Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

Why does a peacenik Canadian like me read a book about the American army in Iraq? The whole military culture of the U.S. mystifies me. I am glad that writers like Myers can help me to understand by using first person for a young army recruit.

Robin "Birdy" Perry tells of his experience in Operation Iraqi Freedom, at the start of the invasion in 2003. He enlisted against his father's wishes, but he really wanted to do something after the attack of 9/11. Of course war isn't anything like he expected. Birdy's Civil Affairs unit is supposed to interact with Iraqi civilians and help stabilize the country. The confusion over who exactly is the enemy makes everything complicated. He realizes that, like his uncle who went to Vietnam, it is unlikely that he will be able to talk to people at home about the horror that he has seen and been a part of.

Sunrise Over Fallujah is a gripping read and makes a powerful statement about the senselessness of war.

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