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Letters from the Front Lines: Iraq and Afghanistan Hardcover – September 1, 2006
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
In the tradition of The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors -- from the deckplates and firing lines, the command center and the Admiral's bridge, these letters summon us to honor the commitment, bravery and sacrifice that our military men and women are giving us today. A commendation to Admiral Platt for this timely and important book. --Hon. Steven S. Honigman, former General Counsel of the Navy
About the Author
Admiral Platt capped a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy with his appointment during the Reagan administration to serve as the country's first Competition Advocate General (the Navy's top businessman in uniform). Admiral Platt was recently named to the Cold War Leadership Hall of Fame by the Submarine Force Museum Association. He is a highly decoratd Vietnam veteran. Chairman of Harbor Wing Technologies Inc, producers of unmanned open ocean surveillance and research vessels, Admiral Platt also serves on the corporate board of DRS Technologies Inc. He is the chairman of the Historic Ships Foundation in San Francisco, and a Presidential Appointee to the Board of Governers of the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Admiral Platt holds a MS (Operations Analysis) from the Simon Graduate School of Business, as well as a BS degree from the University of Rochester, and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He is the published author of two books and numerous Op-Ed and scholarly works. He is a former Wall Street Journal Scholar and is a graduate of the Executive Program at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.
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In fairness, I should say that my e-mails make up Chapter 3. I won't review my own chapter and as far as I know, none of the contributors will receive any financial returns from the book. Yes, I do hold a bias; however, I wanted to share my thoughts on the impact of the other contributors and the book as a whole.
Letters from the Front Lines is a valuable read for anybody trying to understand war from the perspective of those who fight it. Letters come from low-ranking enlisted and high-ranking brass alike. E-mails and blogs start early in the "war on terror" and span well past the first Iraq election. Some letters cover detailed political thoughts while others talk about the food and dust storms. Many letters carry a hint of missing life back home, but all understand the importance of service and duty. Not every author is for the war and not everybody is against it. These un-edited letters share the raw emotion found in war, even if they don't share the war itself.
Many different perspectives are shared. Brian Baldrate writes about the same time I was there. He had little hesitation sharing things that may have scared his family back home. I, on the other hand, found it far easier to write about non-war items to let my family know I was safe but not frighten them at the same time. Officers write about the larger perspectives of war while the enlisted, those in the trenches, often talk about duty.
I loved most of this book because as a veteran myself, I could relate to the emotion shared in Letters from the Front Lines. People still ask me about war. My recommendation is that they read this book.
Contributors include SGT Chris McCarthy USMC (Chapter 1: The View From Here), CPT Brian Baldrate US Army (Chapter 2: Law and Order), SSG Bryan Catherman US Army (Chapter 3: The Other Side of the Sandbox), SGT Chris Missick US Army (Chapter 4: A Line in the Sand), CPT John Upperman Texas National Guard (Chapter 5: Who's Your Baghdaddy?), SGT David S. Bateman USMC (Chapter 6 Devil Dog), LTC Dan Hokanson National Security Fellow at Harvard University (Chapter 7: Citizen Soldiers), Karey Keel-Stidham Marine Mother (Chapter 8: Devil Dogma), MAJ Eric Rydbom US Army (Chapter 9: Letters to America), Vice Admiral J.D. McCarthy and CPT Kurt Kunkel USN (Chapter 10: The View From Here), Rear Admiral Robert Conway Jr. USN (Chapter 11: Transformation- Part One), Brigadier General Mike Regner USMC (Chapter 12: Transformation- Part Two), and Major General Kevin Kuklok USMC (Chapter 13: Eight Months in the Palace).