- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The following sentences, printed under the byline of Julie Bosman of the New York Times, could only be written by someone who has not been paying attention:
“Now that American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is winding down, the warriors are telling their stories. . . The books appear to be part of the next generation of writing from the wars, following a first crop of books by journalists, like “Imperial Life in the Emerald City” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, about Iraq.
Actually, one of the surprises of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been just the opposite: How many fine memoirs have been written over the last 10 years by soldiers, including many by enlisted ones.
As a public service, here is a remedial reading list for Ms. Bosman:
Nathaniel Fick, One Bullet Away
Andrew Exum, This Man’s Army
Craig Mullaney, The Unforgiving Minute
Peter Mansoor, Baghdad at Sunrise
Kayla Williams, Love My Rifle More Than You
Matt Gallagher, Kaboom
Benjamin Tupper, Greetings from Afghanistan
Seth Folsom, The Highway War
David Bellavia, House to House
Joe LeBleu, Long Rifle
Milo Afong, Hogs in the Shadows
Donovan Campbell, Joker One
Nick Popaditch, Once a Marine
John Crawford, The Last True
Jeremiah Workman, Shadow of the Sword
Jason Hartley, Just Another Soldier
Paul Rieckhoff, Chasing Ghosts
Nathan Sassaman, Warrior King
Vivian Gembara, Drowning in the Desert
Rusty Bradley, Lions of Kandahar
Sean Parnell, Outlaw Platoon
Brandon Friedman, The War I Always Wanted
Nate Self, Two Wars
Michael Franzak, A Nightmare’s Prayer
I know I am leaving out a bunch more, but all my books are 600 miles from where I am writing this. And I haven’t even included memoirs by spies, diplomats and other civilian officials. I suggest that as penance, Ms. Bosman read at least five of these memoirs.
Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and of the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. He is the author of The Arab Uprising (March 2012, PublicAffairs).
He publishes frequently on the politics of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Arab media and information technology, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Islamist movements.| Marc Lynch |