Muswell Hill Bookshop

The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
Published by Atlantic £14.99

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Finkel's account of the time spent embedded with an American infantry battalion in Iraq is unlike anything I have read in a long while . After the first twenty-odd pages, I had to close the book and try to hold back the tears that threatened to spill as I read.

This is not about Bush's war in Iraq, it is about the young men (the youngest was 17 when the battalion deployed) who for the most part went willingly to make safe an area of Baghdad, and try to bring some semblance of normality in an abnormal situation.

The Good Soldiers is heartrending, horrific and brilliantly written - this is not just an account of heroic actions, nor simply an indictment of war, it is beyond these things. Nor is it just an account of the American experience - the Iraqis figure prominently too.
Finkel relates good and bad and the reader's response is neither manipulated nor directed.

This is one of the best books I have ever read and anything I could add to that statement would be superfluous.