Pang's Reviews > War

War by Sebastian Junger
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Jan 24, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: book-club, nonfiction
Read from January 24 to February 11, 2012

This book was a slow-going at first, since I could only read about 10 pages or so at a time. Plus Junger's writing style was driving me insane. But then I sat down with the intention to finish the second half of the book. I was just hooked to the story. I could feel the adrenaline rush as Junger retold the story.

The story focused just on one platoon over a course of one year in Afghanistan. It told a story of how men cope in the face of war. How each one of the men had to adapt and go into this primal survival mode. They learned to suppress fear and control their heartbeat. They did whatever necessary to keep them going on their mission. The most important thing was the bond they formed with the other men in the unit. The brotherhood - unbreakable bond. This is the bond that would send the men back to the frontline over and over again so that they could make sure nothing happen to their "brothers." They knew that they were fighting in the name of their country, but that wasn't what on their mind. They were fighting for each other and to keep each other alive. Most men who had seen and experience such intense combat couldn't deal with coming back home. Not that they were addicted to the adrenaline, but they were addicted to the relationship that they had formed. I thought that Junger did such an excellent job of retelling the story and getting into the psyche of the soldiers.
Combat fog obscures your fate--obscures when and where you might die--and from that unknown is born a desperate bond between the men. That bond is the core experience of combat and the only thing you can absolutely count on. 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.
(p. 239)
The cause doesn't have to be righteous and battle doesn't have to be winnable; but over and over again throughout history, men have chosen to die in battle with their friends rather than to flee on their own and survive.
(p. 242)
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