The Good Soldiers


His picture was all over the national news; it was eerie. To think of it now, it seems so long ago. So was a seventeen-year-old ready? Some had hurriedly married girlfriends a few days before deployment, while other tenured family men said goodbye to wives and children and headed back to second or third tours. Sent to eastern Iraq where Shia militants were running rampant, they had their work cut out for them from the get go. As Finkel ran through each month of the fifteen month deployment, my heart would race like crazy.

Each patrol run, explosion, death, injury, and house search had me biting my nails and nearly pulling my hair out. Who would be the next casualty? Who would be injured by an IED? Would the mortar attacks on the base ever stop? I really felt like I was there with these men. Clearly the war we hear about on the news is a whole other war for those actually fighting it.

The movement from point A to point B? The odyssey from there to here? The blur was the linear becoming the circular. I was heaving, it was such an emotional passage. What he witnesses is the reality of life after the war. The final words of the book were so perfect, and a natural introduction to the sequel: View all 18 comments.

May 10, Sara rated it it was amazing. As much as I liked this book, I hated it, too. You see, my husband was in the same brigade as We haven't talked much about what he saw during his two deployments. He isn't an infantryman, never has had to patrol, etc. However, he had to go outside the wire, as any and all soldiers are wont to do. Until this book, I could never imagine what that entailed. My heart breaks for the soldiers of The ones who were killed and As much as I liked this book, I hated it, too.

The ones who were killed and their families, the ones who were injured and their families, the ones who came home and their families.

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My heart breaks for every soldier who knows the horrors of war and for the families that must deal with the aftermath of it. I would like to thank Mr. Finkel for including pictures of the fallen soldiers of I was on the receiving end of many emails with their names; now I have faces to go with those names. Before my husband deployed, I was given a disk with the photos of all his soldiers. I put it away the very day I got it, praying none of those pictures would ever need to be pulled of a disk. I think every American, hawk or dove, should read this book. If we are going to be a country willing to go to war, we need to be educated about what war costs.

God Bless the Rangers of , past, present and future. God bless the United States Army. And God bless America. Oct 25, Will Byrnes rated it really liked it Shelves: Up close and personal, The Good Soldiers is a brutal, bloody, real portrait of contemporary war, complete with excrement-filled trenches, good intentions, too many severed human parts, and some questionable leadership. It is as disturbing as it is informative.

What did the surge in Iraq look like from the inside? How do you get the locals to trust you? How do you patrol an area when your vehicles are constantly being blown up by IEDs and other deadly devices? How do you sustain an optimistic out Up close and personal, The Good Soldiers is a brutal, bloody, real portrait of contemporary war, complete with excrement-filled trenches, good intentions, too many severed human parts, and some questionable leadership. How do you sustain an optimistic outlook when there is so much cause for despair?

The Good Soldiers

He looks primarily at the experience of the soldiers. We get a sense of what it must be like to be deployed in this war zone. Finkel leaves the battlefield long enough to show us the soldiers at home on leave, and what their families at home experience during their absence.

He also takes us to a Texas hospital where the worst injured are tended. That may be the most horrific part of the book. One small quibble is that I wished the book had a glossary. I did become a bit lost with all the acronyms. Both references are apt. The Good Soldiers is top-notch reportage by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist about the reality on the ground and the human cost of the Iraq War.

View all 7 comments. It's incredible that most if the soldiers in this story are aged between 19 and 22 years of age! It's incredible that so many died in such a horrible way! It's incredible that so may were horrendously injured and are on this day still young men and trying to deal with loss of limbs and brain injuries! It's incredible that so many avoided physical injury and are still young men trying to deal with post traumatic stress disorder!

It's incredible the ones who m My goodness It's incredible the ones who maybe don't seem physically or mentally damaged have to try to build their normal lives again! At the end of this book there are photos of each soldier who died. They all look about the same age as my son's. There are so many heartbreaking parts in this book. This is the most real and immediate depiction of modern war I have ever read. My review doesn't do it justice at all but I had to write something. View all 10 comments. Oct 04, Kathleen rated it liked it Shelves: Dear Goodreads Web Designer: Your star rating system needs a new button.

Perhaps completely off the scale, a little red x labeled "fucking painful, read it anyway. Sincerely, Kate I didn't like this book. I don't think anyone could like such a bloody first hand look at an army regiment in Baghdad during the Surge.

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This is a very painful account, which makes me credit and also dislike it. Because any non-sociopath reading about the gazebo at the Brooke Army Medical Center where the mothers of injured soldiers gather when they can't sleep at four in the morning after a day spent listening to an injured son's screams at his own amputation will know this needs to stop. It really, really does. The trouble is, declaring victory and bringing everybody home right this second which is what Finkel clearly advocates, is not a strategically intelligent choice.

Iraq sucks, but we broke it so maybe we do have an obligation to fix it. It's a hard story, no happy ending, and the only slightly good one involves soldiers coming home alive without Muqtada al-Sadr having enough power to become the next Muammar al-Gaddafi. Jan 19, Sarah rated it it was amazing Shelves: Some of you may remember the book Blood Makes the Grass Grow Green where I started a blog comment war with a friend of the author.

I just couldn't stand the attitude of the writer and didn't believe that it was a true memoir. I just didn't think that the war in Afghanistan was really what he said. So I wasn't looking forward to reading this novel by a Pulitzer Prize winning author, because I figured it would be another liberal take on why war is bad. But, oh, I was wrong. This is one of the fines Some of you may remember the book Blood Makes the Grass Grow Green where I started a blog comment war with a friend of the author.

The Good Soldiers () is a non-fiction book about the troop surge in Iraq written by David Finkel, chronicling the deployment of 2nd Battalion, 16th. The Good Soldiers MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged. Those are the questions that the Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel grapples with in his remarkable report from the front lines. And in telling the story of these good soldiers, the heroes.

This is one of the finest pieces of war journalism I have ever read. Finkel was with the unit from the start of their fifteen-month tour in Kansas to their homecoming. The chapters were headed with quotes from President Bush, as the battalion helped enforce "The Surge" in Iraq. The is constantly attacked on patrols and always on the lookout for explosives. The photographs throughout the book bring the reader closer to the soldiers. Ogle took the book to read and I can't wait to hear his prospective since he served a tour in Iraq a few years ago.

Oct 26, Lori rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: A sad book, but very powerful. An astounding piece of journalism that reads like the finest fiction. Everybody, but especially those people who make decisions about the war - any war - should read it. I would also like to recommend it to all the students who were in my interactive design class, or were taking classes in my program between the spring of and the spring of It's my extensive review of the book, but I feel this isn't the right place for it.

View all 4 comments. Nov 10, Scott Belsky rated it it was amazing. He pulled a piece of copper shrapnel out from the webbing of his fingers. He wore a short sleeve shirt to show off the zigzag scars along his arms. He popped a fake eye made to look like the crosshairs of a rifle scope into his hollow eye socket.

This is just one of the wounded soldiers David Finkel writes about in his brutal but compelling book The Good Soldiers. The book chronicles the troops of the , one of the battalions who served He pulled a piece of copper shrapnel out from the webbing of his fingers. The book chronicles the troops of the , one of the battalions who served in Iraq as part of the surge of Finkel tells their stories honestly and compassionately, without a trace of political agenda.

While reading, I often found myself staring off in numbed silence at the atrocities these soldiers endured daily.

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The good soldiers from America drive slowly through some of the worst parts of Baghdad and of course they are very frequently blown up. Finkel detailed the effects on these soldiers and their officers as even more horrible. The impression you get is that the surge did nothing, that the decisions whether to crank up the bombings and rocket attacks or dial them down were taken by invisible warlords like al-Sadr, and that the relative peace we have now is by their fiat. Other couples divorced during their time in Baghdad. Washington Post correspondent Finkel chronicles the month deployment of the Infantry Battalion in Baghdad during and , when the chaos in Iraq subsided to a manageable uproar.

I stared when Duncan Crookston battled to survive an explosion that took both his legs, his arm, his eyesight, and burned nearly his entire body. I also stared when months later he lost his battle. Regardless of your stance on the war, we can all recognize the human element, both tragic and heroic, that runs through this book. More so, it is the height of self indulgence as a citizen to not be aware of what these soldiers face every day. David Finkel has given us the opportunity to rid ourselves of ignorance.

I suggest we take it. Sep 20, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: My son was in this battalion and is an admirer of the battalion commander, "Col K" as everyone calls him. I had heard many of the stories in this book but not in their totality. David Finkel has written an intense, compelling, and emotional account that succeeds in covering the war on so many facets simultaneously: A map would have been nice but this was not an account written to stop and reference maps, but to be re My son was in this battalion and is an admirer of the battalion commander, "Col K" as everyone calls him.

A map would have been nice but this was not an account written to stop and reference maps, but to be read and felt. Every chapter has a chronologically correct statement from President Bush about the war. We read what is happening at home with the wives and in the hospitals where the severely wounded are recovering. We also learn about the Iraqis who work as translators for the battalion. We follow the soldiers home on leave from the war zone. It's the story of this battalion, its commander, some officers, and those wounded and killed during an extended deployment who just kept on giving and doing their duty.

This book to quote Col K's motto, "it's all good. Sep 23, Mike rated it it was ok Shelves: This is a not book about platoon level combat despite what the book blurb says. It is a book about soldiers, Iraqis, others getting blown up, maimed, shot, killed, ruined without any overarching theme or story other than it is due to the surge. I feel the end is near for me, very, very near. Day by day my misery grows like a storm, ready to swallow me whole and take This is a not book about platoon level combat despite what the book blurb says.

Day by day my misery grows like a storm, ready to swallow me whole and take me to the unknown. Yet all I can fear is the unknown. What have I done? Darkness is all I see anymore. Nothing good occurs, only death and destruction. I did not learn much about the surge in Iraq from this book. View all 5 comments. Jan 11, Regan rated it really liked it. Not having personal experience of war, I cannot judge if this is an accurate portrayal. What a powerful book. Almost every description and detail is emotionally moving in some way, and there are some that are so, so tragic.

I had to take breaks to process what I was reading. David Finkel's writing is excellent and well crafted. With humility and respect for his subjects, Finkel lets the unbelievable details, language of the soldiers, and the perspective and thoughts of Ralph Kauzlarich speak for themselves. There is so much human suffering and human dignity in this book. Dec 30, Elizabeth Sulzby rated it it was amazing Shelves: Finkel takes the reader into the points-of-view of all levels of this battalion's experiences and context.

I am not going to use names in this review to avoid spoilers. I am also accepting the author's reporting as factually based. I have some background knowledge which fits with this book although most of it was new and specific. The author won the Pulitzer Prize for similar in depth reporting about the US's efforts in Yemen. I haven't read that book but definitely want to now that I've read The Good Soldiers.

Colonel in charge of the battalion views and uses in his 15 month command in one of the most dangerous parts of Baghdad. At the beginning, this commander sincerely tries to understand the "surge" and the relationships to the Iraqi communities within his command.

For example, he gives soccerballs to children as a way of helping parents begin to trust the US soldiers and move toward his stated goal of having children and parents feel safe and move freely through their communities. In the book, his command and subcommands begin community relations while they are trying to make the areas secure and "shit-free. When they arrive they find that the sewer system has collapsed and shit runs freely enough to totally "swallow" one of the armored Humvees with its occupants, including when a massive set of attacks destroy it near the time that this battalion is relieved of duty by a relief battalion.

As the battalion is almost through packing, they and the Iraqi population are attacked and more troops are killed and maimed and the Lt. Finkel depicts key experiences as "engraved" in memory because of their impact on the participants.

Life in Iraq - David Finkel, author of The Good Soldiers

Soccerballs key an image to the Lt. Col of a temporarily happy time when giving soccerballs to Iraqi children brought smiles to their parents followed by counterattacking Iraqi fighters and following them into a house where parents and a little girl are injured or killed. These times of horror are difficult to write about without becoming too hard for the reader to bear and Finkel uses an excellent balancing of detail without being maudlin.

One section portrays a soldier who has lost all or part of all his limbs, massive brain injuries, burns, and massive types of infection. He remained alive over infections that have before killed almost all other "patients. When would one view this soldier as "better off dead"? What would have been of more "comfort" to his loved ones? His "brothers" in service? The book carries vivid details of shrapnel from massive metal plates, bolts, ball bearings, etc.

He used correlations from other Army data as showing the incidence to be much greater for soldiers with extended deployments this battalion was sent for but increased to months by unexplained fiat , multiple deployments, remaining with original battle groups or being transferred from their comrades. One of the big ironies throughout the book is the commander's use of the phrase, "It's all good," from morale-based talks to his soldiers at Ft. Riley, and a "ball" held after their return to the USA. Finkel illustrates how the soldiers begin to mimick, hate, or discount his use of "it's all right," when it so clearly is not all right, but is all f'd up.

At the end, there is a reception in which the reader is led to think the soldiers have forgiven his awkward phrase after the battalion is back at Fort Riley. As a former military spouse, I remember my husband talking about the effects on enlisted and non-commissioned officer families of long deployments and assignments such as promotion boards with hr days, pressures, etc.

Finkel detailed the effects on these soldiers and their officers as even more horrible. One simple example was a soldier who married a fairly new girlfriend on a whim, had a few days with her, then spent the rest of his life in these battles in Baghdad, until and after his injuries, multiple operations and treatments, and final death.

His bride stayed with him, alongside his mother, during these horrible months. Other couples divorced during their time in Baghdad. I admire Finkel's ways of bringing to life the experiences of these soldiers, balancing between horrible details and "too-much-to-bear" information. For me, he kept me reading even through my tears and curses. One part I wish he had told more about: It read as if the soldiers were doing too much of the rebuilding, rubble removal, supplying in their area but I suspect he just decided he didn't have "room" for more about the contractors.

He did mention contractor work in the sewage and electrical construction and repair but gave few details. View all 6 comments. Dec 16, Stephen Dorman rated it liked it Shelves: Like a number of books on the Iraq war this has it's flaws. As an embedded reporter it's more or less inevitable that Finkel can only provide a narrow US perspective on events.

Book review: The Good Soldiers by David Finkel

He is, generally, unflinching in doing so and the book reads well. You will however search in vain for any but the most cursory Iraqi perspective. Injuries and deaths of US soldiers are dwelt on at great length, Iraqis, by and large, die off-screen. That said, reading between the lines can giv Like a number of books on the Iraq war this has it's flaws. That said, reading between the lines can give a sense of just how badly messed up this all was. There's little indication that any member of the has the foggiest clue as to why the Iraqis might be fighting them, something which recalls Robert McNamara's lessons from the Vietnam War: We failed, as well, to adapt our military tactics to the task of winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture.

Our judgment of what is in another people's or country's best interest should be put to the test of open discussion in international forums. We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose. This book is a testament to an utter failure to learn even one of those lessons and, based on the discussion since, there is little indication that the debacles of Iraq or Afghanistan have improved matters.

Negli Stati Uniti la guerra era motivo di discussione. In Iraq la guerra era guerra. Sto ascoltando Serial , leggendo innumerevoli articoli sull'Iraq, l'Afghanistan, Guantanamo e i black sites, saggi sulla guerra in generale e quella del Vietnam in particolare.

Sui risultati ottenuti da questi due elementi il libro non si esprime. Nov 05, Mikey B. This is very graphic account of the Iraq war from the ground perspective of the American soldier. Instead soldiers die horrifically, are bodily mutilated and will suffer for the rest of their lives. The soldiers who do survive without physical disabilities will doubtless experience deep mental anguish for the duration of their lives. Many of them were taking sleeping pills d This is very graphic account of the Iraq war from the ground perspective of the American soldier.

Many of them were taking sleeping pills during their tour of duty. Some would re-enlist even though they were obviously suffering burn-out and combat fatigue. The longer the soldiers stay there the more their idealism fades and destructiveness sets in — they care less and less about the country they are there to allegedly help — in fact they become repulsed by Iraq and many loath the local population.

One reviewer compared this book to the work of Ernie Pyle — the famous World War II writer who also described life at the grass-roots level of the American soldier. However in the work of Ernie Pyle one gets a steady feeling of progression. The deaths are tragic, but the injuries are most harrowing. When Kauzlarich visits some of his men in a hospital recovery ward, we see the war Johnny Got His Gun-style: Now in the form of legless, armless, mauled, burnt, depressed and half-dead soldiers and their mothers and wives, war visits the reader as a long nightmare.

Later, with massive understatement, she tells Kauzlarich: A soldier named Atchley, who lost an eye and picks metal and plastic shrapnel from under his skin, explains: This war is complete [expletive]. As he explains to his visiting colonel, "I don't like pretending I have an eye. Unfortunately, these raw and powerful moments are often obscured by Finkel's heavy-handed style. When a soldier is shipped home due to mental stress, we get: That was him, Adam Schuman.