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Library JournalWhile working with students at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, creative writing instructor Leche (English & creative writing, Austin Community Coll., TX) gathered this collection of their short nonfiction. In the introduction, Leche says that the stories feature “both combat pieces and childhood reflections and memories, because life in a war zone is punctuated almost equally by feelings of intense fear and nostalgic memories from the past…or present. The organization of the writings in this collection imitates the leaps the soldier’s mind makes across continents and decades.” The 32 firsthand accounts discuss soldiers’ experiences of childhood, enlisting, battle, and family as their lives are shaped by the wars they’ve fought abroad. Leche’s course was meant to provide a kind of therapeutic relief to her students, and the intensity of these stories reflects that intent.
Verdict These essays provide tiny glimpses into the psyche of war and its effects on the young men and women who fight. Those who prefer sound bite?length stories to in-depth investigation will enjoy this quick read.—Martha Bauder, Chandler, AZ
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