautifully written novel from a perspective that the majority of Americans will never truly understand.
Boiled down to it, it really comes down to how war becomes just a business for some. Not, as we in the West know, for the cozy Military Industrial Complex and all the shenanigans that lands the taxpayers and our soldiers with jets that cost 3x what they initially quoted and are years late.
And really nothing like mercenaries either.
Rather, in a country that has been at war since 1980 and has a stringent code of revenge and honor, war has become self-perpetuating and the only profession that some people know.
Sure, there are certainly hardcore believers within the Taliban. Maybe most of them. But they're not in this book. This book is concerned about whether to seek revenge or not within a society that values honor and revenge above all. Whether to seek peace or war. And why people make the choices they do. At the core, if it is to be believed, it carries a very depressing message about the cynicism displayed by all sides towards Afghani civilians.
4.5, rounded down, because it can be a tad slow reading.