From the front lines of the battle against Islamic fundamentalism, a searing, unforgettable book that captures, in stunning vignettes, snapshots, and episodes, the human essence of the greatest conflict of our time.
New York Times correspondent Dexter Filkins's work in Iraq was hailed by David Halberstam as "reporting of the highest quality imaginable." Now, through Filkins's eyes, we witness the chain of events that began with the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, led to the attacks of 9/11, and culminated in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Filkins's "camera" moves across a vast and various landscape of amazing characters and astonishing scenes: deserts, mountains, and streets of carnage; a public amputation performed by Taliban; the days and nights of 9/11 rescue workers. He takes us inside the homes of suicide bombers and into street-to-street combat alongside a battalion of U.S. Marines in Falluja. We meet Iraqi insurgents; an American captain who loses a quarter of his men in eight days; Ahmed Chalabi, who helped lead America into war; and Ahmed Shah Masoud, the anti-Taliban rebel killed by Al Qaeda.
Like no other book, The Forever War allows us a visceral understanding of the war on terror and of the experiences of the people involved, combatants and victims alike. It is a stunning debut: a brilliant, fearless book about one war and, ultimately, about all war.
- New York Times Notable Books of the Year
Filkins, a New York Times prize-winning reporter, is widely regarded as among the finest war correspondents of this generation. His richly textured book is based on his work in Afghanistan and Iraq since 1998. It begins with a Taliban-staged execution in Kabul. It ends with Filkins musing on the names in a WWI British cemetery in Baghdad. In between, the work is a vivid kaleidoscope of vig-nettes. Individually, the strength of each story is its immediacy; together they portray a theater of the absurd, in which Filkins, an extraordinarily brave man, moves as both participant and observer. Filkins does not editorialize--a welcome change from the punditry that shapes most writing from these war zones. This book also differs essentially from traditional war correspondence because of its universal empathy, feelings enhanced by Filkins's spare prose. Saudi women in Kabul airport, clad in burqas and stylish shoes, bemoan their husbands' devotion to jihad. An Iraqi casually says to his friend, Let's go kill some Americans. A marine is shot dead escorting Filkins on a photo opportunity. Iraqi soldiers are disconcerted when he appears in running shorts (They looked at [my legs] in horror, as if I were naked). Carl von Clausewitz said war is a chameleon. In vividly illustrating the varied ways people in Afghanistan and iraq have been affected by ongoing war, Filkins demonstrates that truth in prose. 5 photos. (Sept. 17)
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Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . ....to long in the war zone
Posted June 30, 2012 by QC , DadevilleMr. Filkins jumps from story to story/year to year in this book. Three stories that caught my attention:
1. I read carefully as he describes the need for keeping his "informers" safe while an American reporter had been kidnapped during his time in Iraq. I don't get it?
2. Nor the lost of one our brave soldiers for the sake of getting pictures.
3 And finally, not all contractors are "fat" and we do serve with pride trying to make a difference (most are prior military) and the good pay is a something we did not get while on active duty.
Mr Filkins did provide a diary on his running though....nuff said.
September 15, 2008
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