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Outside the Wire: The War in Afghanistan in the Words of Its Participants

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A remarkable collection of first-hand accounts written by soldiers, doctors and aid workers on the front lines of Canada’s war in Afghanistan. Visceral, intimate and captivating in ways no other telling could be, Outside the Wire features nearly two dozen stories by Canadians on the front lines in Afghanistan, including the previously unpublished letters home of Captain Nic A remarkable collection of first-hand accounts written by soldiers, doctors and aid workers on the front lines of Canada’s war in Afghanistan. Visceral, intimate and captivating in ways no other telling could be, Outside the Wire features nearly two dozen stories by Canadians on the front lines in Afghanistan, including the previously unpublished letters home of Captain Nichola Goddard, the first female NATO soldier killed in combat, and an introductory reflection by Roméo Dallaire. Collected here are stories of battle and the more subtle engagements of this little-understood war: the tearful farewells; the shock of immersion into a culture that has been at war for thirty years; looking a suicide bomber in the eye the moment before he strikes; grappling with mortality in the Kandahar Field Hospital; and the unexpected humour that leavens life in a warzone. Throughout each piece the passion of those engaged in rebuilding this shattered country shines through, a glimmer of optimism and determination so rare in multinational military actions–and so particularly Canadian. In Outside the Wire, award-winning author Kevin Patterson and co-editor Jane Warren have rediscovered the valour and horror of sacrifice in this, the definitive account of the modern Canadian experience of war.


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A remarkable collection of first-hand accounts written by soldiers, doctors and aid workers on the front lines of Canada’s war in Afghanistan. Visceral, intimate and captivating in ways no other telling could be, Outside the Wire features nearly two dozen stories by Canadians on the front lines in Afghanistan, including the previously unpublished letters home of Captain Nic A remarkable collection of first-hand accounts written by soldiers, doctors and aid workers on the front lines of Canada’s war in Afghanistan. Visceral, intimate and captivating in ways no other telling could be, Outside the Wire features nearly two dozen stories by Canadians on the front lines in Afghanistan, including the previously unpublished letters home of Captain Nichola Goddard, the first female NATO soldier killed in combat, and an introductory reflection by Roméo Dallaire. Collected here are stories of battle and the more subtle engagements of this little-understood war: the tearful farewells; the shock of immersion into a culture that has been at war for thirty years; looking a suicide bomber in the eye the moment before he strikes; grappling with mortality in the Kandahar Field Hospital; and the unexpected humour that leavens life in a warzone. Throughout each piece the passion of those engaged in rebuilding this shattered country shines through, a glimmer of optimism and determination so rare in multinational military actions–and so particularly Canadian. In Outside the Wire, award-winning author Kevin Patterson and co-editor Jane Warren have rediscovered the valour and horror of sacrifice in this, the definitive account of the modern Canadian experience of war.

30 review for Outside the Wire: The War in Afghanistan in the Words of Its Participants

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nic Nacks Corner

    A fantastic collection of stories inside the wars through many soldiers eyes. Gripping and each story is as endearing as the last.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is a collection of accounts by Canadians, soldiers and civilians, who served in Afghanistan during the first (bloodiest) half of our deployment there. Patterson, himself, served, and contributes a piece. Particularly poignant are those of Mike Frastacky and Capt. Nichola Goddard, in the form of letters and emails, which were provided by their families after their deaths over there. Goddard, some would remember, was the first Canadian female combatant fatality. Captain Casey Balden makes an i This is a collection of accounts by Canadians, soldiers and civilians, who served in Afghanistan during the first (bloodiest) half of our deployment there. Patterson, himself, served, and contributes a piece. Particularly poignant are those of Mike Frastacky and Capt. Nichola Goddard, in the form of letters and emails, which were provided by their families after their deaths over there. Goddard, some would remember, was the first Canadian female combatant fatality. Captain Casey Balden makes an insightful commentary on the dislocation soldiers feel after returning to what the Vietnam vets called "The World" at the bottom of page 261. One picks up bits from the stories that Patterson used later in his also fine Afghan novel, "News From The Red Desert". This is an important book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I was browsing in Chapters one day and came across this book. I read the first entry to see what it was like and I found myself tearing up in the middle of the store (this never happens). So I immediately bought it. It is a compilation of journal entries from Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. I am still working my way slowly through it, not that it isnt good, but I find some of the military language dull. Despite this, I think it is important to try and understand what the Canadian force I was browsing in Chapters one day and came across this book. I read the first entry to see what it was like and I found myself tearing up in the middle of the store (this never happens). So I immediately bought it. It is a compilation of journal entries from Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. I am still working my way slowly through it, not that it isnt good, but I find some of the military language dull. Despite this, I think it is important to try and understand what the Canadian forces are going through over seas. *** So I have put this one back on the to-read shelf because I have gotten half way through it and decided to set it aside for a while. It has been on my currently reading shelf for a while but I haven't read it in months.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    It was funny, sad, heartbreaking, thoughtprovoking and so to the point. Some of which stuck with me was seeing the names of those lost, many of whom I knew. While I will never be able to say " I know what you went through" I can in fact say "I understand it compares to nothing else". I now understand some of the long silences, the aloofness, the anger and the inability to let it go. The book has been edited and perhaps embellished according to some I have spoken to, regardless I highly recommend It was funny, sad, heartbreaking, thoughtprovoking and so to the point. Some of which stuck with me was seeing the names of those lost, many of whom I knew. While I will never be able to say " I know what you went through" I can in fact say "I understand it compares to nothing else". I now understand some of the long silences, the aloofness, the anger and the inability to let it go. The book has been edited and perhaps embellished according to some I have spoken to, regardless I highly recommend everyone reads this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    D.m. Grace

    An account of life in Afghanistan from the people that were there on the front lines. Some of it is humorous and some is heartbreaking when you learn the words full of personality and hope were written by a soldier whose life was cut short by the conflict. A great read for anyone who wants to understand more about this conflict from the point of view of the people that are doing the work on the ground.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Morris

    I was initially hesitant to pick up this book, as I worried it might be ideologically heavy-handed or particularly nationalistic. The sheer variety of voices rendered that nearly impossible; the breadth of experiences painted a distinct landscape under which hyper-real human emotions and interactions came to life. With tales from aid workers and soldiers, "Outside the Wire" juxtaposes a unique sense of orality and epistolary with its vivid and varied prose.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dirk

    I found much of this compilation very moving and at times difficult to read as a result. Not suprisingly it is not an uplifting read but important for those who want to better understand this conflict.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dave B

    True stories told by Canadian Vets about themselves or fellow soldiers, some who were killed in action. You can’t help but get emotional reading these stories, some make you proud to be Canadian, some make you sad and others mad.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Thalia

    This is a collection of essays/short true stories from various points of experiance/views. Doctors, soldiers, aid workers, etc. I really liked some, others didn't do much for me. But it was definitely worth the read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sean McCarthy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  12. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ernest Chong

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  16. 5 out of 5

    Phil Tattersall

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

  19. 4 out of 5

    Aladdin Elaasar

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hugh Gwillim

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lysha

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  24. 5 out of 5

    Colt Buckley

  25. 4 out of 5

    Krissy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lee Mijares

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matt Littlechild

  28. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sm4cksm4sh

  30. 4 out of 5

    Louis

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