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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on June 3, 2016
This book really opened my eyes to some of the things/scenarios/life as a Canadian military man/woman in Afghanistan. My spouse spent three tours there, and i never knew more than half the stuff the book informs us on. I wish the author would write a book about all the guys/women who died there in our Military...to correct what the media and people got wrong, and to honour their memories. Well done
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on January 14, 2008
I wasn't there and won't be. The warfare that I trained for, was to be in Europe fighting the Soviets. Having experienced the camaraderie of units within the forces, I feel for the young men and women on tour in Kandahar. The book brings forward compelling descriptions of the combat, fellowship, frustration, fearlessness and professionalism of our Canadians. Christie may not have gotten to talk to every soldier over there but I'm certain that she would have wanted to if it weren't for being paralyzed in fear in the back of a LAV. Maybe it isn't what some would have said or would have wanted to be told but for the 'folks' back home it brings the war to the doorstep. I'm proud to be a Canadian, but I'm even prouder after reading about the soldiering by these brave young men and women. I highly recommend the book. I truthfully couldn't put it down until I had finished it.
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on December 31, 2007
this is a great book for canadians to read to see what we face over there but .... not all of her stories are accurate ... christie only talked to certain soldiers to write this book ... and some of her descriptions of what happened to us on certain days , are not accurate at all .... "OUTSIDE THE WIRE " is a much more in depth and more accurate book from all angles and is actually wrote by the soldiers and not by a reporter ..... it is published by random house and can be bought on here or in any book store accross the country .
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I took on this book because I wanted to be better informed as to what the Canadian mission in Afghanistan is all about. While the names of the fallen and injured in Blatchford's account are well-known to most of us - most prominently the gallantry of Captain Goddard - through news services like CTV and CBC, the stories of their singular efforts may not be. Blatchford, a seasoned and savvy journalist, decided in 2006 to break out of the typical mould of an embedded reporter who hung around base, and connect with the troops on a more compelling, personal plane. What she discovered was both fascinating and revealing. These men and women are both dedicated to and trained for the mission of rooting out the Taliban from southern Afghanistan. Facing death every moment of the day, soldiers of the Princess Pats regiment - commissioned and regular - do their job with a strong sense of respect for vicissitudes of war, the needs of the local inhabitants, and the emotional burdens of each other. This book is the full-meal deal as far as we, Canadians, are going to get without being there ourselves. War is brutal but it also has a wonderful way of bringing together people in a common cause. While Blatchford never tries to soft-soap the reasons for Canada being in this war zone, she lets it be known that Canadians need to see what an incredible difference their soldiers are making on foreign soil. All is not doom and gloom as portrayed in those too-often-repeated ramp ceremonies and military funerals back home. One might be slightly critical as to how the book was laid out in terms of the fifteen days of death, but this is not the time or the place to take issue with such a picayune matter. A great collection of heroic stories told from many different angles.
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on December 11, 2007
You won't regret diving into this book. Obviously the author had life changing experiences there and it comes through on every page. Clear also that she has a tremendous respect for our soldiers, and why the hell not. Very solid read. This was the first book I've ever read in my life that once finished, I immediately started reading again. I found it an emotional read; the book's characters visting my dreams at night. To flog the old cliché, I laughed and I cried.
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on December 9, 2007
This is one of the most important books of the year, if not the most important.
Blatch describes the lives of our soldiers, and their families at home, and in theater with impeccable attention to detail and often the bluntness that no Canadian will ever get from the 2 minute sound bites on the CBC.
If you truly want an understanding of this war from the ground up, and of what it means to be a Canadian soldier, pick up this phenomenal book today.
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on December 15, 2007
Reveals the reality of the war in Afghanistan, what the troops are actually facing everyday. Finally a book about the soldiers and not the politics behind the operation in Afghanistan!! I Highly recommend this book to all, especially to soldiers deploying in the near future!
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on January 15, 2008
Fifteen Days is not a history textbook, nor, do I expect, was it ever meant to be, as some reviewers have suggested in their criticisms of the book's accuracy. Instead, Christie Blatchford gives us her perspective, and the perspectives of some of the Canadian soldiers she spent time with over the course of her three trips to Afghanistan in 2006.

The physical and psychological stress, violence, and devastation that these soldiers experienced during active combat in Afghanistan, mainly in the volatile Panjwaii district, are vividly described in Blatchford's writing. She captures combat in a very realistic, albeit, sometimes chaotic way, mimicking the chaos and catrastrophe of battle. Many of the soldiers' stories trigger outrage, pride, admiration, and sorrow. The soldiers whose stories are presented become very familiar to the reader; their personalities, strengths, and, in some cases, weaknesses, are apparent on every page of this book.

As Blatchford's title suggests, this is a book about soldiers' stories from the frontline, and on that level the book is successful. Readers will gain a better insight into many of the situations the Canadian troops are up against every time they venture out into Panjwaii and the surrounding districts in Afghanistan. [Amy MacDougall]
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on January 13, 2009
A must read by every Canadian who has a concern and an appreciation of what our Military men and women are enduring and experiencing in a foreign land.
The Ecstasy of being willingly there and sharing/living with their comrades a determination and effort to help the people of Afghanistan regain their lives and freedoms against an enemy that hides and wantonly takes lives,regardless of death and injury to even their own citizens.
The Agony of having to experience the death of their fallen comrades-at-arms, the risk and challenge of removing the injured to a safe place and the remorse felt at having to live the moments in time of repatriating their fallen comrades back to Canada and sharing the loss with the families of the fallen, including the military 'family'.
I fly a Canadian flag on my back yard pole which I move to half mast when I hear of another fallen Canadian soldier, but, after reading Blatchford's book I have mail-ordered a Canadian Armed Forces White Ensign flag to fly on these hopefully rare occurrences in his or her memory and a silent thank you to those still there and those waiting to be 'in-country'.
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on December 19, 2007
The structure of this book is, ultimately, horrifying.

I do not mean this in a negative sense at all; for each day is a day of death, the death of a highly admirable person, and once you are aware of this it becomes more and more difficult to start a new chapter. Finally, November 11th reconciles the sacrifices of both the living and the dead - an inspired chapter describing the outcome of an inspired thought.

Christie Blatchford herself is an admirable person (for a broken-down newspaper hack), but in this book she puts herself much farther in the background than one would expect from an embedded columnist... and this makes her subjects so much more luminous that it is difficult to grasp that the 'new' Canadian army is filled with people like these.

I was grateful for her reference to 'Dispatches' and to the Stone family.

I am not always taken by her writing style; I am used to her column length articles, so the chapters can feel stretched. Therefore I suggest new readers ration themselves to one chapter per day... and I further suggest to re-read each chapter on the day in question.

I certainly intend to.
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