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It's Not Tim O'Brien But It Is Close-REALLY Close
on August 15, 2014
All war is hell. From Saratoga to Spotsylvania to Verdun to Omaha Beach to Pusan to Khe Sanh to Fallujah, that truism has been validated with the blood of the grunts sent into battle for reasons they may not understand or that may not make sense. Brandon Friedman’s gripping memoir of his time in two of our latest affirmations of this truism is one of the finest of its types produced to date. Those of us who have heard the guns will recognize the emotions he faces and faces down for they are the same regardless of time or location.
Friedman’s story is not about battles, tactics or maneuvers. It is about a young man who bought into the youthful myth of “soldier games” and watched it replaced by the cynicism of actual combat. His eagerness to lead begins to fade with his first taste of close combat and is destroyed when his unit takes its first casualties. His journey is the story and it is a compelling one, especially if the reader has trod that same path in his or her younger days. The book is aptly titled as Friedman got the war he wanted and its reality soon destroyed the illusion.