The fighters Americans in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq

C. J. Chivers

Book - 2018

"Almost 2.5 million Americans have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001. C.J. Chivers has reported from both fronts from the beginning, walking side by side with combatants for more than a dozen years. He describes the experience of war today as it is endured by those most at risk--the camaraderie and profound sense of purpose, alongside courage, frustration, and moral confusion mixed with technical precision. In these remote places where the reason for their presence is s...ometimes not clear, these young men kill or are killed, facing palpable and often constant threat of ambush or hidden bombs. They repeatedly return, rushing toward danger, often to rescue the wounded in wars that escalate around them as the Pentagon changes doctrines and plans. Weaving a history of the war through troops' experiences, the characters in The Fighters climb into an F-14 cockpit for the opening strikes after the attacks of 9/11, hunt for Osama bin Laden along the Pakistani border, chase insurgent rocket teams with helicopters alongside American bases, face snipers in a hostile city in Anbar Province in Iraq, and engage in deadly counterguerilla warfare in the soaring mountains of the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. Some suffer terribly. All are changed. They return home, uncertain of their place in the world and what their wars have achieved. Chivers accompanied combatants over many years and multiple tours, including many of the characters in this book, developing deep understanding of the experience of combat in our times. The Fighters, his tour de force, tells a history of America's longest wars as well as the lives of the volunteers who have waged them"--

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Subjects
Genres
Personal narratives
Autobiographies
Biographies
Published
New York, NY : Simon & Schuster [2018]
Edition
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
Language
English
Item Description
"August 2018"--Title page verso.
Includes index.
Physical Description
xxiii, 374 pages : maps ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781451676648
1451676646
9781451676662
1451676662
Main Author
C. J. Chivers (author)
  • Part I. Storm. Into Afghanistan : G-Monster
  • Lieutenant Layne McDowell's quick air war
  • Into the kill zone : Sergeant First Class Leo Kryszewski and the Gauntlet at al-Kaed Bridge
  • Part II. Bad hand. The one you hear already missed : Sergeant First Class Leo Kryszewski and the rocket attacks
  • "In the Navy he'll be safe" : hospital corpsman Dustin E. Kirby and a family at war
  • Down safe : Chief Warrant Officer Michael Slebodnik and the air cavalry war in Iraq
  • G-Monster : Lieutenant Commander Layne McDowell's dream
  • Part III. Counterinsurgency. On Al Qaeda's turf : Dustin Kirby and the route Chicago shooting gallery
  • "I'll fly away" : Chief Warrant Officer Mike Slebodnik and the air cavalry in the eastern Afghan valleys
  • "We're here because we're here" : Specialist Robert Soto and the ghosts of Korengal Valley
  • The push : Lieutenant Jarrod Neff and a battle to turn the tide of the war
  • Part IV. Reckoning. G-Monster : the satisfaction of restraint
  • The fighter : Gail Kirby's demand.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* For the majority of Americans who have not served in the Armed Forces, nor know anyone who has, journalist and former infantry officer Chivers aims to help readers get to know a few service members from the long campaigns following 9/11. In this excellent set of military portraits, Chivers tells the life stories and battle experiences of a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, a naval aviator, a helicopter pilot, a navy corpsman with the U.S. Marines, an army rifleman, and an unlikely marine infantry officer, and all are wonderfully engaging. Readers will empathize with the trials each faced in combat and beyond in a book that will enlighten all who read it, no matter their feelings about the wars. Veterans will discover how their time in the service compares with others'. Civilians will gain understanding of the military world. Prospective recruits will get an unvarnished look at what may await them: the challenges, the hardships, the glory, the camaraderie, and some of the things recruiters don't talk about. The Fighters will take its place among other great books about horrible wars and should be front and center for displays during patriotic holidays and any occasion that we honor our veterans. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Senior writer for the New York Times and a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine, Chivers won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for the story on which this book is based. Here, he offers a you-are-there view of the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since September 11, 2001, accompanying soldiers as they go on air strikes, face sniper attacks, engage in counterguerrilla warfare, and hunt down Osama bin Laden. Some fighters are tracked over many years and multiple tours to give the long view on our longest wars. Note that Chivers served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Persian Gulf War, so he knows his stuff. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Part of a team that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, Chivers walked the walk with American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq for over a dozen years. Now a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine, he won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for "The Fighter." Here he expands on that piece to detail the courage and camaraderie, suffering and moral confusion of the fighters he met. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Chivers (The Gun), a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Marine Corps officer in the Persian Gulf War, presents a memorable, gritty account of six servicemen who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, following the September 11 attacks and through 2017. These men shared both patriotism and anger over the tragedy, which motivated them to enlist and reenlist, questioning the wars' objectives because of poor military brass leadership and experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder that made their tours enduring if not endless. The author includes many interviews with the combatants and their families along with their fellow servicemen and -women and Iraqis and Afghans, some of whom saved Chiver's life on more than one occasion. Included among the six are Layne McDowell, a pilot who questioned the bombing and killing of citizens; Dustin Kirby, who rescued men under extreme conditions and himself suffered a horrific wound; and Michael Slebodnik, whose heroism cost him his life. Although the subjects are men, Chivers describes women who also served heroically, concluding that neither war achieved its goals as anti-American sentiment remains high in the region and ISIS continues to expand. VERDICT This important battlefield narrative will find wide audiences among readers of military history, wartime exploits, and hopefully military and political policymakers.—Karl Helicher, formerly with Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Chivers, a Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times journalist and a Gulf War veteran in the Marines, presents in evocative detail the Iraq and Afghanistan war experiences of a handful of American fighters to tell the bigger story of how those conflicts with al-Qaeda, Saddam Hussein, and ISIS devolved into "wars that ran far past the pursuit of justice and ultimately did not succeed." Chivers focuses on six combatants—an F-14 pilot, a Green Beret sergeant, a Navy corpsman, a helicopter pilot, an Army infantryman, and a Marine lieutenant. He briefly relates why each one joined the military and what happened to them after coming home, but the heart of the book is in-depth, intense reporting of their in-the-trenches tours of duty. Chivers spent countless hours on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2013. His reporting rings chillingly true, especially his accounts of the worst that war metes out to those doing the fighting and civilians caught in the crosshairs, for example the agony that corpsman Dustin Kirby went through after being shot in the face. The five-page account of a 2013 meeting between George W. Bush and the severely wounded Kirby and his family is a brilliantly told jolt of postwar reality. This fast-paced, action-heavy work of long-form war journalism has bestseller written all over it. Agent: Amelia Atlas, ICM Partners. (Aug.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Gun traces the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through its most at-risk participants, offering insights into such events as the hunt for bin Laden and counterguerilla warfare in the mountains of the Korengal Valley.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Almost 2.5 million Americans have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001. C.J. Chivers has reported from both fronts from the beginning, walking side by side with combatants for more than a dozen years. He describes the experience of wartoday as it is endured by those most at risk--the camaraderie and profound sense of purpose, alongside courage, frustration, and moral confusion mixed with technical precision. In these remote places where the reason for their presence is sometimes not clear, these young men kill or are killed, facing palpable and often constant threat of ambush or hidden bombs. They repeatedly return, rushing toward danger, often to rescue the wounded in wars that escalate around them as the Pentagon changes doctrines and plans. Weaving a history of the war through troops' experiences, the characters in The Fighters climb into an F-14 cockpit for the opening strikes after the attacks of 9/11, hunt for Osama bin Laden along the Pakistani border, chase insurgent rocket teams with helicopters alongside American bases, face snipers in a hostile city in Anbar Province in Iraq, and engage in deadly counterguerilla warfare in the soaring mountains of the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. Some suffer terribly. All are changed. They return home, uncertain of their place in the world and what their wars have achieved. Chivers accompanied combatants over many years and multiple tours, including many of the characters in this book, developing deep understanding of the experience of combat in our times. The Fighters, his tour de force, tells a history of America's longest wars as well as the lives of the volunteers who have waged them"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Traces the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through its most at-risk participants, offering insights into such events as the hunt for bin Laden and counterguerilla warfare in the mountains of the Korengal Valley.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

'A classic of war reporting...The author's stories give heart-rending meaning to the lives and deaths of these men and women, even if policymakers generally have not.' 'The New York TimesPulitzer Prize winner C.J. Chivers's unvarnished account of modern combat, told through the eyes of the fighters who have waged America's longest wars.More than 2.7 million Americans have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001. C.J. Chivers reported from both wars from their beginnings. The Fighters vividly conveys the physical and emotional experience of war as lived by six combatants: a fighter pilot, a corpsman, a scout helicopter pilot, a grunt, an infantry officer, and a Special Forces sergeant.Chivers captures their courage, commitment, sense of purpose, and ultimately their suffering, frustration, and moral confusion as new enemies arise and invasions give way to counterinsurgency duties for which American forces were often not prepared.The Fighters is a tour de force, a portrait of modern warfare that parts from slogans to do for American troops what Stephen Ambrose did for the G.I.s of World War II and Michael Herr for the grunts in Vietnam. Told with the empathy and understanding of an author who is himself an infantry veteran, The Fighters presents the long arc of two wars.