Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq

Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq

Article excerpt

Key, Joshua, and Lawrence Hill. The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 2007. 237pp. $23

Joshua Key is a young married man with four children who joined the U.S. Army to escape the grinding poverty of his life in Guthrie, Oklahoma. In 2003, he was deployed to Iraq with the 43rd Combat Engineer Company. At the end of seven months, Key had become so disillusioned with the Army and the Iraq war that he deserted while on leave in the United States. He ultimately made his way to Canada to ask for asylum. Lawrence Hill, a Canadian writer and journalist, put Key's story into coherent form.

Although the book is well written, it is actually hard to read, because of the U.S. Army's allegations of Key's disloyalty, dishonesty, disrespect, selfishness, dishonor, lack of integrity, and cowardice, particularly during his first deployment with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment to Iraq. Also, like others who have served for many years in the military, I find it tough to read about the wrong-headed thinking and excuses of a deserter.

Yet this is a book that we must read, if for no other reason than not to allow Private Key's allegations to go unanswered. Consider, for example, that this book sells in Costco's and is listed as one of its best sellers. …

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