Stories by Soldiers

Fire and Forget: short stories from the long war  (M)
edited by Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher
Stories by Soldiers “The stories aren’t pretty and they aren’t for the faint of heart. They are gritty, haunting, shocking—and unforgettable. Television reports, movies, newspapers, and blogs about the recent wars have offered snapshots of the fighting there. But this anthology brings us a chorus of powerful storytellers—some of the first bards from our recent wars, emerging voices and new talents—telling the kind of panoramic truth that only fiction can offer.” – Publisher
Searing stories from the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq, and the USA by warrior writers, Fire and Forget is about not forgetting. It is a necessary collection, necessary to write, necessary to read.” – E.L. Doctorow

Yellow Birds (M)
by Kevin Powers
Stories by Soldiers This moving debut from Powers (a former Army machine gunner) is a study of combat, guilt, and friendship forged under fire. Pvt. John Bartle, 21, and Pvt. Daniel Murphy, 18, meet at Fort Dix, N.J., where Bartle is assigned to watch over Murphy. The duo is deployed to Iraq, and the novel alternates between the men’s war zone experiences and Bartle’s life after returning home. Early on, it emerges that Murphy has been killed; Bartle is haunted by guilt, and the details of Murphy’s death surface slowly. 
Powers writes gripping battle scenes, and his portrait of male friendship, while cheerless, is deeply felt. As a poet, the author’s prose is ambitious, which sets his treatment of the theme apart-as in this musing from Bartle: “though it’s hard to get close to saying what the heart is, it must at least be that which rushes to spill out of those parentheses which were the beginning and end of my war.” The sparse scene where Bartle finally recounts Murphy’s fate is masterful and Powers’s style and story are haunting.” – Publisher Weekly
What It is Like to Go to War (M)
by Karl Marlantes
Stories by Soldiers *Starred Review* A Rhodes scholar who served as a marine lieutenant in Vietnam (he left Oxford to return to active duty), Marlantes seems to exemplify what we want in our military officers. Thoughtful and articulate, he is a student of history and philosophy; he recognizes the need for armies but believes nations should undertake more soul-searching before going to war. Above all, he feels that we need to do a better job preparing soldiers (he prefers the au courant warriors ) for war and also helping them heal, physically and mentally, from war. He interleaves harrowing scenes from his own experiences in combat with the lessons he learned and his hopes for their broader application… By turns horrifying and soothing, visceral and deeply profound, it’s a book you’ll never forget whether you agree with it or not.” – Graff, Keir Booklist

Things They Cannot Say: stories soldiers won’t tell you about what they‘ve seen, done or failed to do in war (M)
by Kevin Sites
Stories by Soldiers What is it like to kill? What is it like to be under fire? How do you know what’s right? What can you never forget?   In The Things They Cannot Say, award-winning journalist and author Kevin Sites asks these difficult questions of eleven soldiers and marines, who—by sharing the truth about their wars—display a rare courage that transcends battlefield heroics.

For each of these men, many of whom Sites first met while in Afghanistan and Iraq, the truth means something different. One struggles to recover from a head injury he believes has stolen his ability to love; another attempts to make amends for the killing of an innocent man; yet another finds respect for the enemy fighter who tried to kill him. Sites also shares the unsettling narrative of his own failures during war—including his complicity in a murder—and the redemptive powers of storytelling that saved him from a self-destructive downward spiral
.” – Publisher


Road to The CrossFit Games; An Injury

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