Sebastian Junger


We recently passed a sad and little-noted milestone in Afghanistan: 1,000 young Americans have died in that conflict. That’s more young people than an average college teacher will encounter in five years of full-time teaching. Despite those losses, Americans don’t really pay much attention to that war anymore, nor to the one in Iraq that continues to take so many additional lives for reasons no one can quite explain in ways that make sense. But, if you want to get up close and personal with the day-to-day sacrifice being offered in your name by some of America’s frontline soldiers, you can’t do any better than reading War, Sebastian Junger’s chronicle of the 15 months he spent living dangerously, embedded with a platoon that saw nearly continuous action on the northeastern border of Afghanistan. Junger is one hell of a writer, and this book is graphic, sparing the reader little of what we are asking of the men who wage that distant war. It’s also a thoughtful rumination on how war is experienced, the bonds it forges, and the courage it requires. Junger has exhibited significant courage in gathering this experience for readers lucky enough to be far from these killing fields.