Sep 14, 10
Read in September, 2010
This is a very sad book and written in an unusual way. It's not so much a story - with your typical arc and characters - as a series of journal entries. Because of that, there is something a bit more raw and powerful to the writing. It took me a few chapters to get used to but once I did I admired that Finkel didn't try to do too much with this book or the material. He, of course, writes mostly about the bad days, which make for a more interesting read and have more of an impact on soldiers but I can't help but wonder if the worse days color the perception at all.
The way the book is written I think a more apt title might have been the Innocent Soldiers because they don't appear as good as they do green. And how they are colored by a war that at its most basic level is unfair is the real story of this book.
There is a half-hearted attempt to make Kauzlarich the protagonist - a function I imagine of the time spent with him more than anything else - but it works better when you get a broader sense of the unit. What this book does more than anything else is peel back the glory and nobility of war.
A painful but important read.