Customer Reviews for

The Forever War

Average Rating 4.5
( 82 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Must Read

Presented as a series of vignettes, this book details war from the point of view of those who must slog through it. The Forever War is not a chronological history or a who's who of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather Filkins offers tales of civilians, soldiers, and...
Presented as a series of vignettes, this book details war from the point of view of those who must slog through it. The Forever War is not a chronological history or a who's who of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather Filkins offers tales of civilians, soldiers, and others caught in a confusing maelstrom of death and destruction. There is no attempt to make ultimate sense of the situation or to explain the logic behind the chaos.

In a broad sense, the book represents a powerful portrayal of any war, any time. However, as an account of the recent Mideast wars specifically, the book brilliantly describes the meltdown of society in Iraq and the failure of authorities to understand it--let alone contain it. Filkins' adventures as a reporter, while at times bordering on the suicidal, capture the ambivalence of many Iraqis about being liberated as well as the isolation of the liberators themselves who stay well-protected inside Bahgdad's Green Zone.

Written with great humanity, The Forever War is easy to read and hard to put down. It's an important book and a must read.

posted by cannonball on March 17, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Great reading for Left wingers

I purchased this book not knowing the author. Had a lot of good reviews on the back page but until I got home I didn't realize all the reviews were from far left newspapers and magazines.
Very well written but the anti military (U.S. Military of course) comments throug...
I purchased this book not knowing the author. Had a lot of good reviews on the back page but until I got home I didn't realize all the reviews were from far left newspapers and magazines.
Very well written but the anti military (U.S. Military of course) comments throughout the book made this just another anti U.S. statement by a far left writer , who as usual, thinks he has all the answers to our world problems.
I was wondering through the whole book if he was aiding the enemy during his stay in Iraq. They seems to have a lot of trust in him.

posted by 3066625 on February 24, 2010

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  • Posted September 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not What I Expected...

    Named one of the "10 best books of 2008" by the New York Times and brandishing a National Book Critics Circle Award, The Forever War by journalist Dexter Filkins has been leering at me from my Need-To-Read list for quite some time. "Consider the source," I warned myself as I first cracked it open; bracing myself for the far, far, far left wing swing I expected from a book written by a former reporter for both the L.A. and New York Times. "Be patient," my inner voice also advised, as I anticipated a long two-week trek of forcing myself through a dry and emotionless propaganda spew, chapter by painful chapter.

    Forty eight hours later, I was done. And I was so very, very wrong. There, I said it.

    The book begins with Mr. Filkins recounting some of his more colorful experiences in Afghanistan prior to the American military intervention. A barbaric judicial ritual, mangled bodies, and an emotionally, economically, and spiritually exhausted nation are the main take-aways. But then, without pause, explanation, or even the outline of a travel itinerary, Mr. Filkins is suddenly in Iraq. I can't be sure that he wrote this transition-less transition for the purpose of creating the impression it left readers (like me) with, but I hope so. It was a "wow, how did we end up here?" sort of a moment... much like the war itself. The United States was supposedly trucking right along in Afghanistan when, poof! Iraq, here we come! It was just that quick, and just that inevitable. (complete review at whatrefuge.blogspot)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2009

    Must Read

    Presented as a series of vignettes, this book details war from the point of view of those who must slog through it. The Forever War is not a chronological history or a who's who of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather Filkins offers tales of civilians, soldiers, and others caught in a confusing maelstrom of death and destruction. There is no attempt to make ultimate sense of the situation or to explain the logic behind the chaos.

    In a broad sense, the book represents a powerful portrayal of any war, any time. However, as an account of the recent Mideast wars specifically, the book brilliantly describes the meltdown of society in Iraq and the failure of authorities to understand it--let alone contain it. Filkins' adventures as a reporter, while at times bordering on the suicidal, capture the ambivalence of many Iraqis about being liberated as well as the isolation of the liberators themselves who stay well-protected inside Bahgdad's Green Zone.

    Written with great humanity, The Forever War is easy to read and hard to put down. It's an important book and a must read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Simply amazing.

    I bought this after listening to Filkins' interview on NPR. I was immediately blown away from beginning to end. I gave it low ratings for "Topical Conversation" because I've found this to be the only book I've read in a long, long time that I don't know how to talk about. It's so powerful and moving that abbreviated descriptions can't explain it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2010

    Great reading for Left wingers

    I purchased this book not knowing the author. Had a lot of good reviews on the back page but until I got home I didn't realize all the reviews were from far left newspapers and magazines.
    Very well written but the anti military (U.S. Military of course) comments throughout the book made this just another anti U.S. statement by a far left writer , who as usual, thinks he has all the answers to our world problems.
    I was wondering through the whole book if he was aiding the enemy during his stay in Iraq. They seems to have a lot of trust in him.

    2 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2011

    excellent

    A good take on what actually is going on in Iraq and Afgahnistan. The book tell why we should not be throwing our $$ in this quagmire and the way it has cost us some of our best young men.

    These brave young and very naive soldiers are just pawns for old politicians.

    We are being used for our money and we should have learned by now you cannot buy friendship and loyalty. After Vietnam , it seems nothing has changed. Very sobering account of the war and the people.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    He offers depth and perspective

    This heartbreaking and graphic daily war diary by a news reporter is a necessary complement to other books on the overarching politics of the war. The tragedy and terror of war comes through clearly. For our fighting men and women, and the people of Iraq, we get a better look at their lives. Filkins was embedded with our soldiers during the first attempt to "take back" Fallujah. The horror, the fear, the bravery, the pointlessness...all of it appears here. For those who will not turn their faces away, this is what he, and our soldiers, saw. Filkins admits he was irrevocably changed after this-you may be, too.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    I am a Vietnam War era adult and a non veteran. I have a hard time reading Vietnam books and stayed away from Iraq books because I could not think of any good reason to read one. I heard Dexter Filkins interviewed on NPR and became interested.

    Dexter Filkins tells it as he saw and experienced it. He is hard on our government officials when needed and describes the anguish and terror of what it is to be an soldier in Iraq. He observes what went on in Iraq with some humor, some incredulity as well as some heart felt respect for the impossible job that our soldiers are asked to do. I seriously hope that Filkins is talking through his experiences with someone who can listen because he has all the issues that a combat soldier has.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstanding. Superb. Brilliant.

    Dexter Filkins really solidifies himself as the top war correspondent of our generation with his gripping first hand accounts of what the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are really like. His drive and dedication to brave death again and again are remarkable as he brings the stories of men and women from both sides of this "Forever War" that is gripping the Middle East. This is an unprecedented account of the wars in the Middle East and will undoubtedly be a part of the foundation of numerous books to come in regards to what has occurred in the Middle East since 1998. This is a superb book and extremely eye opening. I would recommend anyone looking for insight to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or just a good book in general to read "The Forever War", it will not disappoint. It is as gripping as it is eye opening. It will both sober you and delight you. Terrific book, highly recommend it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    War Through the Eyes of a Fearless Reporter

    I urge anyone who wants to know about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but who have never served to read "The Forever War." Author Dexter Filkins. Dexter is a fearless throwback to the war corresspondents of the past who embedded on the front lines and captured a perspective rarely seen by anyone but combatants. The insights he provides based on his experiences in both combat zones are utterly harrowing and uniquely inspiring and candid. I have read almost all of the narratives written about Iraq and Afghanistan and by far, this is one of the best. Dexter's amazing ability to convey his experiences to written words is only surpassed by his unflinching willingness to go into harm's way to achieve the insights. He is the real deal and so is this book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Writing!

    Great writing and imagery. Filkins writes as though he's talking directly to you and takes you right into the action. It's a can't-put-it-down book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    Ryrytwitchy

    Boo

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    Daja

    Maybe.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Shadow

    Hey daja

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    Swift

    "Thank you" she diped her head

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    help needed

    Its about cpastle pack its falling apart i need help quickly

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    Fear Pack

    Fear Pack is at dark shadow all results! Spread the word!

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    War Zone to all

    I am sorry. I can not keep up with leading a pac. Venom chose a worthy mate. And lead this pack to greatniss. My brother is vanquished. Hope you all flurish. Goodbye.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

    Riveting. It really puts a point on what it is like to be at war

    Riveting. It really puts a point on what it is like to be at war and show who are the real victims. Must read for all you war hawks!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2011

    Fascinating look at Afghanistan and Iraq -- but ends prematurely.

    This is a really engrossing read about Filkins' first-hand experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, both pre-war and during the war. Most of the book focuses on his experiences in Iraq. Filkins gives an alternate perspective on the conflict, one not seen in the media or other official or historical works; Filkins' reporting is at the human, individual level. He describes some very surreal scenes including some very intense ones such as the occastions where he is nearly kidnapped, or is forced to watch "infidel-death porn" with some militant Islamists.

    Unfortunately, Filkins leaves Iraq and ends his story before the story is over: he laments the lack of security and the ensuing chaos as Iraq descends into sectarian violence. But he leaves before the surge is implemented, and thus can't provide his perceptions on its effectiveness, nor on how Iraq has changed since. Filkins was there, and left there, when the situation reached its nadir. Since then the situation has possibly stabilized, or possibly just gone quiet until the Americans leave. Witness the March 2011 "Day of Rage" protests: the odd spectacle of Iraqis taking to the streets; not for violence, but to (relatively) peacefully protest inadequate government services.

    I would have loved to read Filkins' assessment of post-Surge Iraq. But we are left wanting. Still, this book is important to understanding the chaos from the personal level.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    horrors of war

    If ever you need a reason why the Iraq war is not one for us to feel good or in anyway proud of, here it is in Dexter Filkins book. His absorbing account tells of the violence, horrors and human tangle of motives that we have unleashed.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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