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The Forever War

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The Forever War

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From the front lines of the battle against Islamic fundamentalism, a searing, unforgettable audiobook that captures the human essence of the greatest conflict of our time. Through the eyes of Dexter...
From the front lines of the battle against Islamic fundamentalism, a searing, unforgettable audiobook that captures the human essence of the greatest conflict of our time. Through the eyes of Dexter...
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Description-
  • From the front lines of the battle against Islamic fundamentalism, a searing, unforgettable audiobook that captures the human essence of the greatest conflict of our time. Through the eyes of Dexter Filkins, the prize-winning New York Times correspondent, we witness the remarkable chain of events that began with the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, continued with the attacks of 9/11, and moved on to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Filkins’s narrative moves across a vast and various landscape of amazing characters and astonishing scenes: a public amputation performed by the Taliban, children frolicking in minefields, skies streaked white by the contrails of B-52’s, a night’s sleep in the rubble of Ground Zero. We venture into a torture chamber run by Saddam Hussein.  We go into the homes of suicide bombers, meet Iraqi insurgents, and an American captain who loses a quarter of his men in eight days.

    The Forever War allows us a visceral understanding of today’s battlefields and of the experiences of the people on the ground, warriors and innocents alike.  It is a brilliant, fearless work, not just about America’s wars after 9/11, but ultimately about the nature of war itself.


    From the Compact Disc edition.
 
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  • From the book

    Only This

    They led the man to a spot at the middle of the field. A soccer field, grass, with mainly dirt around the center where the players spent most of the game. There was a special section for the handicapped on the far side, a section for women. The orphans were walking up and down the bleachers on my side selling candy and cigarettes.

    A couple of older men carried whips. They wore grenade launchers on their backs.

    The people are coming, a voice was saying into the loudspeaker, and the voice was right, the people were streaming in and taking their seats. Not with any great enthusiasm, as far as I could tell; they were kind of shuffling in. I probably had more enthusiasm than anybody. I had a special seat; they'd put me in the grass at the edge of the field. In America, I would have been on the sidelines, at the fifty yard line with the coaches. Come sit with us, they'd said; you are our honored guest.

    A white Toyota Hi-Lux drove onto the field and four men wearing green hoods climbed out of the back. There was a fifth man, a prisoner, no hood, sitting in the bed of the truck. The hooded men laid their man in the grass just off midfield, flat on his back, and crouched around him. It was hard to see. The man on his back was docile; there was no struggle at all. The voice on the loudspeaker said he was a pickpocket.

    "Nothing that is being done here is against God's law," the voice said.

    The green hoods appeared busy, and one of them stood up. He held the man's severed right hand in the air, displaying it for the crowd. He was holding it up by its middle finger, moving in a semicircle so everyone could see. The handicapped and the women. Then he pulled his hood back, revealing his face, and he took a breath. He tossed the hand into the grass and gave a little shrug.

    I couldn't tell if the pickpocket had been given any sort of anesthesia. He wasn't screaming. His eyes were open very wide, and as the men with the hoods lifted him back into the bed of the Hi-Lux, he stared at the stump of his hand. I took notes the whole time.

    I looked back at the crowd, and it was remarkably calm, unfeeling almost, which wasn't really surprising, after all they'd been through. A small drama with the orphans was unfolding in the stands; they were getting crazy and one of the guards was beating them with his whip.

    "Get back," he was saying, drawing the whip over his head. The orphans cowered.

    I thought that was it, but as it turned out the amputation was just a warm-up. Another Toyota Hi-Lux, this one ma-roon, rumbled onto midfield carrying a group of long-haired men with guns. The long hair coming out of their white turbans. They had a blindfolded man with them. The Taliban were known for a lot of things and the Hi-Lux was one, jacked up and fast and menacing; they had conquered most of the country with them. You saw a Hi-Lux and you could be sure that something bad was going to happen soon.

    "The people are coming!" the voice said again into the speaker, louder now and more excited. "The people are coming to see, with their own eyes, what sharia means."

    The men with guns led the blindfolded man from the truck and walked him to midfield and sat him down in the dirt. His head and body were wrapped in a dull gray blanket, all of a piece. Seated there in the dirt at midfield at the Kabul Sports Stadium, he didn't look much like a man at all, more like a sack of flour. In that outfit, it was difficult even to tell which way he was facing. His name was Atiqullah, one of the Talibs said.

    The man who had pulled his hood back was standing at midfield, facing the crowd. The voice on the loudspeaker introduced him...

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine THE FOREVER WAR reads like a reporter's notebook as author Dexter Filkins gives listeners the small, intimate stories of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps because of its human scale, the graphic sections depicting the impact of war on real people can be difficult to listen to. The overall series of vignettes is perfect for audiobook presentation as the listener can dip in and out at will. Robertson Dean narrates in a clear, objective manner that mirrors the author's clear, objective reporting. Dean's straightforward delivery is particularly effective during the raw battle scenes, for which drama is unnecessary. Filkins's book is well worth a listen. M.O.B. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
  • The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2008

    "Harrowingly detailed . . . Filkins makes us see, with almost hallucinogenic immediacy, the true human meaning and consequences of the 'war on terror.'"

  • Time Best Nonfiction Books of 2008 "The gaping wounds of Iraq and Afghanistan have produced a torrent of words, but no single volume so far has the precision and power of The Forever War . . . Filkins' set pieces have the absolute clarity of lightning flashes that burn away the fog of war."
  • USA Today 10 Best Books of 2008 "Not since Michael Herr in Dispatches . . . has a reporter written as vividly about combat as Filkins does from Afghanistan and Iraq."

  • -Los Angeles Times Favorite Books 2008
    "Filkins's meticulously constructed vignettes . . . illuminate and humanize the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan."
  • The Boston Globe's Year's Best Books "The Forever War . . . achieves a gripping, raw immediacy."
  • Washington Post Book World Best Nonfiction of 2008 "Splendid."
  • Dave Eggers, Guardian Best Books of the Year
    "Dexter Filkins's The Forever War is the best piece of war journalism I've ever read. He paints a portrait of war that is so nuanced, so filled with absurdities and heartbreak and unexpected heroes and villains, that it makes most of what we see and hear about Iraq and Afghanistan seem shrill and two-dimensional by comparison. And yet, as tragic as the events he describes are, the book manages to be a thing of towering beauty."

  • -George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq
    "The Forever War is already a classic--it has the timeless feel of all great war literature. Dexter Filkins's combination of courage and sensitivity is so rare that books like his come along only once every major war. This one is ours."
  • Jeffrey Goldberg, author of Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across t "Dexter Filkins is the preeminent war correspondent of my generation, fearless, compassionate, and brutally honest. The Forever War is his astonishing story. It is one of the best books about war that I have ever read. It will stay with me forever."
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