In his breakout bestseller, The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger created "a wild ride that brilliantly captures the awesome power of the raging sea and the often futile attempts of humans to withstand it" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, Junger turns his brilliant and empathetic eye to the reality of combat--the fear, the honor, and the trust among men in an extreme situation whose survival depends on their absolute commitment to one another. His on-the-ground account follows a single platoon through a 15-month tour of duty in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. Through the experiences of these young men at war, he shows what it means to fight, to serve, and to face down mortal danger on a daily basis.
War is insanely exciting.... Don't underestimate the power of that revelation, warns bestselling author and Vanity Fair contributing editor Junger (The Perfect Storm). The war in Afghanistan contains brutal trauma but also transcendent purpose in this riveting combat narrative. Junger spent 14 months in 2007 2008 intermittently embedded with a platoon of the 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, one of the bloodiest corners of the conflict. The soldiers are a scruffy, warped lot, with unkempt uniforms they sometimes do battle in shorts and flip-flops and a ritual of administering friendly beatings to new arrivals, but Junger finds them to be superlative soldiers. Junger experiences everything they do nerve-racking patrols, terrifying roadside bombings and ambushes, stultifying weeks in camp when they long for a firefight to relieve the tedium. Despite the stress and the grief when buddies die, the author finds war to be something of an exalted state: soldiers experience an almost sexual thrill in the excitement of a firefight a response Junger struggles to understand and a profound sense of commitment to subordinating their self-interests to the good of the unit. Junger mixes visceral combat scenes raptly aware of his own fear and exhaustion with quieter reportage and insightful discussions of the physiology, social psychology, and even genetics of soldiering. The result is an unforgettable portrait of men under fire.
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What s gripping book with a non-political stance. I was very impressed with the book. It helps me in my everyday job to understand combat vets just a little bit better.
As a veteran of Iraq, my experiences were very different from the men of Battle Co. However, this book captures exactly the brotherhood of combat and the strange groundhog day of war. Read it and you will understand why deployment is the best-worst thing in the world... Thank you, Mr. Junger for writing what needed to be written.
Junger captures the war experience and brotherhood right on the button. The psychology and research added are tremendously relevant and mind boggling as he links his story telling.