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thedrifter
01-29-09, 10:32 AM
The Forever War: Dispatches from the War on Terror

Steven Carroll
January 29, 2009

The Forever War: Dispatches from the War on Terror
Dexter Filkins
Bodley Head, $34.95

THERE'S not exactly a great deal of analysis here on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but these "dispatches" from the shifting frontline are vivid and dramatic. In this sense Filkins comes out of the Hemingway tradition of war reportage: graphic word pictures that bring home the facts. And Filkins certainly doesn't hang back as far as the action is concerned. He's often as not running alongside the marines, describing - presumably recollected in relative tranquillity - the wind of the passing bullets as he sprints up a Falluja street to the safety of a doorway. He's also alive to the surreal nature of the conflict - the marines, for example, countering the loudspeakers of the Falluja resistance proclaiming "Holy War" with AC/DC's Hell's Bells. And the odd touches, such as walking through a presidential palace just after Saddam had vacated the premises, standing in his personal study, boxer shorts still hanging on a rack, signifying a hasty departure.

Ellie