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Soldier On

We’ve 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: “It’s 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 they’re not talking, you don’t talk. If they’re holding still, you hold still. You have to be an expert at mimicry.” But an embedded journalist, however careful, is subject to war’s brutality just the same. Junger’s partner in Korangal’s trenches, Tim Hetherington, who codirected Restrepo, was recently killed in Libya. His death, along with Osama bin Laden’s, will inevitably color Junger’s Friday reading at Books & Books, marking War’s paperback release.
Fri., May 20, 8 p.m., 2011


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