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The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya
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Jun 09, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: war, 2012-top-reads, fiction, history
Recommended for: readers of David Finkel, Sebastian Junger, Michael Herr
Read in June, 2012 — I own a copy

The stuff of everyday headlines these days and very possibly the best book I've read on the current wars. On the edge, driven, taut, and by far the best depiction of American soldiers on the front line. In many ways a mixture of Jarhead and War, it takes you straight into the fighting, bleeding, dying. In simple, direct language, with just the kind of 24/7 unexpected situations you face in combat.

So what do you do when you're faced with a civilian who turns up just when you've survived a vicious battle and then refuses to go away? You're far from your supply lines, you're exhausted and downright at the end of your ropes because of the casualties you've taken. You're not clear about your rules of engagement which change all the time. Your captain's erratic, maybe because he's dead-tired, your best officers are dead, your men want to be left alone to mourn or they're completely used up. By the end of the book you're part of the exhausted and isolated company, and you have to choose a side and take a decision. Risk your men and live, or do the right thing and possibly die? What do you do in a country where every civilian is a possible trap? What do you do when your war-fighting training is Vietnam-era and COIN isn't working? That's the situation our soldiers are facing today.

This book will stay with me for a long time. It's right up there with David Finkel's "The Good Soldiers" as a chronicle of war. Hellishly well-written. Highly recommended.
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Steve Campbell Steve Campbell's review Jun 09, 12 · edit

bookshelves: war, 2012-top-reads, fiction, history
Recommended for: readers of David Finkel, Sebastian Junger, Michael Herr
Read in June, 2012 — I own a copy

The stuff of everyday headlines these days and very possibly the best book I've read on the current wars. On the edge, driven, taut, and by far the best depiction of American soldiers on the front line. In many ways a mixture of Jarhead and War, it takes you straight into the fighting, bleeding, dying. In simple, direct language, with just the kind of 24/7 unexpected situations you face in combat.

So what do you do when you're faced with a civilian who turns up just when you've survived a vicious battle and then refuses to go away? You're far from your supply lines, you're exhausted and downright at the end of your ropes because of the casualties you've taken. You're not clear about your rules of engagement which change all the time. Your captain's erratic, maybe because he's dead-tired, your best officers are dead, your men want to be left alone to mourn or they're completely used up. By the end of the book you're part of the exhausted and isolated company, and you have to choose a side and take a decision. Risk your men and live, or do the right thing and possibly die? What do you do in a country where every civilian is a possible trap? What do you do when your war-fighting training is Vietnam-era and COIN isn't working? That's the situation our soldiers are facing today.

This book will stay with me for a long time. It's right up there with David Finkel's "The Good Soldiers" as a chronicle of war. Hellishly well-written. Highly recommended.


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