If you’re hanging out at home (maybe it got a little hot to do much on this Monday off), I recommend this book by Sebastian Junger:
The book accompanies a documentary called Restrepo, but if you’re not familiar with Junger’s writing, read this book. He is a master with phrasing, narrative, and sparse, gritty language that puts you right into the heart of whatever he’s describing. Here, Junger spent months shadowing an American infantry platoon in Afghanistan. Here’s a quote from a New York Times book review:
The best way to describe Junger’s book is to say what it is not. “War” does not attempt to explain the strategy behind the American war in Afghanistan, or the politics of Afghanistan, or even the people of the Korangal Valley. As the action unfolds, Junger makes no attempt to connect it to anything else happening inside the country.
Instead, he uses the platoon (the second of Battle Company, part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade) as a kind of laboratory to examine the human condition as it evolved under the extraordinary circumstances in which these soldiers fought and lived.
source, New York Times Review of Books, review by Dexter Filkins
Here’s a trailer from the documentary Restrepo, which won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize for documentaries at Sundance. My point? There is a reason we commemorate Memorial Day, regardless of your beliefs about war.
The language in this trailer is NSFW.