From the front lines of the battle against Islamic fundamentalism, a searing, unforgetable book that captures the human essence of the greatest conflict of our time. Through the eyes of Dexter Filkins, the prize-winning New York Times correspondent, we witness the remarkable chain of events that began with the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, continued with the attacks of 9/11, and moved on to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Filkins’s narrative moves across a vast and various landscape of amazing characters and astonishing scenes: a public amputation performed by Taliban, children frolicking in minefields, skies streaked white by the contrails of B-52’s, a night’s sleep in the rubble of Ground Zero. We venture into a torture chamber run by Saddam Hussein. We go into the homes of suicide bombers, meet Iraqi insurgents, and an American captain who loses a quarter of his men in eight days.
Like no other book, The Forever War allows us a visceral understanding of today’s battlefields and of the experiences of the people on the ground, warriors and innocents alike. It is a brilliant, fearless work, not just about America’s wars after 9/11, but ultimately about the nature of war itself.
Dexter Filkins reported from Afghanistan for the Los Angeles Times and from Iraq for The New York Times. To call him a frontline reporter would be to diminish his work; for the most part he was not embedded in the U.S. Army -- dangerous as that was -- but rather embedded in both Iraq and the United States. He went out to the villages and to the countryside, talking to tribal leaders, village elders, and all the men and women (and children) he could engage. Unlike the stud scuds of the first conflict with Iraq, secure in their rear echelon hotels, and unlike the pundits and theorists, ensconced in their Washington think tanks, Filkins learned everything he has to tell us about the wars and occupations in these lands from firsthand experience -- often near-death experiences.