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4.6 out of 5 stars
Outside the Wire: The War in Afghanistan in the Words of Its Participants
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 26, 2008
A truly beautiful book!

This is a collection of 17 unconnected stories from the Afghanistan theatre; as told from letters, diaries, memoirs etc. of Canadian personnel (soldiers, nurses, carpenters, doctors etc.). Some of these people did not make it back to Canada alive. Some stories are recent, other cover areas back as far a 2001.

There is something that transcends normal story telling here; mainly because the stories told are true ones. The quality of writing makes you feel the anxiety of leaving home, smell of the garbage and sewers in Kabul, feel the heat and boredom of an Afghan summer and appreciate the fear and tension of firefights in a hostile country (especially at night). Truly writing at its best.

Three things really stuck with me about this book...

1.)how virtually all participants of this book felt so much empathy towards the Afghan people and their plight.

2.)the chapters were arranged in such a way as to make you aware that some of the contributors to this book actually knew and spoke about some of the other writers (whose letters where also used in this book), who had already died or would be killed later on. I find it hard to express in words just how much this moved me when I came across one of these few occurrences.

3.)and finally, this book could easily be described as a set of 'snapshots' of how the war has changed (for the worst) over the last couple of years. And although, to a man, the writers of this book feel that they are doing some good over there, you begin to realize that with the paltry number of forces (NATO) that have been sent there, they have almost no chance of making any substantial difference in this tribal based, sectarian country.

Conclusions:
1.)A book that will make you stop reading and think.

2.)This is a book about war participants that have the qualities of good, caring human beings; who demonstrate all the emotional strengths and frailties that go with this distinctive attribute.

3.)The quality of writing, the telling of their tales will absolutely leave you stunned; but for all the right reasons.

5 Stars...more if I could

R.Nicholson
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2007
this book was way better then 15 days ..... not only was it not second hand information like christie's book ... but it was taken directly from us soldiers and the stories are wrote by the soldiers themselves not by a reporter .... great book and this book should be read by canadians before any other book on afghanistan because it truly is from the soldiers personal accounts of what we did over there ..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2013
This is a true to life and gritty collection of stories from the brave heroes who were there, on the ground during our generation's greatest feats of bravery and sacrifice on the battlefields of Afghanistan. This book will make you see the war and our Veterans in a whole new light and will give you greater appreciation and understanding of the sacrifices these men and women have made on our behalf.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2008
You must read this book and have others read it too. As a military wife I was interested in reading some books about where my husband is serving. This book really opened my eyes to the way of life of our soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The quality of writing from the people who submitted pieces are excellent. Nothing packs a bigger punch then reading first hand accounts from those who were on the ground. You will absolutely not be disappointed with this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2010
The book is a very interesting and emotional reading, because you can see the war through the eyes of various people who have been there: soldiers, doctors, a carpenter... Some are funny, some are sad, but all of them are touching, as they get you over the mainstream media view of the war.
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on April 5, 2015
This is an excelent book detailing the experiences of Canadian Troop and and their perception of the war in Afghanistan. As a serving member of The Canadian Forces who spent time in this conflict I understand some of the feelings expressed by these soldiers. I was somewhat suprised to see several stories about non-combatants and their experiences. I felt these stories lessened the overall punch of this book. All and all a very good read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2009
I bought this book because our son just finished serving a tour in Afghanistan and I wanted to understand a little better what he had gone through. I think this should be recommended reading for any family and friends of a CF member who's going to or has gone to Afghanistan. I liked the fact that it's written from several different perspectives. It gives a more indepth look at what they all go through. Some parts made me cry as I expected they would. I can't really use the word "enjoyed" when talking about my reading experience but I certainly found these accounts interesting. I'll definitely be recommending this book.
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on March 29, 2009
This book is a nice collection of vignettes of personnal experience of the war in Afghanistan from the Canadian soldiers and other personnel involved over there. It give a nice look around of what is being done and how it's going. Not only military, but also civilian work.

It's a good look into something that is not always put in the news.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2008
This is an excellent book which relates the stories from Canadian soldiers, and other brave, selfless Canadians who volunteer to go to Afghanistan and try to change things and help. Thank you for giving this book so we (canadians) can have some appreciation for what is being done overseas!!
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on May 14, 2013
some more interesting than others, different perspectives from
soldiers, officers, doctors, civilian aid workers.
Fascinating and sad at the same time, as at least two of the writers were killed.
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