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The Savage War: The Untold Battles of Afghanistan Hardcover – Jan 25 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 8 edition (Jan. 25 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118115937
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118115930
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 16 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #116,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Ovenbird on Dec 18 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is not a military history of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. While you will read about some of the things that Canadian soldiers did at the operational and tactical level, if you are looking for a campaign history of Op ARCHER/ATHENA you will be disappointed. If, however, you want to know why they were there and why they ultimately left then this is the only book on the topic worth reading.

Mr. Brewster's multiple trips to Afghanistan as an embedded and unembedded reporter combine with his significant experience in the Canadian capital to produce an in-depth look at the strategic impetus behind the mission. The Savage War has a unique roller-coaster feel to it as Mr. Brewster will on one page be discussing the highest-level cabinet discussions and then be detailing his own absurd adventures in Kanadhar City as he looks to see if the rationale matches the reality. To be certain, there are moments where Mr. Brewster's opinions are on display, but he never suggests that they are anything but opinions and -more importantly- they are informed opinions.

It is far too early for a definitive account of the miliary mission at the operational level to be written as there is still too much emotion invested in the experience. The few books that have so far tried to describe the larger mission (with the exception of Christie Blatchford's work which focuses on individuals and Mark Gasparotto's book which is devoid of sophistry) are wishful tribute pieces at best. Mr. Brewster's book is probably the first one to attempt to cross the threshold into the sort of dispassionate analysis required to truly understand the past and as such it is, and will likely remain, an important book on the Canadian mission to Afghanintan.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve on Oct. 21 2011
Format: Hardcover
Brewster's book centres on the Canadian effort in Afghanistan since 2005, but he paints a vivid picture of Afghanistan and its people that make it a compelling read to anyone interested in the region. It also provides a blow by blow no holds barred account of the government and military decision making process and show the extent Canada was unprepared to jump into the boiling cauldron it ended up in. It's the kind of book you'll read more than once.
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Format: Hardcover
The first thing that struck me about Murray Brewster's "The Savage War" is how much it attempts to sound like Michael Herr's "Dispatches" (Random House, 1968), probably the best reporter's-eye view of troops in war since WW II. Herr was a freelance reporter in Vietnam, and his elegant and deeply moving use of the second person takes you right into the scenes and conversations he is recounting.

In The Savage War, Brewster doesn't just emulate Dispatches, he paraphrases entire passages from it and freely borrows Herr's images--such as describing a group of exhausted troops after action looking like "stroke victims." I don't know if such borrowing can be called plagiarism, but it must be at least very close to it. Whatever it is in legal terms, it put me off from the start. Writing in the second person requires skill and sensibility that Brewster seems to lack: in one of many examples, "As you went into April" sounds strange and inappropriate.

Technically, the book is very poorly written and cries out for a capable editor. We learn that Brewster "poured over a set of documents." A number of sentences are simply missing words and are therefore incomplete. His imagery and metaphors are quirky to say the least (he heard "a muffle of explosions" and looked out over the "eviscerated" Arghandab River). Both he and everyone else he mentions was "stopped in his tracks" numerous times--as if a dramatic phrase would somehow keep its power through endless repetition.

Brewster's personal impressions of Afghanistan are informative and interesting, to a point; however, they convey little more than every other account I have read, and usually a great deal less.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is good to hear a reporters view on the war and there experiences. It is part of my study of the war in Afghanistan.
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By Hostile on June 30 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Afghanistan is brought into a new view through
Murrays excellact journalism, how he caputers the real moments are fellow troops go through each patrol. Awesome look into the afghan war.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Louise on Oct. 20 2011
Format: Hardcover
What a great faced paced read. What makes this book so fantastic is the new way the author connects experiences, characters and politics to let the reader into the life of a journalist. This heart wrenching story of peoples lives in that God foresaken land is amazing. How isolating and scary to be a journalist in Afghanistan... looking evil in the eye all the time...its sometimes heart wrenching following the stories of peoples lives under the watchful gaze of a suspecious military. The Savage War: The Untold Battles of Afghanistan
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Leeze on Feb. 27 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is fantastic. Beautifully written with vidid descriptions that transport you to Afghanistan.
An in depth and heartbreaking look into both a region of the earth and a war that seem frozen in time.
The author finds humour in an impossible conflict and writes with respect for the soldiers and Afghans.
You won't forget this book.
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