Beyond Bullets: A Photo Journal of Afganistan

Beyond Bullets: A Photo Journal of Afganistan

by Rafal Gerszak

Stunning photos reveal an Afghanistan we rarely see.
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Stunning photos reveal an Afghanistan we rarely see.

Editorial Reviews

Quill and Quire - Nathan Whitlock
Gerszak's images and words are haunting.
US Review of Books
An artistic coup... both riveting and informative.
Resource Links - Christy den Haan-Veltman
Educationally informative and culturally sensitive...It will engage students to read and beyond that to think, ask questions and seek authentic answers.
Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Rafal Gerszak served in Afghanistan as a photojournalist embedded with coalition troops. In that role Gerszak was able to see the combat, routine patrols, camp life, and the interaction of Afghan civilians with allied troops. After a year as a war correspondent, Gerszak returned to Afghanistan and chronicled the lives of everyday Afghans. It is these experiences in a war-torn land that Gerszak presents to readers in this fascinating and thoughtful book. In telling his story Gerszak combines first hand anecdotes drawn from his travels with numerous photos he personally took. In this book readers will learn about the turmoil soldiers experience in an ambush, the physical cost of combat, the utter sadness of civilian casualties, and the psychological toll of war. This combination generates a moving story that realistically presents the nature of asymmetrical war in a nation that has seen strife for many years. This is a powerful book that youngsters thinking about military service should read. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Gerszak spent more than a year embedded with troops on the front lines in Afghanistan, learning about and experiencing firsthand the war on terrorism. After this powerful experience, he then lived among Afghan civilians in order to explore the war from their perspective, learning to love and appreciate both the culture and the country that has been ravaged by multiple conflicts and invasions. Beautiful, provocative photographs are combined with explanations and journal entries to provide a complete portrait of his time in Afghanistan. The book does not shy away from sharing the darker side of war, with photos of injured soldiers, dogfights, and suffering civilians all included, and through detailed descriptions these potentially difficult images are given context and meaning. Having visited hospitals, individual homes, refugee camps, and much more, Gerszak enables readers to see a side of the war that is rarely shared in the media, and, even less frequently, in a book directed at young adults. The photos tell a story all on their own, but the added narrative draws readers in and gives them a front-row seat. Share or display this title with a variety of nonfiction and fiction titles about other American wars, such as Walter Dean Myers's Fallen Angels (Scholastic, 1988) or Philip Caputo's 10,000 Days of Thunder (S & S, 2005) as a means of humanizing war.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Author/photographer Gerszak first went to Afghanistan to spend a year embedded with an American military unit documenting house searches, disputes with village elders and the aftermath of battles. He returned as an unaffiliated photographer without a military escort, determined to document civilian life. This "photo journal" features images from both trips to Afghanistan, accompanied by diarylike accounts of his travels. Gerszak's frank and descriptive observations effectively convey the ugliness, monotony and tragedy of war. Most compelling are descriptions of civilians he meets, encounters that put a human face on the conflict Gerszak was unable to experience as an embedded journalist. His powerful images never romanticize or sensationalize the war. There are scenes of bloody battles, wounded people in hospitals and dazed refugees, but also remarkable images of busy marketplaces and vibrant street activity revealing that life goes on in the midst of death and destruction. The snippets of Gerszak's observations often lack cohesion and context. Though good background information is provided throughout in sidebars on such subjects as the Taliban, Muslim traditions and ethnic groups, this book alone will not give readers insight into the complexities of the Afghan conflict. As one journalist's perspective, this stands as an excellent supplement to a more comprehensive overview. (maps, photographs) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Annick Press, Limited
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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