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  • By julie failla earhart
    Oct 15, 2009
    "A Must-Read for all Americans!" I'll admit that I have no idea whether or not the American military should be in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm not that smart about such matters. But we're there and some of the most honest real- time war literature has come from our military personnel while stationed over there. Such is the wonderful collection of essays, Afghanistan Diary, written by the now-retired Lieutenant Colonel Stephen McAllister, USAF. This collection started out as a need for McAllister to write more than "Dear folks" letters to those back home. And this powerful collection may not have ever seen the light of day if the Air Force hadn't turned a 90-day deployment into an eight-month stay. So, a tip of the hat is certainly due the Air Force for this marvelous collection. Not really letters, each piece is a reflection, a comment, an observation made by McAllister during his stay. Some of the pieces, like Porta-Johns are incredibly funny; I couldn't help but... More > think that it would have made a great M*A*S*H episode. Others, like "So That Others May Live," will leave you in tears and wonder how can anyone come back from there with his/her psyche left intact. I guess what makes this collection, to me, so personal is that it puts a real face on our soldiers and what they are going through and accomplishing. This isn't the nightly news. Take "Adopt-a-Village" and "Valentine Cards" for examples. Each will simultaneously make you puff your chest out with pride and stand back in awe at what these brave people are doing. One piece, "Observation" where McAllister and his son, Brian, argue about the nature of the war is immensely personal yet speaks to my questions about what is going on here and over there. Some pieces make me want to visit Afghanistan on vacation once the shooting stops; McAllister illustrates the country's incredible beauty. Others, like "TIC" leaving me shaking my head in disbelief and shock. Two of the essays, "TIC" and "Force Provider" were published in Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Homefront, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families, which is more real-time war literature. After reading Afghanistan Diary and Operation Homecoming, I don't understand why this war isn't the lead story of the nightly news every night. So few are giving up so much so that we can complain in luxury. Maybe one of the channels should do what ABC did during the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979. They created "Nightline." We need another "Nightline," or make both these books required reading for book clubs and high school seniors across this great land. But that's only my opinion.< Less
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Product Details

Stephen McAllister
October 27, 2007
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.75 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
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