Book Review: The Forever War Reply

The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins, recounts the author’s eye witness experiences of the rise of the Taliban in the 90’s and the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He whittles the hundreds of notebooks he filled up during his years as a war correspondent for the New York Times down to a series of around 50 vignettes. The Forever War does a remarkable job of humanizing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which can so often seem distant and abstract. Filkins’ writing gives you a visceral sense of what it is like to be in the middle of a war zone in a way that few books can.
“The wind from the bullets brushed my neck. Marines were writhing in the street, tangles of blood and legs, while other marines were stooping and helping them and also getting shot. I kept running, pumping, flying toward the other side as fast as I could with my seventy pounds of gear when I saw a pair of marines standing in a doorway and waving to me to come on, come on. I ran straight for them and I could see by the looks on their faces they weren’t sure I was going to make it…”
This book allows you to learn about the nature of war itself. Through these stories we get to understand the people of Afghanistan, evolution of the situation in Iraq, the difficulty with the reconstruction process, political reform, and the difficulty of knowing whom to trust.
This book does not pass judgment about the war. If you want a book to tell you about whether our wars are moral then this book is not for you. This book is full of the stories the real people who are a part of these conflicts, American, Iraqi, and Afghani. Filkins takes us to the homes of Iraqi officials, patrols with American troops through the streets of Iraq, public executions in Kabul, the aftermath of suicide bombings, horror scenes in public hospitals, and interviews with insurgents. This book gives you great insight and an understanding that is hard to gain from the television news.
This selection is available in the school library on the Bacc Rag shelf.

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