WAR Reprint Edition
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"Absorbing and original . . . Junger is aiming for more than just a boots-on-the-ground narrative of the travails of fighting men . . . . WAR strives to offer not just a picture of American fighting men but a discourse on the nature of war itself. This is no small ambition . . . He writes some beautiful sentences about this ugly world."―Dexter Filkins, New York Times Book Review
"It is a gripping account of how modern warfare is experienced by those who do the fighting, and its focus is that of a laser, not a floodlight . . . WAR is full of stories that prove the adage about all politics being local."―Eugene Robinson, Washington Post
About the Author
- Publisher : Twelve; Reprint edition (May 17, 2011)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 044655622X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0446556224
- Item Weight : 9.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.88 x 8.13 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #83,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"Perfectly sane, good men have been drawn back to combat over and over again, and anyone interested in the idea of world peace would do well to know what they're looking for. Not killing, necessarily - that couldn't have been clearer in my mind - but the other side of the equation: protecting. The defense of the tribe is an insanely compelling idea, and once you've been exposed to it, there's almost nothing else you'd rather do. The only reason anyone was alive at Restrepo - or at Aranas or at Ranch House or, later, at Wanat - was because every man up there was willing to die defending it."
I can say from personal experience that coming back from my Iraq deployment, I was completely unprepared for how incredibly difficult it was to transition from that reality to working in an office and being productive and having a sense of purpose that didn't involve life and death. I was so utterly bad at doing a normal job that I tried to quit twice and was talked out of it both times by people that were better friends than I deserved. I'm still to this day trying to figure out how I come back and live in a 9-to-5 daily commute weekends off mow the grass nobody's shooting at me world.
"War" is an intimate look at a small group of men at the virtual tip of the spear in the most violet, troubled part of Afghanistan. It is a clear-eyed look at the men, their peace-time behavior, their behavior under extreme circumstances, and ultimately their behavior when they return to society. It offers an inside view of modern warfare fought in the most inhospitable climate imaginable. It is a much more "journalistic" effort than some other relatively recent war tomes, including the novelistic "Generation Kill" by Evan Wright. Junger is up front about his own objectivity -- or lack of it -- but his level of awareness of his involvement in events seems to mitigate the risk.
It's hard to say that you "enjoyed" a book with such a grave subject -- but I have re-read "War" several times, fascinated by the nuances and the lessons it offers. Junger is one of my favorite writers, and this ranks with "The Perfect Storm" on my list of great reads.
Top reviews from other countries
An essay on the lack of cohesion of modern western society. Troops returning from deployment are thrust from being an essential cog in a tight, functional tribe with a common goal, into a disunited, divided and selfish society pulling in completely different directions.
We need to reexamine the way we treat our returning servicemen and instead of grouping them as purely 'vets', thus deepening their sense of not belonging back home, we need to recreate that sense of tribe and utility they had on deployment. We do this through offering employment and by fixing the divisions in our own society so that we become a 'tribe' once more.
I hope that many veterans will read this and that it will help them understand their rage, anger and guilt in the context of missing the tribe rather than simply being diagnosed with PTSD and a lifetime of being sidelined and medicated.
Junger establishes a strong rapport with the troops and they open up to him in sometimes profoundly moving exchanges. It is the human elements of the book that are more interesting than the actual combat moments. The psychology of battle, the loss of comrades and the effects of prolonged exposure to combat is compellingly told and the studies on the effects of war on soldiers are fascinating and provide a real insight into the long term psychological damage.
Having been shot at and almost blown up by an IED, Junger experienced close quarter contact with the enemy on numerous occasions, and it is that immanence that makes the account so engrossing. Other books on modern warfare like Patrick Bishop's 3 Para and Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down rely on second hand accounts to tell the story, but Junger lived it and almost died for it and that is what makes this brilliant account a cut above the rest. Highly recommended. 3 ParaJarhead: A Solder's Story of Modern WarRestrepo [DVD ] Armadillo [DVD ] Black Hawk Down
A hard-nosed look at what it is to be a combat soldier in a war where there have continued to be no winners, this book develops a wide & varied narrative that looks at introducing some of the backgrounds of the numerous soldiers, their daily routine as they look to survive on a day-to-day basis, and what affects the war has had on not only those soldiers, but both the Afghani populace & the overall policy in the region.
As a former member of the military (although I never had to fight in a war) -- the book is brilliant at capturing and giving insight into the bond that develops between a group of men who all have one common goal -- to survive through the day. It gives an excellent insight into all the odd things that a group will do to pass the time and the odd lingo & stories that develop over a matter of time.
Upon completion of the book, I had to go view "Restrepo" -- which is the documentary that was shot in conjunction with the book by Junger and another film maker that he spent several tours with during the writing of the book -- in the hopes that I could learn more about the individuals listed in the book. I imagine all that read this book will have the same thought as well. Couldn't recommend this book highly enough...
This is a book about the US Army, so there will always be an American slant on life and culture. A great British equivalent of this would be The Junior Officer's Reading Club - although that is from an Army Officers perspective and not a journalist.
That said, this book comes highly recommended.