Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War, by Anthony Shadid (2005). The late Anthony Shadid gave us — perhaps for the first time — a clear understanding of how the Iraqi people reacted to the American invasion and occupation of their country.
One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer, by Nathaniel Fick (2005). A former Marine Corps Capt. provides a running account of unintended consequences, of shots fired and regretted.
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by Thomas Ricks (2006). With devastating detail, Ricks documents how U.S. generals misunderstood the problems they faced in Iraq and shows how poorly prepared the Army was for the unanticipated danger of a postwar Sunni rebellion.
Imperial Life In The Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran (2006). This extraordinary book is full of jaw-dropping tales of the ways Paul Bremer and his Coalition Provisional Authority poured fuel into the lethal cauldron that is Iraq.
The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family, by Martha Raddatz (2007). This tale of an ambushed American platoon might well be the “Black Hawk Down” of the Iraq War.
The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins (2008). Filkins’s singular skill in this book rests in showing how war shatters lives and how some people manage to survive amid fear, violence, intrigue and chaos.
The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel (2009). Finkel follows the 15 months’ deployment of the Second Battalion, Sixteenth Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army. The deaths are tragic, but the injuries are most harrowing.
The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers (2012). In this poetic novel written after the author served as an Army machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afarin, Powers moves gracefully between spare, factual descriptions of the soldiers’ work to simple, hard-won reflections on the meaning of war.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain (2012). In this razor-sharp, darkly comic novel — a worthy neighbor to “Catch-22” on the bookshelf of war fiction — the focus has shifted from bureaucracy to publicity, reflecting corresponding shifts in our culture.
Ten is an arbitrary number, of course. Please leave additional suggestions below in the comments section.
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