Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq by Jason Christopher Hartley
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This is not your father's war
This is Iraq, where a soldier's first duty is reinforcing his Humvee with sheet metal and sand bags. Or, in the absence of plumbing, burning barrels of human waste. Where any dead dog on the side of the road might be concealing an insurgent's bomb and anyone could be the enemy.
At age 17, Jason Christopher Hartley joined the Army National Guard. Thirteen years later, he is called to active duty, to serve in Iraq. Sent to a town called Ad Dujayl, made notorious by Saddam Hussein's 1982 massacre, Hartley is thrust into the center of America's war against terrorism. This is his story.
"If you are distrustful of the media and want to know exactly what's going on in Iraq, you'll have to pray for divine enlightenment, because only god knows what the hell is going on over here. However, if you want to know how it feels to be a soldier in Iraq, to hear something honest and raw, that I can help you with."
Sometimes profane, often poignant, and always nakedly candid, Just Another Soldier takes the reader past the images seen on CNN and the nightly news, into the day to day reality of life on the ground as an infantryman, attached to the 1st Division, in the first war of the 21st century. From the adrenaline rush of storming a suspected insurgent's house, to the sheer boredom of down time on the base, to the horror of dead civilians, Hartley examines his role as a man, as a soldier and as an American on foreign soil. His quest to discover the balance between his compassionate side and his baser instincts, results in a searing portrait of today's Army and a remarkable personal narrative written in a fresh and exciting new voice. Just Another Soldier is more than a war story; it delivers an intimate look at a generation of young men and women on the front lines of American policy.
Whether you're for or against the war in Iraq, this is essential reading.