There are many books devoted to the Iraq conflict. They explore the reasons and consequences of the Iraq war depict struggles and attempts of the American soldiers to preserve piece and stop the war. One of the books devoted to this war is the book by Kelly Kennedy They fought for Each Other: Triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq.
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However, to be more specific, it should be mentioned that this book is devoted not to the war, but to the American soldiers that fought their battles and died for piece during that war. It is another marvelous book that is worth reading. It gives a clear insight into the battles and military companies. Moreover, it clearly describes people’s relations and realities of soldiers’ life and combats.
It is not only a true historic writing, but a great psychological analysis of peoples’ souls. At the same time, this book is easy and difficult to read. On the one hand, it captures, as it is interesting and gives you a real presentation of events that occurred.
On the other hand, you cannot hold your tears reading it as it is so difficult to realize that all those events really took place and each time you read that somebody was killed, you realize that a real life was ruined. Briefly, it is a wonderful book that presents a vivid and true portrait of a terrible realty of war. One, who wants to see how American soldiers sacrificed their life and fates, must read this book.
Iraq war was a real mass destruction and terrible page in the history of both nations that ruined lives of thousands innocent people. USA, Germany, France and Russia fought against Iraq terrorists. Many mistakes were done. However, those mistakes are nothing in comparison with the consequences that they brought.
The most terrible consequence is the horror that this war brought to peoples’ lives and the number of people who were killed. The reality of that war will follow fates of many people for many years as mothers lost their sons, wives lost their husbands and children lost their fathers.
The sorrow for the killed men follows the readers of the book by Kelly Kennedy. Reading it, we believe to its author because this woman took part in that war and all her memories, so bright and fresh, produce a great impression on the reader. Kelly Kennedy is a journalist and a former soldier that created the book on the basis of her series of article about war in Iraq in Armi Times.
May be that is why the book is written in a newspaper manner and begins as an article, rather than a literary work. At any rate, it does not spoil an overall impression about the story told in the book. So, the book is telling a story of a company that was engaged in one of the most hostile regions of Baghdad, Adhamiya’s costs.
The story reveals the Charlie Company, first Battalion, 1/26th Infantry Division that was involved in the Iraq deployment in 2007. It is a story of friendship, mutual support, despair and honor. It is also a heartbreaking conclusion of the sacrifices in Iraq. As it has already been mentioned, the book is based on real events.
The author spend with the Charlie Company only few days, but “all the quotes in this book come directly from the interviews with the men, beyond a couple of jokes and exclamations” (Kennedy 2). Group of young men survived a terrible time and those memories are described in their own words.
They got not only physical injuries, but deep mental wounds. They had to overcome their fears, nightmares when they saw their friend died. And they had to take care and look after each other, this mutual support brought the company through.
The title of the book perfectly describes its sense. They fought for each other. Of course, they came to that country because they got the order. However, soon young men understood that only together, only taking care about each other they can survive.
The most terrible thing that we bump into from the very first page is that the division consisted of young men who hardly saw anything in their lives. And understanding of the fact that they all can be killed makes the reader’s heart stop beating. Especially, when we read the very first lines:
“At their tiny combat outpost in the Adhamia neighborhood of Baghdad, the soldiers of second platoon acted like kids going t an amusement park: jumping, grabbing gears, punching shoulders” (Kennedy 5).
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Later on, when we read the book and see how these “kids” die, the sorrow grabs our souls.
The line of friendship and duty runs through the entire story. The author shows how one of the soldiers died to save his friend’s life and first sergeant shoot himself in front of the troops. Terrible pictures of deaths emerge in front of us. “In 15 months, 31 men of the 1-26 were killed and 122 wounded, making it the hardest-hit battalion since the Vietnam War. Charlie Company suffered the most, with 14 men killed.
Second Platoon lost nine men.” (Kennedy 280). But we admire soldiers who fought with clear hears because they understood the defense policy as the main aim to preserve peace. They got along well with children who lived in the area playing with them and giving them candies. The soldiers understood that children are not guilty. Such actions of the soldiers did, actually, a big job.
Children saw that foreign people are not enemies and, maybe, when children will grow, they will not be so hostile. The book also states that “many of the guys believed the two words were interchangeable without understanding the philosophy behind the new counterinsurgency manual written by Gen.
David Petraeus and his aides” (Kennedy 1) First, young soldiers believed that all they had to do is to restore connection with local people, however, later they understood the reality of the company and their main task was to survive. Mission and friendship were the prime preoccupations of the soldiers.
The author also present vivid characteristics of those who had passed through that horror and how young people brought their lives to that company and how they protected each other form danger in the time when they did everything possible to perform their mission, thought they even did not have enough equipment and troops.
One more thing that revolves when reading a book is the way the wounded soldiers were treated. Actually, they were left on their own, without help and with the support of their friends only. Another irritating thing about the story is how the whole system left them and failed those soldiers while not providing them with necessary support. But so many lives could be saved if there were at least a bit concern for them.
What can be said about the book and what advice can be given to soldiers who fight their battles. Just one thing comes to mind. The example of devotion, firmness and mutual support in the book can tell more than any person. These trait supported young people in difficult situations and these traits can be really helpful. As at all times only love for motherland, brave heart and friendship helped people survive war.
This book is not only a literary work. It is a requiem for people who died during that company in particular and during the Iraq war in general. It has a great historical and spiritual meaning. It gives to all readers a possibility to feel the atmosphere of war in our present days. First of all, it depicts historical events, none of the words are an untruth. All that was for real.
Second, it is a story of friendship that can teach a great lesson for future generations how one should support each other and how one should preserve honor and devotion to duty.
One more important meaning of the book lies in the fact that it is a warning for all people to preserve peace, as there is nothing so terrible as war and death of people. The book claims that there should not be the same mistakes and terrible combats in future. This is the main intention of the author indeed.
Kennedy, Kelly. They fought for Each Other: Triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010.