“In the Trenches” is about wars spanning history and taking place all over the world. Killing without mercy, bodies blown to bits before your eyes; Physical and mental devastation. Peer into the heart, mind, and soul of a soldier during active duty and beyond. War forever changes men and women, and impacts everyone around them. See through their eyes. View the horror of combat. See how it plays out when they come home to family and friends.
This anthology has deep and powerful tales, poetic words that put you right in the moment. I feel very privilege to be in this anthology with so many writers out in the field with camouflaged words that tell their moments "In The Trenches."
John De Herrera's Untitled poem was one of my favorites (see quotes) and that was only the opener for the anthology.
-- "Tis a mote which troubles the mind's eye, for when Rome was high and triumphant before it fell, they say graves opened up and the shrouded dead went shrieking through the streets."
--"We're asked to cast off our melancholy and look upon the rule with kindness, for excuse that everything passes through nature into eternity."
J.J. Steinfeld's Streets Are Not Always for Walking A photograph, a memory of fallen soldiers but it's trapped in the mind. Very powerful piece.
Lemmy Rushmore - This Soldier (everything I have read from this guy rocks)
CS Nelson - SNAP TCP! this is one of those stories that put you right in the moment "THUNDER TROOP UNIT....HOORAH!"
Jodie English - Vietnam Draft Lottery
Neil Davies - The Ten-year Anniversary is another tale in the moment of war. A Zulu witchcraft, a ten year reunion of the death that you did not know of....GREAT STORY TELLING
Evan Guilford-Blake - The Invasion A sad tale told with such a poetic touch
This whole anthology rocks, climb inside your favorite trench and open the first page and feel the impact of this war that Krista Clark Grabowski has put together.
I received this anthology in exchange for an honest review and I was intrigued because there are a lot of ways that you could approach it. You could go all Full Metal Jacket or you could go in the opposite direction and put your best anti-war foot forward. Look at any war and you can pretty much throw out your own opinion on how you feel about war and what it not only does to families, but also the soldiers who are coming home from a war that they may not have believed in or even wanted to fight, We are all affected by war in some way, and we also see that when it comes right down to it war is big business. It can certainly boost or destroy an economy.
I was curious to see just how Verto Publishing approached this. You can offend a lot of people with a book like this so naturally I wanted to see how it played out. I wanted something that would make me think, but what I didn't want was a bunch of stories that played it safe and featured a bunch of stories that shied away from the realities of war. In that regard In The Trenches has really stepped up to the plate and delivered a home run. These are stories that may not be for everyone, but they are about raw emotion and seeing through the eyes of a soldier can sometimes be terrifying, What you have are poems and stories that effectively give you an inside look at what it's like in the trenches. These are often dark and terrifying glimpses but that's what makes this so damn good. In The Trenches doesn't play it safe and if you're looking for an anthology about war this is a must read.
Each story and poem compliment each other so that there's a healthy balance of material to choose from. The editor did one hell of a job putting this together so the material is spread out and each idea doesn't clash into the next. This is an interesting anthology that could have easily turned into just another boring mess of unreadable material, or a handful of stories that just don't work. To tell you about each story would take way too long so all I'll tell you is to read this anthology and then watch a classic war film, or maybe read Dalton Trumbo's anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun so you have a full understanding of the realities of war. You may walk away from this enlightened or you may have a wider view on why war is necessary.
I did not know what to expect, and even hesitated once or twice before beginning to read this. Obviously covering the subject of war, this anthology could very well have fallen on it's face for several reasons. This book turned out to be so much more than I could have imagined. Not only thought provoking and unique, the quality and variety of the selected pieces,(not to mention excellent editing and sequencing)set it apart. Verto publishing has definitely pulled this one off.
I hope I have not overdone it, but my favorites are below:
Streets Are Not Always for Walking – J. J. Steinfeld After seeing a photo of his great grandfather from before the war, everything in his life before and after becomes fuzzy for the main character. Walking endlessly through an empty landscape void of life, he doesn’t know where to or from. Mindless, voiceless and losing some of his senses, he hears laughter and taunts, related to WW II and relevant political figures. His only recollection is of the photo. Things come back only to be taken away again. How long must he walk? I will not give the ending away, but this one read like a bad acid trip. For me, it was a bleak and frightening metaphor for the experience of war that I won’t forget.
Good Dog – Donald Jacob Uitvlugt A touching and fascinating perspective piece relaying the experience of a bloody battle from the POV of a loyal canine.
Hallucinating Yellow Sunshine – Donald Armfield A dream like poem tied to a traumatic and life changing experience. Awesome.
The Man Who Collected Dali – Alexis Liosatos Tragedies of the Nazi regime told through the lens of fine art. The story telling is so strong here, memorable and moving in a way that caught me off guard.
And blast them all – Raymond Walker A small village sends many to war. Most do not return. One that does brings something terrible back with him. This one had a very strong sense of family, community and how we are all connected.
Wife on the Front/PTSD – Eve Gaal As told from a wife’s POV after her husband returns from war. Questioning her dedication and strength, losing touch with herself, remaining positive. Very strong words here.
Portraits From The Shadow – D. Thomas Minton A stunning tribute to those Missing In Action done through the story of a Vietnam photographer forever haunted by the spirits of those who are lost, and one man years later looking for pieces in the story of who his father was. Tearing up a few times, this story affected me the most. The scene with photographer in the empty building gave me chills. The ending was excellent. Wow.
The Invasion – Evan Guilford-Blake One ideology vs. another, both so stubborn, the conflict will never end. Totally relevant.
I received this collection in exchange for an honest review.