Reviewed by Jenna Arthur

Imagine being in a war camp, surrounded by bullets and battles, planned fist fights, and a ceremony known as “blood in blood out”. Imagine this being your own country’s war camp and imagine being there by choice. Then take a step back for a moment, picture yourself hiding behind your comrades as the enemy fast approaches, watching someone you’ve gotten to know very well take a bullet to the head. This is the picture painted by Sebastian Junger and delivered in his memoir WAR.

Junger is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and has written several pieces about dangerous subjects. However, little can compare to what he experienced in Afghanistan. Along with his photographer Tim, Junger embedded himself within a war zone for 15 months, taping and photographing 150 hours of footage of the fight for the Korengal Valley.

Junger followed a platoon of American soldiers through the Korengal Valley, also known as the Valley of Death, in hopes of bringing the reality of war to Americans at home. Wanting to allow the reader, or in my case listener (I listed to the audio book), to live and see the truth behind the battles, he paints a picture of what war felt like, smelled like, tasted like through blood, sweat, honor and fear. Going through interviews with soldiers, he listens as they describe battles within themselves: drinking, violence, and fights against each other, in preparation for the fight with the indescribable. Painting a clear picture of the truth behind war, Junger spares us no detail of our soldiers’ deaths, the tactics and intelligence used by our enemy, and the bravery that every one of our soldiers must master at every turn.

Highly emotionally charged and disturbing, WAR by Sebastian Junger is a book (or audio book) I recommend for every American. You don’t understand war until you have heard it, pictured it, lived it.

Rating: 5/5

Jenna lives in the bustling city of Pittsburgh, PA with her fiance and her two beautiful cats. Along with her passion for reading and the literary world, she is also an artist, writer, environmental activist, creative coordinator and aspiring culinary genius. She believes there is nothing better to her then a good book, and lives one cover to the next.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Twelve Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.