The Good Soldiers

The Good Soldiers
The Good Soldiers

Last time I wrote a “real” post here, I talked about things I wanted to read while away on a trip.  I easily managed to read item number one on the list, David Finkel’s outstanding new book, The Good Soldiers.  In that post, I wondered if the book would live up to the comparisons being made about it, for instance, that it was as good as Craig Mullaney’s book.  Short answer: you should read it; it is really good.  I would rank it just as high as Mullaney’s book, although it is somewhat different.  Mullaney tells his story first-person; it’s his life.  His tale is mainly focused on his small unit, a platoon of the 10th Mountain Division.  Finkel goes third person about a particular unit, an Army infantry battalion that deploys to Baghdad as a part of “the surge.”  The main protagonist is the battalion’s commanding officer, and the narrative follows the unit from before it even existed (it was stood up specifically to be a part of the surge) until it returns from its 15 months in Iraq.  Soldiers is a bit depressing, illustrating the grim personal toll in casualties suffered by this American battalion inside the surge and some of the effects on families of the wounded, often horribly so – burns, multiple amputations, and other dismemberment mainly from explosively-formed penetrator (EFP) roadside bombs that cut through even armored Humvees like a knife.  A continuous theme found throughout the book is the disconnect between the strategy set forth by top policy-makers and the reality on the ground, something that may well be a real factor in Afghanistan right now.

Here is what I wrote about the book over at Goodreads:

I didn’t do as well with the other items on my reading list – too busy seeing the many sights and taking a lot of pictures.  Here are some of my favorites:

Starred Photos

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One Response to “The Good Soldiers”

  1. “The Good Soldiers” Author David Finkel at the Pritzker Military Library « Facing China Says:

    […] 2009 book about an Army battalion inside Baghdad as a part of “the surge” in 2007.  I wrote about Finkel’s book, The Good Soldiers, here at Facing China back in February after I finished it […]

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