Michael's Reviews > The Yellow Birds

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
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's review
Sep 12, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: five-star-books, favourites, signed-books
Read from October 02 to 06, 2012

There are not many books i have read that have left me initially speechless after finishing. Such was the sheer brutality and beauty of The Yellow Birds it did just that. the story centre's on Private John Bartle's experiences fighting alongside an even younger private Daniel Murphey or Murph as he was known in Al Tafar Iraq. We follow the two Privates right from Murphs joining, to Bartle's promise to ensure he will be ok to his mom, one that will haunt him later on after his return home, the battles that follow and the return home with Bartle a different man.

The descriptions of the battles in Iraq are devastatinly compelling and narrated by Bartle show the slow grinding down of a young man from one who wanted to proove he was a man to questioning everything on his return and haunted by the fate of his Friend Murph and Sergeant Sterling.

Despite capturing the insanity and sheer mindlessness of war Power's writing turns this into something of beauty and emotion. The books pulls no punches with the reality of the conflict while showing even in the worst of situations love and courage can shine through. I also have a much greater appreciation of the troops of battles both present and of the past and can see why a number are now showing signs of along with pysical injuries of PTSD. The Yellow Birds is an amazing read that had me completing overwhelmed by the complexity of it. Comparisons with the likes of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front or the poetry of Wifred Owen will follow. Like those pieces of literature is strong in it's anti war sentiment with a fair sprinking of cynisism and unease and hopefully will be talked about in years to come in the same regard.
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