War writing simply doesn't get any more potent than this. Richard Engel is on the front lines of the Iraq war but is more than an observer. He's victim of bomb attacks and a confident to Generals. His personal life consumed by the war, he's lost close friends and some sense of humanity. This is the underbelly of the war. The story America needs to hear. This is an amazing work because we not only get a clear explanation of the cultural currents that direct the violence and political landscape, but we experience everything as intensely personal (through Engels eyes).
Of the various books I've read on the war, this is one of the finest, which is saying a lot. He's up against authors like George Packer and Seymour Hersch. What "Journal" offers is the perspective of a man who is there himself. He is with Marines when they attack, and barely escapes being kidnapped himself. At one point he comes face-to-face with a suicide bomber (you'll have to read the book).
For anyone wanting to truly understand what has happened in Iraq these past seven years. This is THE book. Reply