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WAR [Hardcover]

A book by Sebastian Junger.

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War... what is it good for?

  • May 8, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+5
War is a harsh, brutal, unpleasant business, or so I have heard. I have no intention of ever serving in the military (my kind aren't welcome anyhow), and if I were drafted, I would refuse to go and would instead go to jail (it seems to me that part of having freedom is having the freedom to refuse to fight to protect it). Never the less, I have a great deal of respect for our military and the men and women who fight, and too often die, on our behalf.

This is a book about the war in Afghanistan. The book is almost entirely devoid of politics; it is, simply, an examination of war and its effects on the human body and mind as told by an exceptionally gifted author. If the conclusions he reaches and the observations he makes are less than original, well, so be it. If seventeen people tell you the sky is blue you hardly deride them for being unoriginal.

The author, Sebastian Junger, spent quite a bit of time with a a group of soldiers at a very small outpost in Afghanistan. Like any sort of highly-intense environment it generated all sorts of interesting stories, and Junger does a great job of telling them. He talks about the men who died, the men who lived, and how sometimes what I shall euphemistically refer to as "feces" happens.

Junger's writing is very effective and evocative. He paints with words a landscape that many of us would consider to be just this side of Hell, and then populates it with soldiers who are convinced that Hell might be an improvement. He captures the boredom, the stress and the strange attraction that war has for those who participate in it. Terry Pratchett once wrote that war is better than women, for every day it is fresh and exciting. That's a truism made even more plain in this book.

Regardless of one's political views and beliefs on the war in Afghanistan, or indeed war in general, this is an excellent book and one worth your time.

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More WAR reviews
review by . June 17, 2010
  After reading an excerpt of this book from NPR book reviews, I called one of my friends who used to be an Army Ranger who served in Iraq and read him some of the lines that sounded eerily similar to things that he had mentioned to me before. As I read away, he sometimes laughed but often times just gave a deadpan, yeah, that's the way it happens.  I knew I had to get my hands on the rest of the book and see what Junger could offer me in terms of taking a glimpse into the unseen …
review by . July 23, 2010
Sebastian Junger, probably best known as the author of A Perfect Storm, spent months embedded with soldiers of the Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne, in the Korengal Valley, the most hostile area of Afghanistan. The result of this is War, an absorbing, if uneven account, of the men sent to intercept Taliban fighters as they move between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The mission is difficult and costly, fought in terrain that is unlike any other in Afghanistan, and is performed by young, …
review by . May 30, 2010
 The war in Afghanistan is one that is not very popular in the eyes of the citizens of both America and the UK; and I'm sure many other countries involved also. But whether you're in favour of the war or not, you have to sit back and offer your support to the men and women that put their lives on the line every day for their respective nations. Whether you believe the political motivations for the war are genuine or not, you can't help but sit back and wonder just how bad it must be for some …
review by . July 19, 2010
For a long time, I have been fascinated by the breed of reporter/writer so willing to put everything on the line in order to experience warfare alongside American soldiers. It is only from these brave and talented men and women that the rest of us get a decent picture of what is really happening out there and what our young soldiers are enduring for months on end. Sebastian Junger is one of the best of the breed. I am already a fan of Junger's "The Perfect Storm" and "A Death in Belmont," both of …
review by . June 23, 2010
Having read some dozen accounts from both soldiers and journalists on the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I cannot say this volume presents anything above the average. Almost always one will find interesting stories and memories of war in any account of battle; less often you'll come across an occurrence that seems to defy imagination and reality all at once. You'll find both here, which makes for an interesting read but nothing that makes this text stand out from the rest. Personally, there …
review by . June 01, 2006
This is one of those "coffee table" books which were and have been popular for a number of years now. There is really nothing new in the way of unpublished war photographs in this one, although the range is quite good. The wars which are addressed in this volume are Crimean War, American Civil War, Franco-Prussian War, British Colonial Wars, Spanish-American War, Russo-Japanese War, World War I, Russian Revolution, Spanish Civil War, Chinese Civil War, World War II, Korean War, Six-day War and the …
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
Ranked #60
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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Wiki

Evan Thomas and Sebastian Junger: Author One-on-One
In this Amazon exclusive, we brought together authors Sebastian Junger and Evan Thomas and asked them to interview each other.

Evan Thomas is one of the most respected historians and journalists writing today. He is the author of The War Lovers. Sebastian Junger is an internationally acclaimed author and a contributing editor toVanity Fair, and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. He is the author of War. Read on to see Sebastian Junger and Evan Thomas talk about their books.

Evan Thomas: War really is hell in your book. And yet it seems to captivate some of the men who fight it. Why?

Sebastian Junger: War is hell, as the saying goes--but it isn't only that. It's a lot of other things, too--most of them delivered in forms that are way more pure and intense than what is available back home. The undeniable hellishness of war forces men to bond in ways that aren't necessary--or even possible-- in civilian society. The closest thing to it might be the parent-child bond, but that is not reciprocal. Children are generally not prepared to die for their parents, whereas the men in a platoon of combat infantry for the most part are prepared to do that for each other. For a lot of men, the security of being enclosed by a group like that apparently outweighs the terrors of being in combat. During World War II, wounded soldiers ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0446556246
ISBN-13: 978-0446556248
Author: Sebastian Junger
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, History
Publisher: Twelve
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