Weve been at war in Afghanistan for ten years. Yet with no draft, rations, or war bond drives, the battlefield might as well be on Mars. Sebastian Junger brings the fight back into our consciousness with War, his visceral account of the soldiers life in battle. On assignment from Vanity Fair, the author, famous for The Perfect Storm, shadowed an American platoon in the deadly Korangal Valley for 15 months. To a soundtrack of whizzing bullets and close-range IEDs, Junger belly-crawled his way into the life of a soldier, revealing an underworld of love, adrenaline, and duty. Before the release of Restrepo, the documentary of his time there, he told New Times: Its pretty clear where to be during a fight. The first thing everyone does is find cover. Otherwise you do exactly what the soldiers are doing. If theyre not talking, you dont talk. If theyre holding still, you hold still. You have to be an expert at mimicry.
But an embedded journalist, however careful, is subject to wars brutality just the same. Jungers partner in Korangals trenches, Tim Hetherington, who codirected Restrepo, was recently killed in Libya. His death, along with Osama bin Ladens, will inevitably color Jungers Friday reading at Books & Books, marking Wars paperback release.
Fri., May 20, 8 p.m., 2011