Reading Simon Armitage’s The Not Dead (2008) was, for me, a reminder of the beauty of war poetry and prose. Armitage spent no time working in the armed forces; however, his works cast my mind back to that of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke, phenomenal canons of British war poetry. Sometimes, those who have faced the most traumatic, brutal and violent of experiences are gifted with a remarkable set of literary talents. We have an endless fascination with physical war; our interest and never-ending exploration of this theme is instilled in us from a young age – the horrors of WWII discussed in History lessons, its territorial ramifications rediscovered in Geography, and, in no less effect its impact on language and prose debated over in English Literature classes. This year has seen war, once again, dominate our screens, from independent film noir productions such as Ida to movie blockbusters like Fury and 4th Estate’s very own book-to-screen adaptation Unbroken due in cinemas early next year. Petitions to extend The Tower of London’s poppy memorial exhibition, featuring 888,246 poppies to represent every single English casualty of WWI is a simple but pertinent example of the impact war has in shaping collective identities.
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.