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Unlike the multitude of reports heard during the war from embedded journalists, Atkinson's experience as a war historian provides a depth to our troops' experience during the war. While I was initially hoping for a more detailed summary of the war as a whole, as in Atkinson's brilliant Crusade (about the '91 Gulf War), this view from the 101st Airborne's perspective is still captivating. Unfortunately, the abridgement prevents the book from being completely engrossing. Whole chapters are skipped, with a separate narrator providing a summary. The book still flows reasonably well, but it's a pain to have things keep fast-forwarding all the time.
Only a few portions of the book, primarily the last chapter, deal with WMD and other potentially "policital" topics. Here Atkinson occasionally does insert commentary, but it generally feels like that of a historian's analysis. For the most part, it's a review of facts - for example, WMD weren't found and Iraq - Atkinson hardly "sneers" over this.
I wish it weren't abridged, and I hope he writes a Crusade-style book on the full war, but this one is still well worth a listen.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
No doubt this Pulitzer Prize winner (An Army at Dawn) knows how to write. He also is a solid narrator. One gets a sense of what it was like to be in boots on the ground, though Atkinson was embedded with military leadership, so it's not the Ernie Pyle account of the dogface. But, it's good writing, good narration, and gives one a perspective of the uncertainties of war and the need for innovative and imaginative leadership at all levels. For someone looking for more extensive discourse on whether we should be in Iraq, find another book, but don't skip this one altogether. It definitely expands one's perspective on the war.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful