However, historians like Paul Fussell and Modris Eksteins have demonstrated how engagement in an ongoing military struggle affects the collective consciousness and self-regard of a nation, creating a transactional process between the front lines and the civilian street. Somebody seems to be winning, someone else losing, but often the important consequences of a wartime situation are not the direct results of decisions in the theater of operations. Many people die; families, marriages and cities are destroyed. Things that seem manifest at the time leave people within the next half-century wondering about the delusions and miscalculations that set hordes of men and machines into action, that send so many ardent young people to the grave, along with innocent civilian populations.

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Excerpt Book Summary From the front lines of the battle against Islamic fundamentalism, a searing, unforgettable book that captures the human essence of the greatest conflict of our time. We embark on a foot patrol through the shadowy streets of Ramadi, venture into a torture chamber run by Saddam Hussein. We go into the homes of suicide bombers and into street-to-street fighting with a battalion of marines.

We meet Iraqi insurgents, an American captain who loses a quarter of his men in eight days, and a young soldier from Georgia on a rooftop at midnight reminiscing about his girlfriend back home. A car bomb explodes, bullets fly, and a mother cradles her blinded son.

Only This They led the man to a spot at the middle of the field. A soccer field, grass, with mainly dirt around the center where the players spent most of the game. There was a special section for the handicapped on the far side, a section for women.

The orphans were walking up and down the bleachers on my side selling candy and cigarettes. A couple of older men carried whips. They wore grenade launchers on their backs. The people are coming, a voice was saying into the loudspeaker, and the voice was right, the people were streaming in and taking their seats. Not with any great enthusiasm, as far as I could tell; they were kind of shuffling in.

I probably had more enthusiasm than anybody. In America, I would have been on the sidelines, at the fifty yard line with the coaches. A white Toyota Hi-Lux drove onto the field and four men wearing green


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