Iraq war experiences from those who were there.
“Sgt. J.B. Walker,” the “author” of this absorbing, dramatically vivid chronicle, is a pen-named collective effort by American soldiers fighting in Iraq. Originally self-published, the narrative is comprised of candid emails assembled once the group returned to American soil and encompasses much more than its original intent to detail “the simple charms of soldiering.” With exacting scrutiny, many of the unnamed authors share the stark realities and myriad complications of counterinsurgency efforts. Each of the five sections delves deeply into the multilayered aspects of military duty: the culture shock from intercepting violence, soldiering with a concussion, profiling jihadist militants, the inexplicability of suicide bombing and the silent suffering of innocent Iraqi women and children. Most affective are the personal accounts, ranging from the poignant to the humorous. Individual narration of violent conflicts and meticulously rendered scenes of armed tactical maneuvering are tempered by the soldiers’ first-person depiction of fearless Iraqi civilians demonstrating resistance to cutthroat guerrilla movements. Expertly archived and originally written for military audiences, this confluence of warfare experiences is sure to garner widespread attention, with the publishing proceeds directed to charities serving military families, “the unacknowledged soldiers of any war.”
A bracing cooperative effort taking readers as close to war as humanly possible.