‘Thank You for Your Service’ by David Finkel - The Boston GlobeGoodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book.
Thank You for Your Service review – American Sniper writer fires blanks
F rom war to war, only the proper nouns change. The harsh reality of combat still grinds the spirit right out of them — sometimes gradually over a span of months, sometimes in the course of five harrowing minutes — until only a hollow shell remains. To cite a more recent example, Hall trains his focus on three men not unlike Chris Kyle, the subject of American Sniper which Hall scripted. That film grew to an unlikely hit for its political charge, daring the audience to pick a side in the most polarizing American overseas conflict since Vietnam. It set itself apart from the herd through specificity, passing judgment not just on capital-W War, but that war. His latest effort, conversely, loses impact by drifting away from its time and place. Hall spends minutes observing the same deleterious symptoms of military service, and never once pauses to consider their shifting causes.
D avid Finkel's The Good Soldiers is one of the great works of literature to have come out of the war in Iraq. The reason for this is simple — and related to Wilfred Owen's claim that he was "not concerned with Poetry". Any literary merit the book possessed, Finkel insisted in an interview, was due to strict adherence to the principles of reporting. A given sentence reported a fact, the next sentence another fact, and so on. As we follow a battalion of soldiers through their deployment in Baghdad in , there emerges a devastating narrative of hope, heroism, futility a word Owen embedded forever in the lexicon of war and unimaginable horror.
While the majority of veterans adjust and reintegrate into civilian life — albeit often bereft by the loss of camaraderie and sense of purpose they felt in the armed services — some are plagued by the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury TBI and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD. TBI has the more obvious physical cause. So can being shot in the head. PTSD, meanwhile, is triggered by psychological damage caused by a terrifying experience. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, lethargy and incapacitating depression. David Finkel tells with novelistic immediacy the stories of some of the soldiers he met when embedded in eastern Baghdad with a US infantry battalion in , on which he based his acclaimed book, The Good Soldiers. Report: more British soldiers die from suicide than battle.
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The title of David Finkel's new book is painfully ironic. A chronicle of the damaged lives of returning Iraqi war veterans, "Thank You for Your Service" reveals on each page the crushing inadequacy of that traditional salutation for our men and women in uniform. It also illustrates the shortcomings of an overburdened support system, as well as the heroic efforts of individual veterans to reintegrate into society and get on with their lives. And it tells us about those who don't make it. Now he writes about the "after-war" for some of those same soldiers, novelistically weaving together their overlapping personal stories as well as those of their caregivers, spouses, and commanding officers, looking at day-to-day lives as well as larger policy issues. The stark statistical information alone is an eye-opener.