Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI

Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI

by Ryan Smithson


$9.90 $9.99 Save 1% Current price is $9.9, Original price is $9.99. You Save 1%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, July 23


In this extraordinary and harrowing memoir, follow one GI’s tour of duty as Ryan Smithson brings readers inside a world that few understand.

This is no ordinary teenager’s story. Instead of opting for college life, Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer.

His story—and the stories of thousands of other soldiers—is nothing like what you see on CNN or read about in the New York Times. This unforgettable story about combat, friendship, fear, and a soldier’s commitment to his country peels back the curtain on the realities of war in a story all Americans should read.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061664717
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/04/2010
Pages: 321
Sales rank: 127,180
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: HL750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve and was deployed to Iraq as an engineer at the age of nineteen. Upon returning, he earned an AAS degree in criminal justice. Specialist Smithson doesn't know if he'll be deployed again. He currently works for the American Red Cross as a mobile unit assistant and lives with his wife in upstate New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Ghosts of War 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it is really inspiring! He made me want to join the army!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a Great Book! for Military lovers. Or others, but Great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had to do a report in my history class and i chose this book for some reason. So glad i did!! One of thr best books ive ever read!
Kellen26 More than 1 year ago
Amazing book, best I have ever read, truly inspirational.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grea structure and wrihting. A must read!!
zachLane More than 1 year ago
"Ghosts of War" is a thrilling novel based on a true story written by Army solider Ryan Smithson, who plays as the novel’s main character. This novel provides the exceptional realization of life in an ongoing war, and the many struggles it includes. The novel’s well written format fills your senses with emotion, and your veins with adrenalin within every tuning of a page. Ryan Smithson, was only 19 years old and attending high school as a senior, when the bombing of the World Trade Center occurred. Knowing where his loyalty lied, Ryan signed the paperwork and enlisted as a solider of the United States Army. Ryan’s loyalty was also significant to Heather, his high school sweetheart who wasn’t fond of his choice. The couple struggled throughout deployment after deployment, as the distance tried to win custody of their relationship. Overall, Ghosts of War was the refreshment I needed after a personal absence of book reading. I highly recommend this book for others who enjoy the history and violent battles that shaped America, and in doing so today. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a fantastic look at the reality of being a soldier today. Very insightful, easy to read and follow. It is a great book.
Kyle Connell More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is honestly the most magnificent book I have ever read. The story is is just wonderful.
Robert Kauffman More than 1 year ago
you will never feel the same way about the way you live after you read this. the author knows how to pull your heart strings. and i thank god for the men and women like him out there.
shadowgirl113 More than 1 year ago
bearly bought the book today and i cant stop reading im sixteen and thinking of signing up and this book is helping me a lot love you Ryan the book is a different perspective of joining and an emotional one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An all around great book. The writing of his experiences seems so real, like I was watching it all happen.
mjspear on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ryan Smithson's first-hand account of a new soldier serving in the Iraqi War is enlightening. This reader especially enjoyed the his earliest days in the service -- his enlistment, boot camp, and deployment. His days in Iraq were (thankfully) pretty noneventful -- not great news for drama hounds -- but he captures well the odd combination of boredom and tension of being at war where terrorism is m.o. He steers clear of politics and there's nary an objectionable word or thought so would be a good book for middle schoolers and up. Similar to Myers' Fallen Angels (Vietnam War)
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Smithson writes about his decision to join the reserves after 9/11 and his experiences in boot camp and during a one year tour of duty in Iraq. The book describes Army life and decodes the specific jargon for those without military background in an accessible way. As a part of an Equipment Battalion, his experience not what has been frequently been depicted by the press as part of the war. This will give readers helpful insight into life in the military and living conditions during war.
aakauff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even for those who know little about the military, U.S. Army reservist Ryan Smithson¿s account of his deployment in Iraq makes for a compelling read. Smithson was in his junior year of high school when the September 11 terrorist attacks took place. Feeling helpless but wanting to give back nonetheless, 18-year-old Smithson joins the Army reserves, not knowing if he would ever have to serve in a combat zone. When Smithson is soon deployed after enlisting, readers are given an up-close-and-personal look at one soldier¿s grueling months in Iraq. The language is crude and gritty, and it is clear that Smithson is not a fan of censoring how he feels. Thankfully, the rawness of Smithson¿s words and his candid thoughts on stereotypes, war, and sacrifice only make this story more convincing. Insightful for anyone, Ghosts of War may be an especially valuable read for students interested in enlisting in the military. While Smithson explains the military jargon as he goes, the acronyms can still get overwhelming to the civilian reader; however, a glossary of military terms is included. Photos also included. For ages 14-18. Recommended.
5aweek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI, by Ryan SmithsonNot often does a book leave me speechless, but the difficult subject and beautiful writing in "Ghosts of War" did. Ryan Smithson was 19 when he was deployed to Iraq as a member of the Army Reserves. He tells the story of his platoon and so many like it overseas, the ones who are working to rebuild the country and make it safe for other troops and citizens, the ones who interact with villagers and the poorer people of Iraq. Not the ones who are busting down doors, searching for weapons caches or other types of activities that make the news. Smithson and his fellow soldiers are the unsung heroes of the war. Smithson writes a moving memoir, that starts with his reaction to September 11, 2001, and his decision to join the Army Reserves, to his year long deployment overseas. The book ends with his return home and the difficulty in adjusting to life again, after living in a combat zone, and how he used writing as therapy for PTSD. The bulk of the book is about his year in Iraq, a year in which he saw the human side of war. Many of the most moving parts of the book are when he describes encounters with Iraqi children, who were almost pathetically grateful for something as simple as clean water. "Ghosts of War" is also a power emotional and mental journey for both the author and the reader, as Smithson ponders what freedom really means, what is faith - questions that are answered during training, missions, and reflection. I just can't say enough about this book. I've always been against the war, but it was a general feeling. Reading "Ghosts of War" made me think about the individual soldiers, people who joined the armed forces because they want to do something, they want to protect American freedom. A particularly enlightening part for me came near the end, when Smithson went to a high school with another recruiter. On the way to the high school, the other recruiter told Smithson that the kids they were about to see wouldn't really care to hear them, wouldn't listen - they'd think he was just one more brainwashed grunt. I know I felt that way when I listened to recruiters in high school; but as I said, now my opinion is very different. I will now appreciate and thank the soldiers I see. Thank you for opening my eyes."Ghosts of War" is an excellent book for adults or young adults, especially teenagers who are considering joining the armed forces. Smithson's memoir gives an accurate picture of army life, from basic training to deployment and back, that may answer questions they didn't know they had. It's also a great book to open discussion between parents and their children, about the war, about the army. I had my own father look at it, as he had been in the Reserves during Vietnam, and the book prompted many questions for me to ask him. The writing is moving and will suck you in; I didn't want to put it down once I started. Some of the experiences related left me tearing up, and some had me cracking up with laughter. Overall, a wonderful book. 5/5.
ChristianR on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ryan Smithson enlisted in the army reserve while a senior in high school and was deployed to Iraq in 2004 at the age of nineteen. He describes his experience in very personal terms in this book. A strong supporter of the war, so not all readers will have the same perspective. It would be interesting to hear from other soldiers with different perspectives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“If I don’t do something, who will?” Ghosts of War is a nonfiction novel written by author Ryan Smithson and also the only book he had written. It is a true story about his life as a high school Junior. During this year he hears about 9/11 and from then on all that he can think about is enlisting and fighting in the military. “If I don’t do something, who will?” This line from the books explains how he feels that it is his and his generation’s responsibility to fight terrorism. The book (and timeline) is segmented up into three sections. Red phase, White Phase and Blue phase. A good portion of the story is composed of flashbacks. Because even though the phases of the story follow each other chronologically there are flashbacks throughout all the phases that help to further develop the story. About halfway through there are also several photographs which further give a better idea of the setting. The reason behind this unconventional way of splitting up a story is that they originate from the three phases of Boot Camp. Each phase lasting exactly three weeks. The first of these phases is about his life in high school and his first three weeks of basic training, and his first two months on tour. The second and third phases follow the same basic formula. A good part of the story is Ryan getting really philosophical. In quotes like “Without war there can’t be peace” He says that being involved in war really opened his eyes to things like that. In terms of setting, it is a true story, so the setting is about as realistic as it gets. The places in which the story takes place in is rather varied though: first he was deployed to Iraq, than he flew to Kuwait, and then convoyed into Iraq. While he was in Iraq he was only stationed at a few places. In his location in Iraq it got 130 degrees during the day, and dropped to almost 20 degrees at night. He talks about many of the daily routines and many other things. Impressively he appears to cover most- if not all aspects to War. which is rather impressive. Although I would say that the characters are all only alright. However this story is nonfiction so if you're writing a story about slightly boring people that oh well. They are believable however. But honestly you can't exactly critique the characters in a nonfiction book. The author probably did the best with what he had to work with. The main character is Ryan Smithson and he’s fine. Small for his size, and kinda nerdy looking. When he sees the World Trade Center fall he immediately wants to join the military. He marries his girlfriend and then leaves to go fight. His parents are parents, and every other character is just meh. The author tells the story of his platoon overseas, they are the ones who work to rebuild the country and make it safer for other citizens and troops, they are the people who interact with the poorer people of Iraq. Not the soldiers who bust down doors, guns a’ blazin looking for weapons caches and overall being awesome. It begins with Ryan reacting to the events of 9/11 and going off to fight. It tells the story of him being there (which I won’t spoil) and it ends with him returning home after living in a combat zone, and using writing to recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or P.T.S.D. The story focuses greatly on the human side of war. Some of the most moving parts of the story are parts when they interact with Iraqi children, who are incredibly grateful for things that seem trivial and easy to get to us, li
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book make me apriciate my freedom evan more. Makes me want tl join the army evan more.
Nookrules1 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I have read countless books about various wars. Most books focus on the "heros" the Spec Ops guys,(SEALS, TEIR 1) or the big battles or missions. This book give you a really good understanding of what the average GI goes through when they are depoyled to a combat zone. I never serviced, but talking with a number of my friends that have this book rings true to their experinces. The struggle he went through coming home after his deployment is what alot of my friends have went through to one degree or another. Highly recommend reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If everyone could read this book, they'd come to understand that being President is not all glamor and glory....but very hard work!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dam terrist osoma bin bromen
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Ghosts of War was almost an inspiring book, it taught you a few life lessons and how to handle disipline. It also showed how tough boot camp can be, in the book Ryan Smithson is a 19 year old GI and he goes to the army. He starts off by explaining the prosess odf boot camp. Through out the book he gives the reader an idea of how war is. Or at lease a general idea. I think the book "Ghosts of war" was a great Non-Fiction book, I really liked how the author Ryan Smithson told the story from his point of view since the book was about his experience in the war and the process he went threw. That included the boot camp process and how that effected him as a person and made him into a man.Something I did not like about the book was it was too long for wat needed to be explained to get his point across. somethings I did like is the fluency and Smithson gave some pictures in the middle of the book that were actually taken while he was in Iraq. Another thing I really thought was interesting is his writting style. I would recommend this book too other people if they are into the content of this book. it does have some inapropriate language but other then that it is worth reading.