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Human faces in Afghanistan...17 tales from the Kandahar war zone
on 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.
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