Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Phil Klay’s ‘Redeployment’: Probably the best book I’ve read on the Iraq War

If you served in Iraq, or want understand what it was like for many people, you owe it to yourself to read Phil Klay’s book Redeployment. I bought the book months ago but really didn’t feel like revisiting the war. Recently I finally picked it up, and was amazed at how good it is. It ...

If you served in Iraq, or want understand what it was like for many people, you owe it to yourself to read Phil Klay's book Redeployment. I bought the book months ago but really didn't feel like revisiting the war. Recently I finally picked it up, and was amazed at how good it is. It also just won the National Book Award for fiction. Pretty good for a Marine!

It is an intense book. I limited myself to one chapter a night.

The first line that grabbed me: "You can get through anything one step at a time." I think that is the essence of soldiering.

If you served in Iraq, or want understand what it was like for many people, you owe it to yourself to read Phil Klay’s book Redeployment. I bought the book months ago but really didn’t feel like revisiting the war. Recently I finally picked it up, and was amazed at how good it is. It also just won the National Book Award for fiction. Pretty good for a Marine!

It is an intense book. I limited myself to one chapter a night.

The first line that grabbed me: “You can get through anything one step at a time.” I think that is the essence of soldiering.

The second one, referring to your mental alert status continuing after you come home: “It’ll be a long fucking time before you get down to white.”

A line that grabbed me: “Violent microexpressions periodically flashed across his face.”

Another one: “A human being in enough pain is just a screaming animal.”

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1
Tags: Iraq, War

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