Academic journal article Military Review

My Life as A Foreign Country: A Memoir

Academic journal article Military Review

My Life as A Foreign Country: A Memoir

Article excerpt


Brian Turner, WW. Norton & Company, New York, 2014, 224 pages

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have generated many personal memoirs and will continue to do so. Many of these memoirs have clearly captured the human dimension of the wars. Others have been crafted in ways that provide readers with distinctive perspectives of war. To date, I have not found any which combine both of these aspects as well as Brian Turner's superb memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country.

The foundation for Turner's memoir is his tour in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. During that period, Sgt. Turner served as an infantry team leader in the 2nd Infantry Division. From this foundation, he expands into various other aspects of his life and those of others. It is a view which readers will find unique in regard to other war memoirs they may have read.

The uniqueness of Turner's volume lies in many areas. First, Turner is a highly acclaimed poet. He has received much praise for his previously published books of poetry focused on the impact of war. Because of his talents in crafting poetry, every word he utilizes seems to have meaning. Consequently, I found myself slowly digesting each paragraph and page. It is clearly one of the best written volumes I have read in many years.

Second, throughout his memoir, he interweaves the military experiences of his family. He relives his father's experiences during the Cold War. He retells the stories of his uncle, who fought in Vietnam. He re-creates the actions of his grandfather during World War II. …

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