Three young Americans serve honorably in Al Tafar, Iraq, in an unholy war that either destroys or breaks their will to live. Though you fully understand this is a novel, you will feel as you read that parts and the whole of each of them has lived in many men who have served in the Gulf Wars. The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers, is best read privately for you will shed tears for these men. Short, the book is an intense experience.
The author gives no smug comfort to the reader, no patriotic catch phrases to make us proud of our country. The reader is left to answer the questions of why and at what cost do we enter war. The author leaves no room for flag waving, and yet every word is deeply American.
The Blue Ridge Mountains image honors the one still moment in the book; even so you know at that moment, the weather is ever-changing.
Salute the truth, known and hidden. Charles Marlin
Read Full Post »
The first light book from the Gulf Wars I found is Jonathan Trouern-Trend, Birding Babylon: A Soldier’s Journal from Iraq. Birders need only the title to whet their appetite. The second is a breezy, teary account of life in a M*A*S*H sequel Paradise General: Riding The Surge At A Combat Hospital In Iraq by Dr. Dave Hnida. I liked both books.
Not every war book need be profound or soulful, and the good doctor proves it with his account of life among wonderful doctor buddies helping good guys save the lives of wounded heroes and serving some who die. You can’t help but like him even if he may be a bit of a bore.
Without bitterness, the doctor describes his Combat Support Hospital, staffing, the base, the presence of contractors, the military strategies that work no better one week than another week months apart. Perhaps it was a healthy way to cope with the combat stress. As a reader it may be hard to find the same level of acceptance. Charles Marlin
Read Full Post »