An important look at the unspoken and unknown truths of war and its impact, told through the personal stories of those who have been there.
In The Things They Cannot Say, 11 soldiers and marines display a rare courage that transcends battlefield heroics - they share the truth about their wars. For each of them it means something different: one struggles to recover from a head injury he believes has stolen his ability to love; another attempts to make amends for the killing of an innocent man; yet another finds respect for the enemy fighter who tried to kill him.
Award-winning journalist and author Kevin Sites asks the difficult questions of these combatants, many of whom he first met while in Afghanistan and Iraq and others he sought out from different wars: What is it like to kill? What is it like to be under fire? How do you know what’s right? What can you never forget?
Sites compiles the accounts of soldiers, marines, and their families and friends, and also shares the unsettling narrative of his own failures during war - including complicity in a murder - and the redemptive powers of storytelling in arresting a spiraling path of self-destruction.
He learns that war both gives and takes from those most intimately involved in it. Some struggle in perpetual disequilibrium; others find balance, usually with the help of communities who have learned to listen, without judgment, to the real stories of the men and women sent to fight their battles.
Kevin Sites has covered global war and disasters for NBC, ABC, CNN, and other national networks. He has received numerous awards, including the 2006 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism.
"Whether stationed in sultry jungles, urban streets, or rugged mountains, soldiers are asked to endure intense physical and mental traumas, and while common threads weave throughout these stories, each is unique…. But these gripping stories do not equal 'an indictment against hope'; they are evidence of a profound desire to heal." (Publishers Weekly)
"Veterans from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan—including Sites himself as a war correspondent—tell their tales of the struggle to survive on and after the battlefield…. An important book for warriors and the communities that send them to war." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A grim, often horrifying portrait of the trauma of modern warfare, which, inevitably, leaves scars, seen and unseen, on participants…. This is tough stuff, as many of the experiences recounted here are graphic, cruel, and bloody, but they offer an intimate look at the costs of war on a personal, elemental level." (Booklist)
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Fairly Disjointed and hard to follow at times
I know this book is a collection of stories but its more like an over arching story with smaller stories in it. Gets hard to follow.
I liked how not only did it talk about the bad part of military action (PTSD etc.) but also the good side and how some people have adopted the military as their family.
- Russell L. Mercer