The Good Soldiers

  • by David Finkel
  • Narrated by Mark Boyett
  • 11 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. He called it "the surge". "Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences," he told a skeptical nation.Among those listening were the young, optimistic Army infantry soldiers of the 2-16, the battalion nicknamed the Rangers. About to head to a vicious area of Baghdad, they decided the difference would be them. Fifteen months later, the soldiers returned home forever changed.Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel was with them in Bagdad almost every grueling step of the way. What was the true story of the surge? Was it really a success? Those are the questions he grapples with in his remarkable report from the front lines.Combining the action of Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down with the literary brio of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, The Good Soldiers is an unforgettable work of reportage. And in telling the story of these good soldiers, the heroes and the ruined, David Finkel has also produced an eternal tale - not just of the Iraq War, but of all wars, for all time.


Audible Editor Reviews

During the troop surge in Iraq in 2007, Washington Post journalist David Finkel was embedded for eight months with Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich - a determined, optimistic, inspired leader - and his unit: the 2-16 Second Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment from Fort Riley, Kansas.
The 2-16 were deployed at the time in an area of intense insurgent activity in eastern Baghdad. Finkel writes, “From the beginning I explained to [the soldiers] that my intent was to document their corner of the war, without agenda. This book, then, is that corner, unshaded.” In fact, much of the book’s success stems from the open access granted to Finkel and the soldiers’ willingness to share their stories.
Finkel casts light on virtually all aspects of the 2-16’s “corner of the war”, including unflinching descriptions of deaths, and the profoundly destructive injuries inflicted by improvised explosive devices. Finkel’s descriptions are deeply moving and in many cases profoundly disturbing. But this is war, this is what the soldiers experienced, and Finkel aims to document the sacrifices these soldiers made that enabled the surge to succeed.
The Good Soldiers, besides being a valuable and unforgettable document, honors the men of the 2-16 Second Battalion. Written as a nonfiction novel, its prose style is simple and brilliantly effective.
Relatively new to audiobook narration, actor Mark Boyett has a strong, young voice whose articulation, pace, and clarity will resonate inside a car, a hall, or your head. He easily and naturally shifts his voice from the narrator’s point of view to the words of the many people chronicled in this book. A great range of emotions is expressed in The Good Soldiers, and Boyett adeptly inhabits these characters as he gives voice to the words they express. –David Chasey


What the Critics Say

100 Notable Books of 2009 (The New York Times)

Best Books of 2009 (Publishers Weekly)

Best Nonfiction of 2009 (The Boston Globe)

Best Reads of 2009 (

Best Books of 2009: Nonfiction (Christian Science Monitor)
"Finkel's keen firsthand reportage, its grit and impact only heightened by the literary polish of his prose, gives us one of the best accounts yet of the American experience in Iraq." (Publishers Weekly)
"A superb account of the burdens soldiers bear." (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This book is amazing, but brutal

The journalist writing this book is awesome at putting this story together. A lot of the reviews talk about the repetiveness, but that was an effect the author was using to drive home particular points. I loved it and thought it was well used and totally appropriate. The narrator for this book was perfect as well. I've had good audiobooks with terrible narrators that made the listen unbearable. Not so with this book.

The subject matter is hard to digest at times. The author spares nothing and the stories he tells of the American soldiers and the Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire is heartbreaking. The people and places are real. You can google the KIA and read their tributes in the Washington Post. It makes the war very real. We all should be paying attention whats going on in the Middle East and supporting our troops no matter how we feel about the war. This book brings that home.
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- C. Irwin "pjfan"

Honest opinion folks

The author wrote the story from the perspective of an anti-war correspondent as opposed to the perspective of the men of the unit he claims the book is about. The book isn't about the men in that unit, it's about the horrors of war that met the men in that unit, through the eyes, mind, and words of an anti-war correspondent.

This book honors anti-war activism, not the Americans he walked amongst. His Nobel Prize did the same.

My son did 6 years Air Force and was deployed overseas to various locations. My daughter did 6 years Army and was deployed to Baghdad just after the surge. My daughter's husband is U.S. Army and has been deployed to Iraq (during the surge) and Afghanistan, where he was wounded by an enemy mortar round and is home healing awaiting the birth of his son. I have no military experience. My dad was Navy in WWII. A high percentage of my high school students have gone to various branches of the military.

War is absolutely brutal and the worst thing that our young men and women will ever have to experience. I am absolute anti-war.

I lived during Vietnam and saw what journalism did to the men and women who served and how they swayed public opinion not only against the war and American government but also against those who served. It was a national disgrace. Some of those soldiers were my friends.

Ask an American soldier who has been to Iraq or Afghanistan what they think of the American media they watched on TV's while in those countries. It was and still is demoralizing with zero interest in those who served and sacrificed. They use those men and women as pawns in their quest for furthering their own agendas.

Not all correspondents and reporters are the same, but this author sure as heck continued on in the tradition of going to war with soldiers so he could justify the book he'd already written in his mind.

Personally, I think Congress and the White house needs to be relocated to the middle of Arlington National Cemetery so everyone of those politicians has to walk by all those headstones everyday and see them everytime they look out a window. And go find the ones whose families they are now representing and learn what the man buried there did in his life. That honors him and his family.

You want to write a story, pick one of those headstones and write the history of the man that lies beneath it instead of how horribly he was killed during a war. War is what war is, telling the horror of war doesn't honor those who survived or died. Nor will that horror story stop the next war or it's horrors.

I downloaded this book based on the descriptions. I'd like to see the descriptions corrected to reflect what the book is really about. I would have ignored it as just another journalist working his own personal agenda.
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- james

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-20-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios