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My War Gone By, I Miss It So

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,576 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Nothing can prepare you for Anthony Loyd's portrait of war. It is the story of the unspeakable terror and the visceral, ecstatic thrill of combat, and the lives and dreams laid to waste by the bloodiest conflict that Europe has witnessed since the Second World War. Born into a distinguished military family, Loyd was raised on the stories of his ancestors' exploits and grew ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (NY) (first published January 1st 1999)
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4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,576 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
”War and smack: I always hope for some kind of epiphany in each to lead me out but it never happens. You think you have hit the bottom many times then always find something else to lose, till after a while what once seemed like the bottom is an altitude that you are trying to scramble back to. Even in my deepest moments of fear, retreating or withdrawing it’s all the same, when I see those flashes of hope and swear never again, promise I’ll keep away the front or stay clean tonight, I know they ...more
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inglese, guerra, memoir


Esistono tanti libri sulla guerra, su tante guerre.
Tanti su quella in Bosnia, un po’ meno, ma sempre numerosi, su quelle in Cecenia.
Tuttavia, questo libro di Anthony Loyd è diverso dagli altri, esce in qualche modo dal coro: è diverso perché è particolare il suo punto di vista e approccio, da ex soldato diventato giornalista, così ‘dentro’ da essere parte di quello che testimonia e racconta.

Una donna all’interno della Biblioteca Nazionale di Sarajevo dopo
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Born of a prestigious English military family, Loyd was enamored of war until he enlisted in the Bosnia conflict. Fresh with a degree in photojournalism and no prospect of a job, Loyd decided to go to Bosnia, where the war had been going on for about a year in 1993. Freshly arrived in Sarajevo, he was almost immediately introduced to the irrationality of the situation. Looking for a guide to help him find the house a contact in London had provided, he soon found one who was more than happy to he ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my GIFTS AND GUILTY list.

Regardless of how many books are already queued patiently on my reading list, unexpected gifts and guilt-trips will always see unplanned additions muscling their way in at the front.

I’m a sucker for confessions. Have you ever heard of
Erik Graff
Dec 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Bosnia & war reporting fans
Recommended to Erik by: Becky
Shelves: biography
Usually I expect to be choked up while reading war memoirs. That didn't happen often with Anthony Loyd's My War Gone By, the most gruesome account I have ever read of warfare, despite my prejudice, shared with the author, for the Bosnian side of the conflicts between the former republics of Yugoslavia.

A large part of this book is about Loyd's experience as a young, novice photojournalist in Yugoslavia. A small part of it is about his experiences in Chechnya, a portion that could have been left o
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Author Anthony Loyd takes some courses in journalism in London, finds a person to teach him Serbo-Croat and goes off to chronicle the war in Bosnia from start to finish with a side trip to witness the first Russian attack on Grozny, Chechnya. His relentless pursuit of combat is broken with occasional breaks back in his native London.

Why would someone voluntarily place himself in a situation that is known to put life and sanity at great risk? As Loyd relates,

I wanted to throw myself into a war,
"I wanted to throw myself into a war, hoping for either a metamorphosis or an exit. I wanted to reach a human extreme in order to cleanse myself of my sense of fear, and saw war as the ultimate experience.
Hindsight gives you a strange wisdom. In some ways we all get what we want. I have so few regrets, even now."

If an asshole acknowledges that he's an asshole, does that make him less of an asshole? (No, the self-aware asshole is the worst asshole of all)

The book begins by showing you what an as
Robert Gustavo
Over the years, I've read a lot of books about the Bosnian genocide, presumably because there is something wrong with me -- something creepy and voyeuristic and utterly fascinated by how completely and utterly evil mankind can be. This is one of the Bosnian war porn books that is going to stick with me for a long, long time. It's relentlessly depressing, enraging and funny all at once.

You won't get a good sense of the politics that fueled the wars, hatreds and genocides from this book. It's the
No star rating

Anthony Loyd has written a book which is somewhat of a paradox for me. There are two stories running in parallel here, but they are inseparable. We are shown war with great detail and clarity in Bosnia and Chechnya. The descriptions are often horrific, probably as realistic as anything in print. From this point of view, writing is good.

Intertwined with war, there is an autobiography of Loyd. This too is often horrific as he portrays his life growing up and as a heroin addict. The
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My War Gone By, I Miss It So, is one of the great titles I've come across (on the short list with Nick Flynn's Another Bullshit Night in Suck City). It is also one of the best and most gruesome travelogues I've read. Most people would classify it as war journalism, as the book covers the conflicts in Bosnia and Chechnya during the 90s. But war books are full of reportage, and though they ask why, it is usually a practical why: why did this conflict begin, what happened, and what does it mean? Lo ...more
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Arm chair Historians, would be journalists, addiction info.
For me, it was one of the better written memoirs I've read in a long time, up there with "Sorrow of War" and dare I say it, "All quiet on the Western Front". It has been out of print I believe.
For the "gun and gear guys it is a let down, but for telling the effects of combat and man's inhumanity to man, it is startling.
To be fair to Anthony, the book is divided into sections; his troubled relationship to his parents: his addiction: set against the backdrop of a correspondent who is strugglin
Patrick Belair
Well I found this book on one of my thrift store hunts,Being that I've not read much about the war after Yugoslavia broke up I was interested.I don't think that I was prepared for the raw visual observations of the author,The brutality of the war all sides concerned was very honestly detailed.The human suffering cannot be imagined.The physical toll on the parties involved is beyond measure let alone the mental toll, even on the journalist's.
I believe that this region in the world is just another
Adam Volk
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorite books. On the one hand it's a masterpiece of war reporting as we follow Anthony Loyd (now, Sir Anthony Loyd) on his journey through the war torn Balkans during the bloody civil war of the 90s. On the other hand, it's an incredibly beautifully written story and Loyd's poetic narrative captures the tragedy and senseless of war unlike any other author I've ever read.... An absolute must read about one man's addiction to both heroine and war.
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I will say this about Anthony Loyd: he's read his Michael Herr.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hist-euro, memoir
2.5 probably. I'm still mulling it over.

When starting this book, the big reminder to keep in mind is Loyd has an addictive personality. Raised in an affluent family, he had the means to take on whatever new addiction crossed his path. He discusses his drug addictions that started when he was in school and obsession with the military thanks in part to a family who boasted and romanticized a long history of war participation. Naturally, he joined the army and was in the Persian Gulf and Northern I
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
If you want to know what the politicians did during the war, read a history, like Yugoslavia:Death of a Nation. Books like that certainly have their importance. But war is always, in these modern times, a two way street: what the politicians are doing, and what the average people are doing. This memoir is about those normal people. Sure, Loyd encounters generals and thugs in power, but only those that actually carry arms, that are there in the thick of it. Not those hanging out in Belgrade or Za ...more
Oct 27, 2008 rated it liked it
I picked this book up to learn more about the Bosnian / Serbian / Croatian conflicts of the early 1990s. There is a lot of detail here, but it's very much a ground view and doesn't go much into the overarching political concerns behind the war. Perhaps that's the point - the picture painted here is of pure chaos, with little rhyme or reason beyond the clashes of various local power groups.
This book is essentially a memoir, so what we get is the author's experience during the war years, which co
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book adds something missing from most war reporting books: a sense of the author’s place. There is no doubt that witnessing war and speaking to people directly involved affects a writer, but most writers attempt to cover this up by maintaining an authoritative and impartial voice. For all their best efforts, opinion often bleeds through. Loyd takes a completely different, refreshing approach by chronicling his motivations for going to Bosnia, his feelings on the proceedings, and detailing t ...more
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Anthony Loyd goes to the war in the former Yugoslavia as an observer - well, let's be honest, a tourist - and then gradually succumbs to the fascination, tinged with shame, of observing something surreal, dangerous, and yet so central to Europe. The complex and cruel war in between Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Muslims and other overlapping and changing factions was a gruesome continuation of centuries of internecine fighting that was only temporarily halted by the Tito regime - close to a quarter mi ...more
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: humanitarian aid workers. journalists, soldiers and other war junkies.
having just finished "War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning", I felt compelled to re-read this book to see if it freaks me out as much as it did when I first read it - before I started traveling to war torn countries. I've now been to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Darfur, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Northern Uganda. Will it still upset me like it did? Or have I become cynical?

Update: Still shocking yet I understand it more. Thank Go
Margaret King
May 28, 2012 added it
Recommended to Margaret by: jacob
This firsthand account of the Bosnian war took me 6 months to read, and was definitely one of the most morally challenging books I've ever read. It was hard for me to sympathize with a man who waded into a conflict that was not his own, and who found the chaos and anarchy that surrounds war so beautiful and natural. A self-professed heroin-addicted atheist "son of privilege" is not the typical perspective I would choose to humor, but Lloyd's memoir is so well-written and honest that I stuck thro ...more
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Amazing - nothing that I could write could do justice to what this book did to me when I read it.

Have you ever had a book hit you like a hammer blow to your head and your gut at the same time? That's what Loyd's writing did to me. Ricocheting between wartime and peace, jarring you out of your stupor with no preparation when he describes the horrors of war to begin a chapter, dragging you down with him as he sinks into his addiction to heroin - all this and more made for a haunting, unbelievable
Sep 25, 2007 rated it liked it
This is a relatively interesting and disturbing account of one man's experience reporting on the Bosnian war. I'm sure there are much better and more comprehensive accounts of this war out there, so I wouldn't choose this one out of a lineup.
It was worth the read for the bits about the wars in Bosnia and Chechnya, but I honestly didn't care about some Brit's personal psychological problems and heroine addiction.
The part about the author that I did find interesting (even though I don't remember e
Nicky B
Feb 06, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was recommended to me by my friend David, he thinks it's a great perspective on the war in former Yugoslavia and a great read. At first the author Anthony Loyd irked me with his masculine style. It always annoys me when a book is dripping with predictable gender stereotypical perspectives - in this case, a gross glorification of war and the arguably innate attraction humans have for violence. At least that's what I first though. Reading further I realize that his voice damns that desir ...more
May 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Grizzly images seared into brainspace... I hope they dissipate with time. His style leaves a lot to be desired and his thesis of conflict addiction is liturgically rehashed to a numbing point. Leave the memoir, take the jarring history of modern inhumanity left to its own brutal devices while the impotent observers shivered and the pundits traded barbs. The Balkans are endlessly interesting: read Ivo Andric's Bridge on the Rive Drina for an account of the Ottoman years and watch Emir Kusturica's ...more
Frank Kelly
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
A raw, cold, anguished memoir of a war correspondent who covered the killing fields in Bosnia in the 1990's. At times what he saw and heard are almost unspeakable, evil and mindless. How the Croats, Bosnians Muslims, and Serbs became the rabid animals of hell that they did is beyond comprehension. A collective madness Loyd covers with anguish, interspersing his own personal struggles with heroin addiction when on leave in London. This is not reading for the faint of heart but it is a brilliant i ...more
Christopher Sunyata
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
During my "dark night of the soul" this book made me feel alive. Absolute clarity and awareness recorded in the most horrific of human experiences. I absolutely loved this book. It made me cry and gag with revolt but I couldn't turn away. That's what life is like though if your eyes are fully open. There is beauty too but the dark side here is so present and intense it awoke me from the stupor of an ordinary life. I highly recommend this book.
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by one of my former students. I have read a few war memoirs before, but this is one of the most graphic and horrifying accounts I have ever come across. I never understood the war in Bosnia; now I know why. There so many factions: it was like trying to comprehend gang wars in L.A. but even more heartless and gruesome. Someone once said that you can't explain war to someone who has never been in one, and you don't need to explain war to someone who has.
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war, factual
Oh man ... An absolutely harrowing read about war, addiction, loss ... just so brutally honest.

I think it's the first time I can appreciate the need/necessity of wanting to go back into chaos rather than try to live with the demons in a civilian capacity.

An amazing personal account of the effects of war and how we, as civilians, can never appreciate the contradicting emotions of horror and elation experienced by these men.
Are you supposed to like this book? It was grim and the pervasive mood was that of rain, gloom, and the misery of an unfulfilled life.

Interesting assignment would be to read this with Jarhead and to compare and contrast the author's experiences and what they thought/think of war and battle.
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Goodreads Librari...: Merge plz 7 15 Feb 04, 2015 08:52AM  
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  • A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya
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  • Endgame: The Betrayal And Fall Of Srebrenica, Europe's Worst Massacre Since World War II
  • Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia
  • The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (Yale Nota Bene)
  • Sarajevo: A War Journal
  • Madness Visible: A Memoir of War
  • International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity
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  • War Journal: My Five Years In Iraq
  • The Death of Yugoslavia
  • The Fall of Yugoslavia
  • Bosnia: A Short History
  • The Stone Fields: An Epitaph for the Living
  • Invisible Chains: Canada's Underground World of Human Trafficking
  • An Intimate History of Killing: Face-to-Face Killing in Twentieth Century Warfare
  • Fools Rush in: A True Story of Love, War, and Redemption
“Respect for the dead comes second to respect for the living, and I believe no man's demise exempts him from culpability.” 4 likes
“Alive she was strikingly pretty. Dead she was so beautiful you could have raised an army to sack Troy just for possession of her casket” 1 likes
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