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3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  299 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
When American journalist Mark Walsh is wounded by a shell in Kurdistan, he finds himself a patient in a local hospital where a man's future in decided by the random choice of a coloured chip. Desperate to survive, Mark fakes a recovery and returns to his girlfriend, Elena, in New York, but becomes crippled both physically and emotionally.
Published (first published 1998)
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May 25, 2012 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was disturbing, easy to read, and has lingered with me for some days. Moral quandaries abound & the Franco era grandfather is just one of them. It's well informed, because the author Scott Anderson is a war correspondent. I recommend it for people who aren't too compromised in their anti war beliefs to want to understand more about war, from the onside, where soany moral lines are blurred.
Roxy Reno
Sep 18, 2013 Roxy Reno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My good friend Stan gave me this book on Mancation (a place where men go to drink themselves into submission and read) and it is nothing short of amazing. I didn't add it to Goodreads until I was a little more than half way through and was surprised to find a couple of bad reviews, I don't get that at all. Just so, so many good things about this book. It was published in 1998 but is so current in it's relevance that it could have been published yesterday. It feels incredibly real, the descriptio ...more
I just couldn't get thru this one. It was so drawn out I lost what the story was about
May 30, 2014 Georgia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Worst book I have ever read, I would have rather watched paint dry
Emma Flip
Jun 09, 2013 Emma Flip rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was by far, the most boring book I have ever read. The story dragged and dragged, and was very hard to get through. The joaquin character, or whatever his name was, was very irritating, and seemed to just blab about everything. You could ask him on his opinion of a lemon and he would make an hour talk out of it. I just found it to be a very boring book, and wouldn't recommend it to younger readers, or readers that want action. If you like a slower read, then it's the book for you. But ...more
Jan 12, 2016 Olga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember telling my mother that I wanted to be a war reporter. She said nothing really other than 'hmm interesting' and a few days later she gave me this book to read. I was quite discouraged I must say, though I managed to find my own way of being present in places that matter eventually.. mission accomplished mom!
Beautifully written, real and haunting.
Jul 29, 2014 Book-a-neer marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Feb 12, 2012 Candice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. This book grabbed me from the beginning and held on through out the tumultuous journey of Mark's recovery. Joaquin was a wonderful character, my favorite by far, so complex and multi-faceted. I think my favorite thing about this book was the lack of emotion. It was perfectly executed, a very difficult thing to do by the way. The author only presented the facts, never stating what the characters felt but allowing you to gage that emotion naturally from their reactions. A wonderfully tied ...more
Katherine Evans
Jan 26, 2016 Katherine Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sobering tale of the many effects of war on survivors. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
Future-Jess ✮ The Book Eating Dinosaur ✮ Nynaeve ♥
I remember loathing this book when I studied it at school. Yucks.
Aug 25, 2014 Keeble rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shite, clunky and badly worded.
Mar 19, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Triage is presented in multiple layers in this novel that interweaves the late 20th century conflict in Kurdistan and the Spanish Civil War. In sparse yet richly textured language the author explores triage on the battlefield and the triage inherent in moral/immoral/amoral decisions. I am usually drawn into a novel in the first few pages but this one look a while longer. When I finished the novel I immediately reread the first chapter to discover the clues to the story that was about to unfold.
Aug 12, 2013 Ash rated it really liked it

"To hell with history. If there is anything to be learned from any of it, it is only that civilisation is fragile, that in war it takes nothing for a man - any man, fascist, communist, schoolteacher, peasant, it doesn't matter - to become a beast."
Apr 24, 2012 Emma rated it did not like it
Shelves: own-it
What a disappointment on a topic so important. The three main characters really do not convince... neither does the story line. It is fluently written but it strangely lacks psychological insight, or maybe knowledge. It is nearly amateurish. That while psychology is the mayor point of the book. And the over romantic ending really sucks and has little if nothing to do with reality
Jan 04, 2011 Bianca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
I actually had to read this as a school text about 10 years ago and enjoyed it then but got a bit sick of analysing it over and over! I just finished re-reading it and realised what an amazing piece of literature this book is! You really do keep guessing almost to the end about whats going on. A very worthy read for all ages.
Jun 28, 2007 Nicirwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the few books that i have read and studied, and have come out the other side loving even more than what i did to begin with. Anderson paints fantastic pictures, and vividly demonstrates the agonies of being a war photographer.
Highly Recommended!
Edward Pertl
Aug 03, 2013 Edward Pertl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though I have taught this text for a number of years, I have come back to this beautiful and powerfully written story again and again for its insight into human frailties and tragedy. Anderson is an amazing writer
Mar 10, 2011 RUSA CODES rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the 1999 RUSA Notable Books winners. For the complete list, go to
Jul 04, 2007 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Shelves: school-related
Really interesting story about a war photographer. Studied in VCE at some schools in Victoria. Lots to discuss with this.
Jul 13, 2012 Maeemuir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rob's Yr 11 school text with deep themes and many discussion threads. A psychological exploration of PTSD.
Apr 20, 2010 Anthea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to get into, but a truly fascinating story for those who love suspense, history and modernism.
Nov 14, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Scott Anderson is a bad ass. One of the most emotionally competent books I've ever read.
Didn't really pull my heart strings, but short enough to read in one day.
Lisa Herrington
Sep 27, 2012 Lisa Herrington rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly amazing book!!
bad ass book right here
Jun 15, 2010 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my favorite books.
Xcvb added it
Apr 28, 2016
Hollie W
Hollie W rated it liked it
Apr 22, 2016
Peter rated it liked it
Apr 05, 2016
Amy rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2016
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“He wasn’t sure what to do. If he left the rock, it would only take a few minutes of desert air to dry his pool, and then all that would remain of him would be a small crucible of brown powder, a powder the wind would find and scatter. He wished to stay there, to protect the pool.
But after a time, he thought differently. He understood that if he stayed upon the rock, he would simply disappear as well. And so, he rose.”
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