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The Things They Cannot Say: Stories Soldiers Won't Tell You about What They've Seen, Done or Failed to Do in Warby Kevin Sites
Synopses & Reviews
What is it like to kill? What is it like to be under fire? How do you know what's right? What can you never forget?
In The Things They Cannot Say, award-winning journalist and author Kevin Sites asks these difficult questions of eleven soldiers and marines, who—by sharing the truth about their wars—display a rare courage that transcends battlefield heroics.
For each of these men, many of whom Sites first met while in Afghanistan and Iraq, the truth means something different. One struggles to recover from a head injury he believes has stolen his ability to love; another attempts to make amends for the killing of an innocent man; yet another finds respect for the enemy fighter who tried to kill him. Sites also shares the unsettling narrative of his own failures during war—including his complicity in a murder—and the redemptive powers of storytelling that saved him from a self-destructive downward spiral.
"In this riveting and emotionally raw debut, award-winning journalist Sites profiles 11 soldiers (including members of non-American militaries) to explore what it feels like to kill, 'be shot, bombed or burned in combat,' and how one goes on living after the fighting dies down. Sites opens candidly with his own experience, describing how a moment of journalistic indifference in 2004 resulted in the murder of a captured Iraqi insurgent, a tragedy the author dwells on intermittently throughout the book. Drawing from interviews and military records, Sites goes on to tell the stories of veterans of the wars in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, and, in the case of his own father, WWII. Whether stationed in sultry jungles, urban streets, or rugged mountains, soldiers are asked to endure intense physical and mental traumas, and while common threads weave throughout these stories, each is unique: one describes the horror of witnessing the crucifixion of a deceased North Vietnamese Army officer; another tells of the guilt that accompanies friendly fire. But these gripping stories do not equal 'an indictment against hope'; they are evidence of a profound desire to heal. Photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Kevin Sites has spent the past seven years covering global war and disasters for several national networks, including NBC, ABC, and CNN, and has helped pioneer solo journalism, traveling to and reporting from some of the world's most dangerous places. He is a recipient of the 2006 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism. When not on assignment, he makes his home in southern California.
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