Academic journal article Military Review

THE BLOG OF WAR: Frontline Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

Academic journal article Military Review

THE BLOG OF WAR: Frontline Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

Article excerpt

THE BLOG OF WAR: Frontline Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, Matthew Currier Burden, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2006, 282 pages, $21.00.

Back in the day, Soldiers used to communicate from the frontline by mail, or what we today call snail mail. Now, technology enables service-members to communicate by e-mail or by posting accounts of their exploits on blogs. They are increasingly doing the latter; in fact, there is a veritable tidal wave of blogs detailing the unvarnished feelings Soldiers have about their experiences in the combat zone. Matthew Burden's new book, The Blog of War, saves the reader the time and trouble of surfing through these endless sites in search of the most interesting details and anecdotes about service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For anyone who has served in the military, many of the experiences the book reprises will be familiar: the awkward goodbyes, the intense camaraderie, the looking out for fellow Soldiers. What may not be familiar are the innermost feelings of those who have been exposed to continuous violence in a harsh environment or seen the horror of sudden, violent death. In an effort, perhaps, to show our common humanity, Burden balances the harsher blog entries with those about the social (nonviolent) interactions between U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi citizens. But it's the Soldiers' reactions to violence that really stand out. A great part of our fascination with war memoirs stems from our need to know how otherwise ordinary men and women cope with extraordinary pressure and the prospect of instant death. …

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