Anatomy of a Soldier

  • by Harry Parker
  • Narrated by Peter Altschuler, Paul Boehmer, Jonathan Cowley, Susan Duerden, full cast
  • 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Anatomy of a Soldier is a stunning first novel - of patriotism, heroism, and profound humanism - that will immediately take its place among the classics about what it truly means to be at war.
Let's imagine a man called Captain Tom Barnes, aka BA5799, who's leading British troops in the war zone. And two boys growing up together there, sharing a prized bicycle and flying kites before finding themselves estranged once foreign soldiers appear in their countryside. And then there's the man who trains one of them to fight against the other's father and all these infidel invaders. Then imagine the family and friends who radiate out from these lives, people on all sides of this conflict where virtually everyone is caught up in the middle of something unthinkable.
But then regard them not as they see themselves but as all the objects surrounding them do: shoes and boots, a helmet, a bag of fertilizer, a medal, a beer glass, a snowflake, dog tags, and a horrific improvised explosive device that binds them all together by blowing one of them apart - 45 different narrators in all, including the multiple medical implements subsequently required to keep Captain Barnes alive.
The result is a novel that reveals not only an author with a striking literary talent and intelligence but also the lives of people - whether husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter - who are parts of this same heart-stopping journey. A work of extraordinary humanity and hope created out of something hopeless and dehumanizing, it makes art out of pain and suffering and takes its place in a long and rich line of novels that articulate the lives that soldiers lead. In the boom of an instant, and in decades of very different lives and experiences, we see things we've never understood so clearly before.
List of narrators:
Peter Altschuler
Paul Boehmer
Jonathan Cowley
Susan Duerden
Jayne Entwistle
Jean Gilpin
Kirby Heyborne
Gildart Jackson
John Lee
Bruce Mann
Katharine McEwan
Rob Shapiro
Nicholas Guy Smith
Steve West


What the Critics Say

"A gripping wartime story boldly and creatively told.... Parker is invested in expressing the particulars of war with surprising intimacy, and the unique structure with multiple viewpoints ultimately reveals harsh truths about the countless cogs in the machine of war.... Parker's unflinching tone lends the novel its lasting power." (Publishers Weekly)
"This debut novel chronicles a soldier's maiming and recovery with an inventiveness that in no way mitigates war's searing heartbreak - or the spirit's indomitability.... Parker's storytelling device of using objects as his narrators intensifies the reader's focus on the human emotions.... You couldn't call this novel an antiwar tract... But you could certainly label it a pro-understanding work of art - and those may be more in need right now than ever before." (Kirkus Reviews)
"An arresting and unconventional first novel.... Anatomy of a Soldier is disorienting but deeply compelling." (Booklist )


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Really enjoyed this approach

Would you listen to Anatomy of a Soldier again? Why?

Yes. Each of the 45 inanimate objects provided a unique and interested perspective in telling this compelling story of hardship, warfare and overcoming setbacks of a combat soldier. Really appreciated the different actors portrayals of these objects.

What other book might you compare Anatomy of a Soldier to and why?

Red Platoon and Kidnapped By the Taliban are also excellent books regarding Afghanistan.

Which scene was your favorite?

Too many to list them all. But, the bicycle, the battery, the plate carrier and the bullet do come to mind.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I could really picture myself in the scenes. The razor chapter was very touching as it was between BA5799 and his father It really displayed the love and care a father has for his beloved son.

Any additional comments?

Very entertaining and was a great story of overcoming hardship and the way inanimate objects support our daily lives.

Read full review

- Kent

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-17-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio