Sebastian Junger’s latest book, ‘War’, chronicles the time spent embedded with a platoon of US soldiers in Afghanistan, which is also the subject of the Academy Award nominated film ‘Restrepo’.
Restrepo was created by Junger and the late film maker Tim Hetherington, who tragically killed while covering the recent violence in Libya.
‘War’ details the touching camaraderie of a platoon of soldiers at war in Afghanistan and profound effect the war has had on them. The Academy Award nominated ‘Restrepo’ details the same platoon’s defence of the outpost OP Restrepo, so named for fallen comrade Juan Sebastián Restrepo.
When I first read War the thing that struck me most about it was that this was not a book about the war in Afghanistan. The soldiers in Junger’s book are certainly fighting in Afghanistan and enduring terrible conditions there, but this was a book about the experience of being at war, any war. The emotions are universal. Camaraderie, fear, friendship and, inevitably, the loss of those friends. That was my experience of reading ‘War’.
‘A book not just about war, but about the limits of courage and, yes, love under pressure.’ Guardian
I’ve read a number of books on the soldier experience in Afghanistan, and they have been brilliant, particularly Patrick Bishop’s books and The Junior Officer’s Reading Club. What this book did – for me – was to make the place, the time and the politics all fade to the background. This is a book about a terrible human experience, one which I will never be in and can only imagine the horrors of, that manages to convey the beautiful things about the human experience as well.