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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  8,989 ratings  ·  1,151 reviews
In WAR, Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) 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'...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Twelve (first published January 1st 2010)
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Steve Sckenda
May 27, 2013 Steve Sckenda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Steve Sckenda by: Charlie Rose
Sebastian Junger, the writer of "The Perfect Storm," lived with an American platoon based on a remote hilltop in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan for 15 months. Most Korengalis, ensconced in their beautiful and inaccessible mountainous terrain, have never left their village and have no understanding of the modern world; thus, Korengal was the perfect place for the Taliban to base an insurgency.

In order to thwart the Taliban and draw them into open battle, ISAF generals inserted elements of th...more
Ms Bubbles SockieP
Stupendously brilliant and enlightening book. I understand the appeal of war much more now. It's nothing to do with altruism and everything to do with an uber-boy's club, guns and adrenaline. I understand men a lot more now too. This book should be required reading for the parents and girlfriends of the young men who have enlisted in the military.

It isn't what anyone would actually want to hear - no one much cares about the political reasons for prosecuting the war, everyone likes firing guns a...more
Will Byrnes
The story here has nothing to do with politics, macro foreign policy or terrorism, per se. Junger looks at the experience of a small band of soldiers at the front lines of the war in Afghanistan, in the eastern reaches, in a valley notorious for its peril to combatants. What matters here are the mechanisms, physical and emotional, that bind the soldiers to one another. What they consider funny, what topics are off limits, how they rely on each other, criticize each other, support each other, how...more
Another reviewer on here said wryly that this book taught her a lot about men. A valid reaction, but it still made me wince. It’s as if I were to say I’d learned a lot about women from, like, The Devil Wears Prada or something. You want to jump up and shout, “But we’re not all like that. Or if we are, we’re not like that all the time.”

In a way, though, War isn’t a bad advertisement for what used to be called the masculine virtues. The men profiled here are incredibly brave, thrillingly competent...more
warren Cassell
Aug 20, 2010 warren Cassell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Any book club--a great eye-opening book for discussion.
Recommended to warren by: NYTBR
This is a phenomenal book and should be required reading for all the knee jerk liberals like me who have had nothing but disdain for the military. What impressed Junger the most during his several months series of embedments with the US army in Afghanistan was the closeness of the men in his units. These soldiers didn't talk about bringing democracy to Afghanistan or any other political or social raison d'etre for their being in what could be described as a Hell on earth. Their only goal was to...more
I am constantly asking myself why I am so fascinated with the detailed accounts of combat. I don't have an answer. Since I was a boy I devoured memoirs of the Vietnam experience and todays accounts of Iraq and Afghanistan draw my interest in the same manner. Having never experienced combat I still wonder how it looks, smells, sounds.... books can communicate all that, but not how it really feels. Some come close, and Jungers book comes as close as I think is possible. So close that I didn't come...more
War is a lot of things, and it’s useless to pretend that exciting isn’t one of them. It’s insanely exciting.

So says Sebastian Junger who decided to shadow an American infantry platoon in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. The 2nd Platoon, Battle Company of the storied 173rd Airborne Brigade, to be exact.

And what a way to view the conflict in Afghanistan.

The reality of combat- the heat, the cold, the fleas, the TARANTULAS, the violence, the primitive conditions, and even the boredom, all make...more
Kyle, E
This books was ok. I found it to be an enjoyable read but the jumpy narrative was a bit off putting. I kept catching myself skimming paragraphs and some things that should have been explained or pointed out were left for the reader to figure out (like a dushka) whereas, things like mortars, which are pretty simple to understand and many people know what they are, were explained in more detail.

I didn't find many of his theories very insightful as he used mostly psychological studies conducted by...more
Having spent a lot of time interviewing veterans this book really opened my eyes to the connection, dynamics, consequences, and emotional pull and push that war and combat is to a veteran. Junger describes things so well and in a way that only a person who has been through combat can relate but as the reader you almost feel as though you get it, but then again you really can't unless you've been through it. Many a veteran has tried to explain it to me but has been at a loss for words. Junger put...more
One of the most powerful books I've read. The author does a superb job of capturing the atmosphere of an infantry platoon and the relationships of its members with each other as individuals and with the platoon as a whole throughout a brutal combat deployment lasting 15 months. To do so, he spent a great deal of that 15 months living with them, including accompanying them on combat missions in which he was nearly killed several times. This story was the basis for the award-winning National Geogr...more
Lewis Manalo
More review here (the comments get funny):

Do not read this book. You will be the better person for it.

Junger's superficial portrait of soldiers buys into all the detrimental stereotypes that makes their lives in the civilian world harder. Through irresponsible reporting he depicts these young men as ignorant hooligans while he simultaneously glorifies the danger of combat (that Junger incidentally sat through). (At one point he skirts around the edges of c...more
Compelling and provocative account of the war in Afghanistan. Although Junger is there as a journalist, his life is also in danger. He captures the day-to-day life in a war zone and especially the camaraderie among soldiers in the unit he follows. Harrowing and disturbing as it chronicles the effects of war beyond physical wounds. Junger narrates the audio, and while I generally dislike authors reading their own work (because they can't do it well), I think Junger does a good job with this, perh...more
Best known for The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger wrote about the Boston Strangler in A Death in Belmont and being a reporter in such hot spots as Sierra Leone and the former Yugoslavia in Fire. In WAR, Junger travels through Afghanistan with young U.S. troops as an embedded journalist. WAR provides a violent, unflinching account of the war in Afghanistan down to the bloody details of death and the minutiae of war. Afghanistan is such a poor, vast, isolated country with plenty of places for the...more
I have to say, if not for this being a book club selection, I would not consider this on my own. It isn't a subject I wished to know in great detail. I know how intense my emotions can get when it comes to these sort of subjects. And this book was definitely no exception. I cried, I had a couple bad dreams, and I always felt really down, raw and negative after reading an installment of this book.

I think Junger paints a clear picture of the reality surrounding the US military's time in the Koran...more
This incredible piece of journalism, written by Sebastian Junger, should be read by each and every citizen. Mr. Junger spent 15 months with a platoon whose base was in a remote area of eastern Afghanistan, known as the Korengal Valley. The base was known as the Korengal Outpost (KOP). Mr. Junger's investigative piece was written for Vanity Fair magazine.

I did not want to inject my personal or political opinions into this review; however, I've come to the conclusion that my personal and politica...more
At times, War was so exciting, or funny, or poignant that I had to tell myself to stop enjoying it so much because it wasn't fiction. I guess in a lot of ways, that's the lesson to be learned here: that war is really, really wrong, but it sure is a rush.

Sebastian Junger is a very skilled writer. War is a bit of a hodge-podge of a book. There's some on-the-scene narrative, there's some after-the-fact reporting, and there's even some social science. Normally that would be a big mess. Maybe it is a...more
Dana Stabenow
I hope this is as close as I ever get to being shot at. This book is that real, that immediate. Junger follows the 173rd Airborne’s Battle Company into the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. Next to the definition of Hell on Earth in the dictionary? That’s the Korengal Valley. The weather (“Summer grinds on: A hundred degrees every day and tarantulas invading the living quarters to get out of the heat.”) and the terrain (“The last stretch is an absurdly steep climb through the village of Babiyal th...more
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Sebastian Junger's writing is vivid and engaging. He can easily go back and forth between anecdotes about the men in the Korengal Valley and broader examinations of the psychological and physiological aspects of war. His descriptions are honest: sometimes disturbing, sometimes humorous, and sometimes surreal.

War isn't about politics; it isn't about the global repercussions or even the repercussions in the country of...more
Larry Bassett
This is definitely a blood and guts story -- supposedly all true. It emphasizes the bonds between warriors and other consequences of the war trade. I would call it full of macho.

"War is a lot of things and it is useless to pretend that exciting isn't one of them. It's insanely exciting. ... but the public will never hear about it."

What is Junger's political position on the war? "Afghanistan, on the other hand, was being fought by volunteers who more or less respected their commanders and had th...more
After thoroughly enjoying the mystery and despair of The Perfect Storm some years ago (good movie, too), I had to check out WAR despite my distaste for stories regarding the very subject. I had to see how Junger presented his findings in Afghanistan.

On your television and radio, soldiers who've returned home are often interviewed about what they see and do "over there," and you know how they never really offer detailed answers? Well, you'll find plenty of them in this book. You'll feel anguish f...more
Andi Marquette
"War is a lot of things and it's useless to pretend that exciting isn't one of them. It's insanely exciting. The machinery of war and the sound it makes and the urgency of its use and the consequences of almost everything about it are the most exciting things anyone engaged in war will ever know. ...It's just not something that many people want acknowledged. War is supposed to feel bad because undeniably bad things happen in it, but for a nineteen-year-old at the working end of a .50 cal during...more
The past year, I have read half a dozen books that have woven me through the Iraq war starting in 2003 (Nathaniel Fick's "One Bullet Away"; Evan Wright's "Generation Kill"), moving forward through 2004 and 2005 (Peter Mansoor's "Baghdad at Sunrise"; Donovan Campbell's "Jocker One") and ending with David Finkel's "The Good Soldiers" (the surge in 2007). Robert Baer's "The Devil We Know" provided a glimpse of Iran. Sebastian Junger's "War" has carried me into Afghanistan starting in 2007 and endin...more
Solid war lit, that is elevated by Junger's utter sincerity. I actually saw some reviews, I believe at Amazon, by people who thought Junger's ego got too iinvolved with this project. I have no idea what they're talking about, since this seems to be a pretty egoless effort. About at the halfway point, Junger starts asking questions, and throwing a grab bag of anthropological and/or sociological facts at you as to why humans band to together to fight and kill other human beings. There's nothing al...more
Junger spent the bulk of 15 months in 2007 and 2008 with Second Platoon of Bravo Company as they defended US Army outposts in Afghanistan’s remote Korengal Valley (the US pulled out of Korengal in 2010), the scene of America’s heaviest fighting in Afghanistan – he has all sorts of statistics about how the Korengal is the most violent, riskiest, scariest place in all of Afghanistan, and its soldiers the most battle-hardened. His book is really a sort of essay on the experience of war. He gives in...more
Al Swanson
Added to my long list of war books - and no, not many are on here. A really unusual war book for me. Most of the ones I've read have been by front line soldiers. Junger is a journalist. This obviously makes his point of view - even during a firefight - different.
Junger shares three things in the book: the war story (about a group of small outposts in a valley in Afghanistan), research and his own ideas about why men fight (and return to fight) and research and his own ideas about how men react...more
David Kubicek
This book is not what you may think it is, namely the "war is hell" theme or "we're fighting for our country" mantra. "War" is not a political book. The reasons for the war and whether it is right or wrong, the author says, is left for politicians to haggle over.

Between June 2007 and June 2008, journalist Sebastian Junger made five trips to the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan. He was "embedded" with American troops, meaning that he was "entirely dependent on the U.S. military for food, s...more
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

Sebastian Junger and a cameraman spent a year, off and on, embedded with a single Army platoon at a series of mountain outposts in the Korengal Valley near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, an area where American troops are under almost constant attack from the Taliban. I knew Junger's work from earlier books (The Perfect Story, A Death in Belmont, and Fire) so I knew approximately what I was going to get: a near total immersion in manliness, stripped to its most elementa...more
Some would say this is a boy's book . . . probably true for some people. I, however, found it to be an absolutely fascinating read - a new comprehension, perspective on the war in Afghanistan.

The comments made by various ranking young men, I found interesting, such as:

Captain Dan Kearney, the commander of Battle Company: "I was blown away by the insurgents' ability to continue fighting despite everything America had to throw at them . . . From that point on I knew it was - number one - a differ...more
William Breakstone


“WAR,” by Sebastian Junger

Reviewed by Bill Breakstone, September 20, 2010

Sebastian Junger is a journalist who writes for Vanity Fair and is the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Storm and A Death in Belmont. His current book, War, was published in July of 2010, and a film, Restrepo, which was shot while Junger and his associate, photojournalist Tim Hetherington, as a companion piece to the book, was awarded the Grand Jury Prize Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Fest...more
Sebastian Junger was the author of "The Perfect Storm" which is the true story of a fishing vessel being lost at sea in a gigantic storm. It was later adapted in a movie. This time Junger makes five trips to Afghanistan to live and go on missions with the Battle Company over a period of 18 months (the length of their tour of duty). Battle Company was stationed at the hottest spot in Afghanistan. 50% of all casualties experience during that time was in this location. It is an amazing book. Probab...more
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The Moth Story Hour (July 2013) 1 7 Aug 10, 2013 10:28PM  
Wake up call! 11 65 Apr 18, 2012 04:48PM  
What happens after "War" by Junger? 4 65 Aug 23, 2011 04:50PM  
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  • The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor
  • The Forever War.
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Sebastian Junger is an American author and journalist. He graduated from Concord Academy in 1980 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in cultural anthropology in 1984. He received a National Magazine Award in 2000 for "The Forensics of War," published in Vanity Fair in 1999. In 1997, with the publication of his work, The Perfect Storm, he was touted as the new Hemingway,...more
More about Sebastian Junger...
The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea A Death in Belmont Fire A World Made of Blood Storm: Stories of Survival from Land, Sea and Sky

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“The Army might screw you and your girlfriend might dump you and the enemy might kill you, but the shared commitment to safeguard one another’s lives is unnegotiable and only deepens with time. The willingness to die for another person is a form of love that even religions fail to inspire, and the experience of it changes a person profoundly.” 26 likes
“Each Javelin round costs $80,000, and the idea that it's fired by a guy who doesn't make that in a year at a guy who doesn't make that in a lifetime is somehow so outrageous it almost makes the war seem winnable.” 18 likes
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