Jun 05, 09
Read in February, 2009
This is a great book.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., said that "it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived." By that standard, Dexter Filkins has earned a very high grade.
In the epilogue, Filkins says he was "flattened" by his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a good description. The tone of the book is almost laconic in spite of the vividly brutal events it often records. It is not, however, so matter-of-fact that it hides the affection and admiration Filkins feels for the people with whom he shared many extreme dangers, particularly the Marines in Fallujah. I very much appreciated that.
I also appreciate that Filkins limited his writing to his street-level perceptions and leaves the moral judgments to the reader. It is a style which makes the moral impact of the book all the more compelling, and one I wish I found more frequently in more experienced and less confident authors.