The Good Soldiers


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Dec 16, Stephen Dorman rated it liked it Shelves: Like a number of books on the Iraq war this has it's flaws. As an embedded reporter it's more or less inevitable that Finkel can only provide a narrow US perspective on events. He is, generally, unflinching in doing so and the book reads well. You will however search in vain for any but the most cursory Iraqi perspective. Injuries and deaths of US soldiers are dwelt on at great length, Iraqis, by and large, die off-screen.

That said, reading between the lines can giv Like a number of books on the Iraq war this has it's flaws. That said, reading between the lines can give a sense of just how badly messed up this all was. There's little indication that any member of the has the foggiest clue as to why the Iraqis might be fighting them, something which recalls Robert McNamara's lessons from the Vietnam War: We failed, as well, to adapt our military tactics to the task of winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture.

Our judgment of what is in another people's or country's best interest should be put to the test of open discussion in international forums. We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose. This book is a testament to an utter failure to learn even one of those lessons and, based on the discussion since, there is little indication that the debacles of Iraq or Afghanistan have improved matters. Negli Stati Uniti la guerra era motivo di discussione. In Iraq la guerra era guerra.

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The Good Soldiers - Wikipedia

Sto ascoltando Serial , leggendo innumerevoli articoli sull'Iraq, l'Afghanistan, Guantanamo e i black sites, saggi sulla guerra in generale e quella del Vietnam in particolare. Sui risultati ottenuti da questi due elementi il libro non si esprime. Nov 05, Mikey B. This is very graphic account of the Iraq war from the ground perspective of the American soldier. Instead soldiers die horrifically, are bodily mutilated and will suffer for the rest of their lives. The soldiers who do survive without physical disabilities will doubtless experience deep mental anguish for the duration of their lives.

Many of them were taking sleeping pills d This is very graphic account of the Iraq war from the ground perspective of the American soldier. Many of them were taking sleeping pills during their tour of duty. Some would re-enlist even though they were obviously suffering burn-out and combat fatigue.

The longer the soldiers stay there the more their idealism fades and destructiveness sets in — they care less and less about the country they are there to allegedly help — in fact they become repulsed by Iraq and many loath the local population. One reviewer compared this book to the work of Ernie Pyle — the famous World War II writer who also described life at the grass-roots level of the American soldier.

However in the work of Ernie Pyle one gets a steady feeling of progression. There is no repulsion of the soldiers towards the local population — they are the liberators.

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Iraq maybe more akin to the trench warfare of the First World War with troops constantly circulating in the same environment. Also Ernie Pyle explained many of the functions of army life — like logistics and supplies as well as life on the front line. In some ways the author leaves out the inhabitants whose city is now occupied.

They did not ask to be liberated and occupied. Feb 16, James rated it it was amazing Shelves: Beautifully done and crushingly sad. From their arrival in Iraq for the "surge" to their departure 15 months later, the book chronicles the experiences of one Army battalion's soldiers, from the commanding officer to the most junior troops, and their families, including the deaths and maimings and in some cases their slow psychological and spiritual disintegration. For me, this was one of those books that left me just sitting after I finished it, unable to stop thinking about the stori Beautifully done and crushingly sad.

For me, this was one of those books that left me just sitting after I finished it, unable to stop thinking about the stories of some of the soldiers and their families, and the author's pointing out that these were just a tiny fraction of hundreds of thousands who have come home, and still are every day, forever changed and scarred in both visible and invisible ways.

It will be a challenge in the decades ahead to puzzle out the differences between the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and those of the past, and why these particular experiences have been so devastating to so many even compared with units in past wars that may have lost higher proportions of their people killed and wounded.

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Some of it has to be the cumulative damage of being deployed over and over for some troops; some is probably the constant fear that some face of seldom seeing an enemy but never knowing when a bomb is going to shred the vehicle in which they're traveling along with some or all of the people inside. Every politician who contemplates sending our troops to fight needs to read some books like this one and spend a few days talking with the veterans of past wars and their loved ones.

If a war is truly necessary, they'd end up going ahead with it, but with heavy hearts, and that's the way it should always be. Jan 30, Scott rated it it was amazing. David Finkel's all-access, on the ground reporting from the Iraqi War during "the surge" of into does a fantastic job of putting us with the Infantry Battalion with which he was embedded, as they try to makes sense of a increasingly senseless situation, and get out of there, not just alive, not just without losing a hand, or a leg, or, in the case of one guy, both legs, one arm, one hand, ears, and eyelids, but with a measure of dignity and t Harrowing.

David Finkel's all-access, on the ground reporting from the Iraqi War during "the surge" of into does a fantastic job of putting us with the Infantry Battalion with which he was embedded, as they try to makes sense of a increasingly senseless situation, and get out of there, not just alive, not just without losing a hand, or a leg, or, in the case of one guy, both legs, one arm, one hand, ears, and eyelids, but with a measure of dignity and the ability to get on with life once they get back home. That last challenge seems to be why so many re-enlist All of the awesome firepower, Marine preparation and pride, and hollow words of encouragement from leaders back home are nothing in the face of the realty of day-to-day Iraq.

And it's all still going on, for so many, on both sides. Oct 01, Trish rated it really liked it Shelves: How does one describe a war? Was there ever a war that seemed like a success? Oh yes--I remember now. The one Bush,Jr declared finished after a month or two. Imagine you are lying flat on the hot, dusty surface of a road east of Baghdad, in Rustamiyah. Improvised Explosive Device or Explosively Formed Penetrator Imagine you take a picture of the world from that viewpoint.

I felt Finkel's book allowed us to view the war in Iraq from a similar vantagepoint. A single How does one describe a war? A single battalion the experiences "the surge" in this book. We hear a rounded account, from the Lieutenant Colonel Colonel K leading the group, to the replacement soldiers for the dead and the wounded. We hear from the wives, the translators, the medalled, the battle-weary.

Book review: The Good Soldiers by David Finkel

There are no victors. It is terrifying, war is. If you want to see what bad is, you can have a look here. As we strive in our lives to achieve, and be the best of what man can be, our soldiers are seeing the worst of what man can be. I don't have words enough to express my sorrow Dec 01, Mike Kershaw rated it really liked it. This is a book about a Mech Battalion in Baghdad during the Surge and I think adequately captures the perspective of a group of Soldiers at this time of the war. I know the battalion commander personally and can attest that, to the extent possible, it captures the challenges faced by battalion commanders during this period as well.

The book is insightful in capturing the Soldiers attitudes as they deal with the struggle against an urban insurgency in Baghdad during this period. Another book, mor This is a book about a Mech Battalion in Baghdad during the Surge and I think adequately captures the perspective of a group of Soldiers at this time of the war. Another book, more disturbing but less well-written is "Blackhearts" about a company of the st which commited the infamous atrocities in Yusifiyah.

We followed this Brigade into South Baghdad and both encountered this situation and dealt with the consequences of these Soldiers action. The Good Soldier is by far the better of the two books but they could be read alongside to understand the challenges faced by Americans Soldiers during the Battle for Baghdad, Mar 02, Terri rated it really liked it Shelves: Now here is a book that will turn your hair white. It is a confronting book and had me so depressed by the closing chapters that I wanted to find a bar. And get so completely wasted to drown out my misery That's how much it got under my skin.

Really wanted to give it 5. In the end, there were a few things the author did that I didn't like and I made the tough choice to drop a star. Jun 20, Rachel rated it really liked it Shelves: This book was so difficult to read, even though it had a lot going for it.

The writing style was excellent. I felt like I got to know the people featured in the opening chapters. The author seemed to do a superb job getting into the mindset of these soldiers and showing the shift from hopeful optimism we're going to win this war to grim reality friends are dying every week, and for what?

Ralph Kauzlarich is often quoted as saying, "It's all good. Kauzlarich is portrayed very sympathetically. He was easy to relate to, even though I disagree with the war itself. He truly seemed to care about his men and about helping the Iraqi people. Many of the other soldiers and Iraqis mentioned are made very human by the way Finkel portrays their concerns and their compassion. The Good Soldiers isn't an anti-war book so much as it is a book about war. The military leaders aren't demonized; the soldiers aren't blamed; the Iraqis aren't all portrayed as innocent victims.

But the leaders turned out to be wrong about how quickly the war would end, the soldiers often suffer for it, and many of the Iraqis are insurgents - in other words, they're fighting for their homeland, just as we would if the shoe was on the other foot.

If you read this book, be aware of what you're getting: I found the realistic depictions of carnage very disturbing. I'm an anti-war libertarian; I know the arguments for and against war. But to actually read about this war that is still going on and think about people being blown to pieces and sometimes surviving made it very real.

It's never "all good" during war. Jul 28, Betsy rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: I've driven past Fort Riley, the central Kansas army base, dozens of times during visits to my in-laws near Dodge City and from the Interstate the base always looks eerily empty. But this nonfiction book about Fort Riley infantry soldiers the ones that serve the really scary way, with their feet on the ground in Iraq during some of the worst months of "the surge" in - offers a painfully in-depth look at the struggle these young guys, some teen-agers, go through at war and at home.

War I've driven past Fort Riley, the central Kansas army base, dozens of times during visits to my in-laws near Dodge City and from the Interstate the base always looks eerily empty.


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War is hell and this book details this in often excruciating detail - we see the guys trying out the "counterinsurgency" strategy now being tried in Afghanistan, trying to help people, many of whom respond with devastating bombs; we see the soldiers trying to readjust to home life after seeing things no one should ever have to see; we see the soldier's leader visiting horrifically wounded soldiers missing legs, arms, feet, hands; dented skulls; severe burns - and that's just the wounds on the outside and their tragically dedicated wives and mothers; we're in the Humvee when the bomb tears through soldiers bodies, in the house with the wife and kids left behind, at the memorial services - all this juxtaposed with George Bush's relatively upbeat public pronouncements about the success of the surge.

An astonishing piece of reporting, this book gives you the real story. It should be required reading for us all, especially those who decide whether we go to war and whether we continue that war. Jan 14, Tom rated it it was amazing. David Finkel, a reporter who lived with an Army battalion during the Iraqi surge, describes in great detail some of the tragic events that took place during their deployment and the backstories of some of the soldiers affected by those events.

His narrative does not give a political opinion either way; rather, the theme that he does make very clear in his book is that the political pundits both Republican and Democrat were and are out of touch with the reality of the Iraqi ground war. One th David Finkel, a reporter who lived with an Army battalion during the Iraqi surge, describes in great detail some of the tragic events that took place during their deployment and the backstories of some of the soldiers affected by those events.

One theme that is not seen in this book that is often featured in other modern war narratives is criticism for military leadership for instance, in Evan Wright's "Generation Kill" the would-be-funny-if-it-wasn't-true depiction of the commanding officer who was quietly and very sarcastically nicknamed "Captain America" by his soldiers.

While Finkel does convey some of the dissatisfaction the soldiers felt for some of their officers, he also goes out of his way to explain how difficult and at times impossible the harrowing day-to-day routines and frequent skirmishes are for the officers to manage. This book had a very detached, objective feel to it; like a series of feature newspaper articles arranged in chronological order starting from the time of the battalion's deployment until their return to the States.

But despite that cold, clear objectivity, this book was still, without a doubt, one of the saddest books that I have ever read. I would recommend it to anybody. Dec 13, Liza Gilbert rated it it was amazing Shelves: I really hate reading about war. I find it nauseating, and I find the whole process of combat stupid. That said - if I had to read a book about the Iraq war, I'm glad it was this one. I was blown away by the author's organization. Although the story is told chronologically, it tells the stories of dozens of different soldiers yet remains very organic in how those histories are told.

There are definitely some sections that one should not read while eating, before eating, after eating, or while think I really hate reading about war. There are definitely some sections that one should not read while eating, before eating, after eating, or while thinking of a time they ever spent eating, but the vast majority of the content was about the psychology of war and what that does to a soldier.

To me, the constant action, unrelenting suspense, and knowledge that all of those things really happened made Finkel's text very different from others in the same field. The things that could have slowed me down, such as the military abbreviations, were well explained by the author. What really grabbed me and had my jaw dropping time and again was the story of the man in charge of the unit described in the book. On the whole, I found this to be a stunning book, and some of the best war reporting I've ever read.

Nov 12, Olivia rated it really liked it. When I bought this book the lady at the register told me, "You're the first woman to ever buy this book!

The Good Soldiers

But I highly recommend this book to peoples of all genders. This book ignores all of that and takes the reader directly to the soldiers on the When I bought this book the lady at the register told me, "You're the first woman to ever buy this book! This book ignores all of that and takes the reader directly to the soldiers on the ground during the surge in I found it compelling the way some trashy suspense novels are -- I could hardly put it down.

What's more, this book barely has a whiff of agenda. When I finished it, I felt mostly confused. The day-to-day experience of the soldiers made me feel like everything being done over there is futile and everybody should just come home before any more lives are lost. But then by the end I was thinking, well, if the surge DID work, then maybe they should stay. But honestly I don't want anyone to stay. In any case, I don't really know what I'm talking about when it comes to war, but my feeling is that these contradictory reactions underline what a superb job David Finkel did with this book.

Wars can accomplish things, but at the same time each life lost is one life too many. View all 3 comments. Dec 08, Kristen Lemaster rated it really liked it Shelves: This is such a heartbreaking and honest portrayal of the real price of war - like The Things They Carried , but more factual while still retaining that engaging storytelling aspect. I cried and laughed and kept reading because you realize sometimes that's all you can do, just keep going, like these soldiers do, these good soldiers who become great men despite all they've suffered and sacrificed.

Obviously there is a lot of violence and explicit language, but there is also a sentimentality and an understanding that we are all in this together; there are parts where the men can find literally nothing pleasant about their post in the hot, empty, hateful desert, but there are also times when they act like brothers and say the most profound things and realize that sometimes there is such "goodness" to steal a phrase from what might be considered the main character, Kauzlarich in the Iraqis and indeed in the world. The wounding and death of various soldiers punctuate the larger arc of the book.

The deaths are tragic, but the injuries are most harrowing. When Kauzlarich visits some of his men in a hospital recovery ward, we see the war Johnny Got His Gun-style: Now in the form of legless, armless, mauled, burnt, depressed and half-dead soldiers and their mothers and wives, war visits the reader as a long nightmare. Later, with massive understatement, she tells Kauzlarich: A soldier named Atchley, who lost an eye and picks metal and plastic shrapnel from under his skin, explains: This war is complete [expletive].

While vivid and moving, Finkel's grunt's-eye view is limited; the soldiers' perspective is one of constant improvisatory reaction to attacks and crises, and we get little sense of exactly how and why the new American counterinsurgency methods calmed the Iraqi maelstrom. Still, Finkel's keen firsthand reportage, its grit and impact only heightened by the literary polish of his prose, gives us one of the best accounts yet of the American experience in Iraq.

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