WAR

( 614 )

Overview

In his breakout bestseller, The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger created "a wild ride that brilliantly captures the awesome power of the raging sea and the often futile attempts of humans to withstand it" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, Junger turns his brilliant and empathetic eye to the reality of combat—the fear, the honor, and the trust among men in an extreme situation whose survival depends on their absolute commitment to one another. His on-the-ground account follows a single platoon through a ...

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WAR

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Overview

In his breakout bestseller, The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger created "a wild ride that brilliantly captures the awesome power of the raging sea and the often futile attempts of humans to withstand it" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, Junger turns his brilliant and empathetic eye to the reality of combat—the fear, the honor, and the trust among men in an extreme situation whose survival depends on their absolute commitment to one another. His on-the-ground account follows a single platoon through a 15-month tour of duty in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. Through the experiences of these young men at war, he shows what it means to fight, to serve, and to face down mortal danger on a daily basis.

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Editorial Reviews

<b>Eugene Robinson</b> - Washington Post
"It is a gripping account of how modern warfare is experienced by those who do the fighting, and its focus is that of a laser, not a floodlight . . . WAR is full of stories that prove the adage about all politics being local."
<b>Dexter Filkins</b> - New York Times Book Review
"Absorbing and original . . . Junger is aiming for more than just a boots-on-the-ground narrative of the travails of fighting men . . . . WAR strives to offer not just a picture of American fighting men but a discourse on the nature of war itself. This is no small ambition . . . He writes some beautiful sentences about this ugly world."
Marjorie Miller - Los Angeles Times
"With his blue-eyed, chiseled and starting-to-grizzle looks, Junger is just the specimen Hollywood would cast as a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan to ensure a box office hit...But to assume that Junger had easy access diminishes his reporting skills and his commitment to the story. At age 48, he's a generation older than most of the soldiers he accompanied into combat over the course of their 15-month deployment and who instinctively put up their guard against an outsider...The resulting book is written in the first person, but it is observational, offering no critique of the combat he witnessed, taking no position on the efficiency, logic or value of the war. He offers a close-up view of men and the raw elements of war: fear and courage, killing and death, love and brotherhood."
Philip Caputo
With his narrative gifts and vivid prose — as free, thank God, of literary posturing as it is of war-correspondent chest-thumping — Junger masterfully chronicles the platoon's 15-month tour of duty...Junger makes us see the terror, monotony, misery, comradeship and lunatic excitement that have been elements of all wars since, say, the siege of Troy. He thus becomes a kind of 21st-century battle singer, narrating the deeds and misdeeds of his heroes while explaining what makes them do what they do...It's the best writing I've seen on the subject since J. Glenn Gray's 1959 classic, The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle. . . . Junger's sketches of the men are deft, his ear for their quirky speech (aided by video recordings) spot on . . . This splendid book should help the rest of us understand them — and war itself — a little better.
Washington Post
Dexter Filkins
Absorbing and original . . . Junger is aiming for more than just a boots-on-the-ground narrative of the travails of fighting men . . . . WAR strives to offer not just a picture of American fighting men but a discourse on the nature of war itself. This is no small ambition . . . He writes some beautiful sentences about this ugly world.
New York Times Book Review
Marjorie Miller
With his blue-eyed, chiseled and starting-to-grizzle looks, Junger is just the specimen Hollywood would cast as a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan to ensure a box office hit...But to assume that Junger had easy access diminishes his reporting skills and his commitment to the story. At age 48, he's a generation older than most of the soldiers he accompanied into combat over the course of their 15-month deployment and who instinctively put up their guard against an outsider...The resulting book is written in the first person, but it is observational, offering no critique of the combat he witnessed, taking no position on the efficiency, logic or value of the war. He offers a close-up view of men and the raw elements of war: fear and courage, killing and death, love and brotherhood.
Los Angeles Times
Eugene Robinson
It is a gripping account of how modern warfare is experienced by those who do the fighting, and its focus is that of a laser, not a floodlight . . . WAR is full of stories that prove the adage about all politics being local.
Washington Post
From the Publisher
Riveting . . . Junger experiences everything [the soldiers] do-nerve-racking patrols, terrifying roadside bombings and ambushes, stultifying weeks in camp when they long for a firefight to relieve the tedium. Despite the stress and the grief when buddies die, the author finds war to be something of an exalted state: soldiers experience an almost sexual thrill in the excitement of a firefight-a response Junger struggles to understand-and a profound sense of commitment to subordinating their self-interests to the good of the unit. Junger mixes visceral combat scenes-raptly aware of his own fear and exhaustion-with quieter reportage and insightful discussions of the physiology, social psychology, and even genetics of soldiering. The result is an unforgettable portrait of men under fire.—Publishers Weekly

The latest flexing of journalistic muscle from Vanity Fair contributor Junger . . . The author dives into the most perilous form of immersion journalism, attempting to create an unflinching account of frontline combat. The prototype of this approach is Michael Herr's peerless Dispatches (1977), a thoroughly unsentimental, grunt-level view of the Vietnam War's bloodiest years. Yet if Junger's dispatches from the fighting in Afghanistan solidify anything, it's that war American-style hasn't evolved much in the decades since Herr's book . . . As in The Perfect Storm (1997), Junger blends popular science, psychology and history with a breathlessly paced narrative . . . Harrowing.—Kirkus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446556224
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/17/2011
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 111,545
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sebastian Junger is the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Storm and A Death in Belmont. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. He lives in New York City.

Biography

Sebastian Junger considers himself a journalist first and an author second, which made his sudden appearance on bestseller lists in 1997 all the more remarkable.

Having decided to chronicle the 1991 tropical storm that swallowed the fishing boat Andrea Gail, Junger began working on the story without a book deal or even a magazine editor's interest. He spent years getting to know the locals in the fishing boat's home port of Gloucester, Massachusetts, figuring the account would be come part of a larger book about dangerous professions, or perhaps appear as a magazine article.

When the culmination of his work emerged as a book, the interest was overwhelming. Movie rights were swept up immediately; The Perfect Storm became the nonfiction book of the summer and stayed on bestseller lists for over two years.

Fortified with fishing history and meteorological information, The Perfect Storm tells the suspenseful and sympathetic story of a group of sailors caught in a deadly storm and the rescuers who went after them. Junger was negotiating a tricky course, as he admitted in the book's foreword: "Recreating the last days of six men who disappeared at sea presented some obvious problems for me ... I've written as complete an account as possible of something that can never be fully known."

Despite the story's inherent inconclusiveness, Junger provided compelling, chilling descriptions from survivors and first-person accounts about the horror of being batted about by violent seas and nearly drowning, as well as the difficulties of saving someone caught in a sea storm.

The success of the book made Junger fear he might become a complacent journalist: "What I was afraid of was that all this money would take away the incentive [to seek out stories]", he said in an interview with National Geographic later. Whether in spite of or because of this fear, Junger did indeed continue to seek adventure in the name of journalism. His exploits both before and after writing The Perfect Storm were chronicled in Fire, a similarly detailed and moving collection of his writings at the front of wars in Bosnia and Afghanistan, alongside smoke jumpers in the American West, amid the machinations of diamond trade in Sierra Leone, and in other perilous situations.

Junger is an increasingly rare practitioner of independent, entrepreneurial journalism. His skills are strengthened by his willingness to take personal risks and his ability to make complex stories both absorbing and understandable. It's an approach to reporting that might be considered an old-fashioned one: going out to get the story. For readers, the result is authentic, illuminating glimpses of worlds we might otherwise never be privileged (or cursed) to observe.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Junger:

"I'm terrified of spiders."

"My first job was at a restaurant called Garrett's, in Washington, D.C. I was a terrible waiter but I could handle a lot of tables."

"My mile time is 4:13. I ran 24:05 for five miles and 2:21 for a marathon (26.2 miles)."

"I'm an atheist. I don't own a Palm Pilot or an iPod. My car is nine years old."

Junger is a co-owner of a bar in the westernmost part of Manhattan's Chelsea, a homey pub named The Half King.

As late as 2000, Junger was still doing tree work, where he hurt his leg with a chainsaw. The injury prompted him to begin thinking about other dangerous lines of work, and eventually, to write The Perfect Storm.

Junger has established a foundation to provide opportunities for the children of fishermen like those whose lives and deaths he chronicled in The Perfect Storm.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 17, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Anthropology, Wesleyan University, 1984

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 614 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(319)

4 Star

(139)

3 Star

(77)

2 Star

(35)

1 Star

(44)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 620 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This Book Brings The War Home!

    With a country at war, two wars, we only hear about the war. This book, which is engrossing from page one, brings the war home. I am most impressed by Junger's decision to not hold back. There isn't the fluff or sensationalism that you see on the news. You see the grit and the true sacrifice that theses brave individuals face every day. I applaud our troops and I love this book.

    27 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 25, 2010

    Save Your Money!

    I saw this book by Mr. Junger and thought it would be a great read. Upon finishing the book, however, I have changed my mind. I believe Mr. Junger took his notes from his time in Afghanistan, threw them in a blender, put a cover on them, and sent them out the door to an unsuspecting reading public. There was very little background development of the fine soldiers depicted in the book, and the narrative jumped around to the point that it was difficult to determine when and where a particular event was occurring. This is a book I lost interest in quickly and would not have even bothered to finish it except for the fact that it was mercifully short. I expected more from Mr. Junger and was very disappointed.

    22 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2010

    Good, quick read

    I just finished this book, and enjoyed it overall. It's an interesting conglomeration of battlefield notes, observations, and re-tellings of some firefights, and day-to-day goings on of a remote outpost in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. Also thrown in the mix is Junger's philosophical outlook on how war affects soldiers, and his opinion on the bond that develops amongst men that are involved in combat. There's a complete lack of political opinion, which is great, because the book reads as neutral, as far as 'The war is just, or not just' etc, etc. It's a little jumpy at times, and scattered in some parts, but overall, I thought it was a good read.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Over & Over Again

    Never read Perfect Storm. Movie was great. This book is not. Same stuff over and over again. Don't know what I was looking for; but, this wasn't it. By now, we all know war sucks and the brave people who participate are to be respected and honored.

    8 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book that highlights the sacrifices we ask of our service members...

    Very revealing look at the tip of the spear in the war in Afghanistan. Told from the level of the infantrymen on the ground, it shows convincingly the motivation of the individual American Soldier to accomplish the mission because his brothers on his right and left. In some instances, the examination of the psychology of the American Soldier reminds me of the also-excellent Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield.

    This book is extremely compelling because there is no political slant or spin to it. At the time of reading, I was amazed the author could tell the story strictly from a neutral point of view. In retrospect, it's not surprising, because there is so much in combat that the American public will never know. This book covers the vast unknown for a majority of Americans (less than one percent serve) and shows just what we ask of our military every day and the cost it exacts, both during and after combat. Even fewer within the military experience high-intensity combat, so for readers within the community I also strongly recommend it.

    Mr. Junger does an honorable rendering of the United States Army. Kudos; a thoroughly engaging read.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2010

    A fine, fine book ...

    ...perhaps the finest I have ever read. Evocative. 'War' reminds me of Robert Mason's 'Chickenhawk'.

    A masterpiece for all of time by Sebastian Junger.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I also recommend "The Silent Crisis Destroying America's Brightest Minds"

    What All American Need to Know.

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2011

    Outstanding.

    And that's coming from a Marine.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Powerful insight into the soldier's experience in Afghanistan

    Mr. Junger does not attempt to analyze the war, explore the politics behind it, nor glory in the tactics or technology. He does give a detailed and powerful account of the day-to-day life solders face in the war. Unlike Vietnam, U.S. media--particularly television--seems unable or unwilling to provide this kind of insight. Read the book so you'll understand what we are asking of our 18-20 year old (mostly) sons. Then you can decide if the results are worth the effort and cost.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2010

    Visceral and Touching Expose'

    Fantastic book about the boots on the ground protecting our families day in and out. We owe our freedom to these men and it is great to getto know them a little and exactly what they are going thrugh over there, for us and our children. God Bless America

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2010

    good reading

    it was a snap shot of how it really is there

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2010

    a great book that tells what i

    about This book really tells what our soilders are going through.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Second to none...

    Sebastian Junger does an amazing job with his counter-part the late Tim Hetherington in integrating into the frontlines with the U.S. Army's 173rd AIRBORNE. The stories and events that the soldies share and endure with these two men is amazing and inspiring. A MUST READ for anyone who is in the services or is into history! 20 years from now the work these two men did will help shape the social history books of the men fighting at the tip of the spear on the war on terrorism!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Well-written

    It is an important book providing insight into something i have felt, but only partially understood: War is exciting despite being so terrible. It feels good to win, and you form a brotherhood of people who die for each other, reminding me of the group dynamics of some cultures that believe in saving face.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Putting things into perspective

    My husband and i read this book as we flew over a weeks time. I finished it before him and it brought back some memories of my own, but for those that have never experienced military life it puts the war into perspective on the personal experience. It gives meaning behind those yellow ribbons. I liked that Junger left the political baggage behind but made for a good read. Editorally the book could have been better, but something nice to pass the time and get a few giggles out of.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    Best book on the war

    Good book also read Cindy in Iraq which tells of the KBR truck driver side

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2011

    Absolutely loved

    I have watched the documentary countless times. Now reading this just as many. It takes you deeper into the psyche. <3

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2011

    Airborne! Great Read

    My Army Unit went to meet Mr.Junger at a book release and movie review, and this guy is the truth. Coming from a U.S. Vet I was pleased in the way Mr. Junger captured this story, by far one of the best short reads I've read this year. For anyone who understands the the difficulty of Operation Enduring Freedom you won't be disappointed. All the way, Airborne!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

    War

    Best book! THANK A SOLIDER next time you see one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2011

    This is War

    If you have a child wanting to serve our Country let them read this The comment says horrible but this is War you might not like it but thank a Soilder next time you see one. Book is real talk from the front lines, straight talk,,good and honest. Thank You to all that have served our Country.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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