Tuesday, 15 October 2019
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They were soldiers

As the War Widows Association with their bouquet of white chrysanthemums leads the UK's national annual commemoration for the war dead at The Cenotaph in London, Elayne Jude, Senior Research Associate of the U K Defence Forum, reviews They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars - The Untold Story by Ann Jones published Dispatch Books/Haymarket Books, 2013

This book is an important and timely document. It follows US soldiers from the moment of death or 'catastrophic injury', back to the field hospital at Bagram, on to the regional medical centre at Landstuhl, Germany, home to hospital and lengthy rehab, or the dolorous journey in a metal casket to Dover Air Base; and on, to the long-lasting consequences of deployment, for the soldiers, their families, and their nation. It's a lucid, clear-eyed and compassionate piece of long form investigative journalism, as disturbing to read as it is impossible to put aside, its emotional impact amplified by its refusal to grandstand or manipulate. Quietly, steadily, with impeccable and remorseless logic, the author debunks the mythologising of soldiering by a pathologically militarised culture; America, our cousins.

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