Many years ago on my old blog I wrote about having a crush, in this instance, a nerd-crush, on the journalist Sebastian Junger. Junger and Fareed Zakaria are both journalists I keep tabs on. I watch Zakaria's Sunday CNN show without fail, and when War became available on my Kindle, I downloaded and read it. I just posted a review of it to Amazon and here's how it begins:
Sebastian Junger's reporting on Afghanastan pre-dates September 11th; he profiled Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Massoud for National Geographic in March 2001. Massoud, you may recall, was assassinated by al-Qaeda just two days prior to their attack on the U.S. Junger is best known for The Perfect Storm, but for years has reported from other hotspots like Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Kosovo, often in advance of their becoming known to the wider public. For War, Junger embedded five times over a period of fourteen months with a platoon in the 2nd Battalion in the Korengal valley, Afghanistan, describing events not from a geopolitical perspective, but from that as a front-line soldier in a war most of us pay little heed. For me his book succeeds where Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor did not. While Luttrell's book begins brilliantly, his politics soon take over. Junger is more interested in what drives young men to fight, how they survive - not as individuals but as a unit - on a day-to-day basis in danger, isolation, and primitive conditions, and describes the nearly sexual thrill of combat...