Redeployment Phil Klay In “Redeployment,” Phil Klay gives us a collection of short stories, all about the recent war in Iraq, mainly but not entirely featuring Marines who are or have been deployed there. Despite being Marine-centered, this polyphonic collection–and Klay masterfully writes with different voices–shows the diversity of experience that Americans deployed in Iraq […]Read more "“Redeployment” by Phil Klay"
The Sandbox David Zimmerman A surreptitiously weird book, “The Sandbox” follows the story of Toby Durrant, soldier and screw-up, who ends up in something way over his head while deployed in Iraq. The weirdness begins when Durrant’s convoy comes across the body of a little girl lying in the road. When they stop to investigate, […]Read more "“The Sandbox” by David Zimmerman"
Spoils Brian Van Reet Specialist Cassandra Wigheard is a tough girl from Arkansas who joined the army looking for adventure. What she got was deployment to Iraq and lots of close proximity with aspiring rapists, first from her own comrades in arms, then from the mujahideen who capture her and want to use her as […]Read more "“Spoils” by Brian Van Reet"
The Lonely Soldier Helen Benedict If you still harbor any starry-eyed illusions about the Iraq war as a noble endeavor, or of the military as a welcoming place for women, this book will dispel them. Focusing largely on the experiences of a fairly diverse group (two white, one Mexican-American, one African-American, one Native American, all, […]Read more "“The Lonely Soldier” by Helen Benedict"
American Sniper Chris Kyle “We were slaughtering them,” brags Chris Kyle, America’s most prolific sniper, in his bestselling memoir that spawned the hit movie directed by Clint Eastwood. The “them” here refers to Iraqi insurgents, of whom Kyle killed close to 200, something he attributes largely to luck and being in the right place at […]Read more "“American Sniper” by Chris Kyle"
“Blackwater” Jeremy Scahill With Erik Prince’s recent op-ed in the NYT arguing in favor of largely turning the US presence in Afghanistan over to private military contractors, now seems like a good time to review Jeremy Scahill’s “Blackwater,” a detailed expose of Blackwater’s (now merged with Triple Canopy and known as Academi) actions during the […]Read more "“Blackwater” by Jeremy Scahill"
“For once,” Dan Mills says about the news that his battalion was being sent to Iraq, “we were going somewhere interesting.” A professional soldier in his 30s and the head of his battalion’s sniper group, Mills had been bored stiff by a series of tours in tedious places like Northern Ireland and Bosnia. But finally, […]Read more "“Sniper One” by Dan Mills"
In this eye-witness account of the events in Iraq from 2003 to 2008, Richard Engel, NBC correspondent for the Middle East, repeatedly asks the question that others should have been asking a lot earlier and a lot louder: namely, what the heck was the US doing there? This is a personal account of Engel’s experiences […]Read more "“War Journal” by Richard Engel"