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This Man's Army: A Soldier's Story from the Frontlines of the War on Terrorismby Andrew Exum and Soldier X
Synopses & Reviews
This Man's Army follows one extraordinary young man's transformation from Ivy League student to twenty-first-century warrior. Soldier X vividly brings to life his journey through ROTC training, the grueling trials of the elite Ranger School, and into the treacherous terrain of the Shah-e-Kot Valley in Afghanistan. There he leads his men to root out the hardcore remnants of Osama bin Laden's forces, and must confront and kill an Al Qaeda fighter. On his return to the United States, Soldier X must face how media coverage has distorted public perception of the war back home as he seeks to make peace with the man he had become.
In the tradition of Tim O'Brien's If I Die in a Combat Zone, This Man's Army is a gripping story of a young man's introduction to the horrors of war, reported with brutal honesty and compelling insight. By turns harrowing and inspiring, it is the first account of combat from a new generation that is rising to confront the grave threat that faces our civilization and our way of life.
"The American war in Afghanistan has been overshadowed by the war in Iraq. But since October 2001, American soldiers have been fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan under often brutal guerrilla war conditions. The author of this war memoir, an active-day army officer, has had his identity embargoed until the book's publication. The book is a fast-paced, first-person look at the war through the educated eyes of a 25-year-old Ivy League-schooled Army Ranger who fought with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan in 2002 (and also in Iraq). The narrative, which confines its battle sequences to Afghanistan and contains a fair amount of reconstructed dialogue, follows the standard war memoir formula. It opens in the battlefield, then flashes back to a chronological rendering of the author's life, including the required depiction of the rigors of military training, complete with bellowing, sadistic drill instructors. Then comes the author's overseas deployment, beginning with a hurry-up-and-wait stint doing 'long and boring' convoy escort work in Kuwait. X doesn't arrive in Afghanistan until nearly the exact half-way point of this not-long book. The narrative ends with his homecoming, his readjustment difficulties and his thoughts on the institution of war and the burdens of those who fight in wars. Along the way X provides an often perceptive, informed look at what it's like to be in today's military, as well as the experience of combat in southwest Asia. X also puts his education (a double major, English and Classics, he informs us) to good use, sprinkling references to Shakespeare, Graham Greene, Walker Percy, Don DeLillo, Joseph Heller and Reinhold Niebuhr, among others, throughout the narrative. (May 24)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A consistently engaging kill-and-tell tale of life in olive drab....Top-notch. Deserving of a place alongside Michael Herr's Dispatches, Anthony Swofford's Jarhead, and other classic or soon-to-be-so tales of modern war." Kirkus Reviews
"His trooper's-eye view of the Afghan war is not the story of the biggest battle or the greatest victory, but it nevertheless is a lively account of the fight to wrest high plains territory from the Taliban." John Prados, The Washington Post Book World
"Soldier X will be leaving the army with a disabling injury — one hopes for a literary career as distinguished as any military one that circumstance has denied him." Roland Green, Booklist
About the Author
Born and raised in Tennessee, twenty-five-year-old Soldier X graduated from an Ivy League university in 2000 and holds the rank of captain. A veteran of Operation Anaconda, he currently serves with the U.S. Army Rangers.
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