Sunday, January 18, 2009

Moment of Truth in Iraq

Title: Moment of Truth in Iraq
Author: Michael Yon
Pages: 256
Genre: Memoir, War
Yearly Count: 5

Michael Yon is a journalist, who since 2004 has chosen to report on the situation in Iraq first hand, yep over in Iraq. He isn't allowed to carry a gun, but goes out on missions, watches, encourages, and reports about what is going on, what he is seeing and does so with such excellence that after finishing the novel I was left speechless. I have started and deleted my review for this book almost ten times.

This is the only book I have purchased for myself in over a year. Does that say enough? I don't think it does. I have dreads, I am a vegetarian, I go hiking for fun and I live in Oregon and I loved this book, maybe that is what I am trying to make sure is understood. My brother is in the Army, he has been an enlisted man for almost 10 years. He has a family, a wife and two kids, he was in Iraq for over 16 months recently. He was injured in Iraq, he received a purple heart, he doesn't like to be called a hero, he says he isn't one, he is a guy doing his job.

I have cried when I think about what he has given up, the time that has lost with his family the worry his wife has endured, but he has told me before that he doesn't think of it that way. He saw the Iraqis, he saw the people there he saw changes, he saw what most journalists aren't there to report on, the victories.

Michael Yon is there, he is side by side with these heroes who are too humble to think of themselves that way. For them that word, hero conjures up images, images of a men they admire but not themselves. Yon was out there when my little brother was fighting with Operation Arrowhead Ripper.Unknowingly I picked up a copy of this book and asked my brother if he had heard of this guy, he said he didn't know but then I jokingly said, "look at the picture, you might recognize him!" he looked at the jacket flap and did!

I have come to admire Michael Yon in many ways, but the most important to me right now are that he is an insane brave man, and his objectiveness, sure he is over there with these guys, but I saw that he didn't speak all about the good things, he covered the losses and the wrong choices being made. Yes, even if they were being made by the leadership of the army, even if it didn't make the army look good, his honest voice was what I admired the most. Tell me what it was like, what you saw, that is what I want to know!!!

This review could go on for a day and a half, and I have quotes underlined that could go on for longer, but I'll stop. It was good, I loved it. More than anything I have heard, read or seen has given me a much fuller perception of the current situation in Iraq. I would recommend Moment of Truth in Iraq to everyone, but in a big way to those who just want to know what is going on over there. I have never felt a portrayal to be more ballanced than this one by Michael Yon. I recommend this book with no reservations, and in case you were wondering....yes of course it got my happy chicken award!

Michael Yon's Online Magazine (blog)


Literary Feline said...

Thank you for the recommendation. This sounds like a worthwhile book to read. I currently do not have any family members who are in the military, but I do have a couple of friends who are in the reserves and will be shipping out to Iraq in a couple of months. And I have friends who are married to soldiers who have been there and back many times.

Stories like this also impact me on another level. I am the daughter of a wartime veteran and I've always wanted a better understanding of my father and that part of his life that he doesn't talk about so much. I know I'll never be able to fully understand, but by reading books like this, I find it helps bring me a little closer at least.

Anonymous said...

Bethany, you might be interested in this guy too: Totten is an independent journalist/blogger who has spent time in Iraq embedded with American troops. You might have to dig through the archives to find his articles on Iraq, though, because he writes about other stuff as well. I have read Totten's blog for quite a few years now and I love his work.

Corinne said...

Hey, thank you for reviewing this book. My sister's husband (the sister whose book you read), he is in the army and has served in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'll pass your review along to him.

tom said...

Thanks Bethany for the review. I'll add this to my reading list.

My favorite book written by a war journalist is In the Company of Soldiers. I'm reading it for the second time and I never do that.

I also recommend One Bullet Away. It was written by a young Marine officer. He articulated the challenges of war in a way that struck a personal chord with me.

Again, thanks. I'll check out Michael Yon's book.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That sounds like a must read.

bethany said...

literary feline- no problem, it really was my pleasure to read this!!

I understand waht you are talking about when you say that you want a better understanding of your dad, a veteran. I think it is hard for them to know what to share and how to do it. I think you have taken a great approach to learn more and read about it, I know that when I read about something I feel much more like I know (if only a tiny piece) about it.

I will check Totten out. Thanks for the link. I always love learning of good journalists who are fair and ballanced.

Corinne- Yes, do pass it on. Yon does an impressive job for sure, let me know if he reads it!!

Tom- Thanks for the links, I tried to go to your blog as well but was deniged acess. I am wondering if this is a spam comment, I think I'll leave it there for a couple of days but if you don't reply I'm sorry but I will delete it.

bermudaonion- you have no idea! I was sooooo into this book, tons of amazing details. Let me know if you read it!

Alyce said...

This sounds like a good read. I like first-hand accounts. My favorite Iraq war book so far is The Devil's Sandbox by John Bruning. It's about the Oregon 2nd Battalion 162nd Infantry. A guy I knew from high school was in that group that went over to Iraq, so it held special interest for me.

Trish said...

It is so important for us to remember our soldiers overseas. My brother-in-law just left for Iraq this week (this is his third tour). Great recommendation, Bethany.

Seaside Book worm said...

Thank for the review.
My brother is a photo journalist for the Army Times. If you are interested you can google his name and see his photo's, or just go to .
Reuter's and NYT uses his work. He was over there right after 9/11 in Afghanistan. It was not bad then because he was in the airport I think it was called Kandajar. But when he was sent to Iraq which he was embedded with 101 airborne. Eveytime he ia sent over I get so nervous. The stories he tells, is incredible and his pictures of the start of the war in Iraq is something.
My brother has 2 small children and I don't know how my sister in law can handle this. I stopped reading he's blog when he goes over there because he posts about what is happening now and I just worry about him, I just learned he will be going back again.

Anonymous said...

Loved your review and I also understand how this book could be a little personal to you because of your brother. I like reading such books as it gives people like me who have nothing to do with the military a better understanding of what our soldiers go through.

erin sheely said...

Wow, I should definitely read this if it had such an impact on you. It looks fantastic.

Tom is my husband..he's not spam! :) His blog is private becaues it has some of his Iraq stuff on it although I am sure he would put you on his list if you were interested in seeing it.

bethany said...

alyce- oh, my it is for sure a good one! I love that his view and my brother's are so united. It makes me feel like there is a lot of credibility in it. I bet that was a powerful read for you, the one about the local guys. Thanks for the recommendation!

Trish- wow. It is so intense for the family that stays too, my brother says that he thinks it is much harder for his wife than it is for him. She not only has to deal with the family by herself, but she worries (as any of us would). He says that he has no fear when he is there and he is so in the grove that although he would love to be at home with his family more than anything, he knows he is exactly where he should be. There is a lot of peace in that. My prayers are with your sister, and your family.

If you do read this book, I can't wait to read your review!!! :)