Sunday, January 07, 2007

Stories of Iraq come from those who lived it

Stories of Iraq come from those who lived it
By Frank Rees
Sunday, January 7, 2007 Stories of Iraq come from those who lived it By Frank Rees
On the Shelves is a monthly column by a rotating list of mid-Hudson Valley library directors who comment on notable books coming to your local public library.Since March 23, 2003, when Operation Iraqi Freedom began, roughly 1 million Americans have rotated through Iraq. Although we are constantly bombarded with filtered and politically-biased information and facts on the ground by the media, the military and the White House, we know surprisingly little about the lives and experiences of the men and women serving on the Iraqi front lines.These four books, all personal narratives, provide a glimpse into the facts on the ground as experienced by real individuals.— “From Baghdad, With Love,” by Jay Kopelman; Lyons Press.“From Baghdad, With Love” tells the story of a dramatic rescue attempt by U.S. First Battalion, Third Marines, of a puppy named Lava from an abandoned house in Fallujah, Iraq. Despite General Order 1-A that forbids the keeping of pets, the Marines de-flea the pup with kerosene, de-worm him with chewing tobacco, fill him up on MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and keep him.Lava has a profound effect on the hardened Marines, wartime journalists and endangered Iraqi citizens who care for him, teaching them about life, death and war and keeping them rooted in humanity, despite the daily wartime horrors.— “What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It,” by Trish Wood; Little, Brown.“What Was Asked of Us” is an unfiltered, uncensored and unvarnished history of the Iraq war as told by the men and women fighting it.Based on 29 interviews with American war veterans, the soldiers speak at length about all their Iraq experiences and provide a powerful and emotional account of the Iraq war.Accounts range from an ex-drug addict who admits that “I have loved every firefight I was in because for those brief seconds nothing else matters,” to a born-again Christian who asks “America, what always makes us right?”— “Blood Brothers,” by Michael Weisskopf; Henry Holt and Co.Michael Weisskopf, a Time magazine senior correspondent who lost his right hand as an embedded reporter with the First Armored Division in Iraq, writes about his experiences in Ward 57, the amputee division at Walter Reed Medical Center.“Blood Brothers” chronicles the devastation of Weisskopf and three soldier amputees — Pete Damon, Luis Rodriquez and Bobby Issacs — as they navigate the bewildering process of recovery, re-entry, and reconciliation in the aftermath of life altering injuries.— “Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U. S. Troops and Their Families,” by Andrew Carroll; Random House.“Operation Homecoming” is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts to bring distinguished writers to U.S. military bases in Iraq and inspire soldiers to record their wartime experiences. The result is more than 100 intense and emotional accounts, private journals, short stories, letters and other personal writings from military personnel and their families.
Frank Rees is the assistant director of the Howland Public Library in Beacon. He was the director of the Hudson Area Association for 11 years and has written collection development articles for Library Journal.


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