Genre:  Nonfiction, War Literature

This is a book about being on the front lines of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dexter Filkins, a New York Times correspondent, relates his experiences from September 1998 through his return back to the United States. This is a story filled with carnage and sadness and gives a very visual understanding of the experiences on today's battlefields. In the book Mr. Filkins describes suicide bombers and street to street fighting with Marines and insurgents. He also relates the stories of the ordinary people struggling to get by with their country and cities in ruins. Many of them are in despair and yet each day endeavor to get by with their daily lives.

This is one of the best books about war that I've ever read. I was struck by the gritty description of the battles that took place in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was amazed That Mr. Filkins had seen as many experiences and and survived the horror and tragedy of war. As an observer following the troops, he witnessed battles, as well as the reactions of the soldiers. I had a very hard time putting this book down. At times I would be on the edge of my seat, with white knuckles, turning the pages to find out the results of the battle.

I would suggest this book to anyone that was interested in the war, or had any questions that they've secretly ask themselves about the purpose and need for this type of military operation. There were times I was shocked that the actions taken by the insurgents and their attacks on Americans and Iraqis. After reading this book I still don't understand the hatred and fury that some of the people in this book possess.

I would give this book 4 stars. I don't know if I'll be reading this book again, but I found that I've been thinking and pondering the stories of these individuals for the last two weeks whenever I hear a story on the radio or article in the newspaper about the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. I have recommended this book to many people I know that enjoy reading simply because this book forced me out of my comfort zone. It was an enjoyable read because it was written about true experiences rather than fictional stories.