In the tradition of Michael Herr's Dispatches and works by such masters of the memoir as Mary Karr and Tobias Wolff, a powerful account of war and homecoming that grabs readers by the throat even as it touches their hearts.
Brian Castner served three tours of duty in the Middle East, two of them as the commander of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Iraq. Days and nights he and his team - his brothers - would venture forth in heavily armed convoys from their Forward Operating Base to engage in the nerve-racking yet strangely exhilarating work of either disarming the deadly improvised explosive devices that had been discovered, or picking up the pieces when the alert came too late. They relied on an army of remote-controlled cameras and robots, but if that technology failed, a technician would have to don the eighty-pound Kevlar suit, take the Long Walk up to the bomb, and disarm it by hand. This lethal game of cat and mouse was, and continues to be, the real war within America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But The Long Walk is not just about battle itself. It is also an unflinching portrayal of the toll war exacts on the men and women who are fighting it. When Castner returned home to his wife and family, he began a struggle with a no less insidious foe, an unshakable feeling of fear and confusion and survivor's guilt that he terms The Crazy. His thrilling, heartbreaking, stunningly honest book immerses the reader in two harrowing and simultaneous realities: the terror and excitement and camaraderie of combat, and the lonely battle against the enemy within - the haunting memories that will not fade, the survival instincts that will not switch off. After enduring what he has endured, can there ever again be such a thing as "normal"? The Long Walk will hook you from the very first sentence, and it will stay with you long after its final gripping page has been turned.
"The Long Walk is a raw, wrenching, blood-soaked chronicle of the human cost of war. Brian Castner, the leader of a military bomb disposal team, recounts his deployment to Iraq with unflinching candor, and in the process exposes crucial truths not only about this particular conflict, but also about war throughout history. Castner's memoir brings to mind Erich Maria Remarque's masterpiece, All Quiet on the Western Front." (Jon Krakauer, author of Where Men Win Glory)
"Castner has written a powerful book about the long cost of combat and the brotherhood of men at arms. Remarkably, he has made the world of the EOD entertaining, occasionally hilarious, and always harrowing. His honesty is refreshing and the book is written with such candor and openness that one can't help but root for him. And did I mention that it is entertaining? There were scenes at work with the bomb disposal unit where I found myself holding my breath." (Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead)
"Do you want to know a little something about our war in Iraq? Begin with The Long Walk, Brian Castner's elegant, superbly written story about the bomb-disposal guys. As you read think of Alan Sillitoe's The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner. Castner gives us that steady rhythm of one foot in front of the other. Think of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. Here is the reality of the exhausted mind, and of profound thought wandering all Creation: this is what I saw, this is what I did, this is what I have become. It's the story of the long walk out, as they say, from the Humvee to the bomb in the street, and the long look back." (Larry Heinemann, author of the National Book Award-winning Paco's Story, and Close Quarters)
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Heart wrenching and a compelling read
Yes -- read by the author and with feeling so better than reading the book
The emotion of the narrator/author made this true story much more real than just reading the book.
He was very articulate and his emotion could be felt as he read his book.
A story we all need to hear !!
The author lives in my general community and I know someone who is familiar with his family. I can only imagine what his entire family and friends have been through. Brian is one of thousands of soldiers who have and are going through similar experiences and it breaks my heart that we, as a society, are so unaware.
- J. Masters
A Great Tale of Triumph and Terror
I absolutely LOVED how candid this brave soldier is! He tells it like it is - like it or not! The story is complete - it's about his battles after his return from Iraq just as much as it is about his battles in the war itself. It's HUMAN!
The Sandbox, Birdie - stories where the emotional impact of war and violence are a very large part of the story.
His voice and inflection really contributed to the feeling that Brian was telling his own story, from his own perspective. It doesn't mean that his story is every soldier's story by any means - the story is entirely HIS.
to Iraq and Back, the story of returning home again and again.
- Amazon Customer