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Review: THE ROAD AHEAD – The Forever War

Edited by Adrian Bonenberger and Brian Castner. Published by Pegasus Books of New York and London in 2017. $24.95

9781681773070_d5f1d.thumbnailReviewed by MAMF Board Member Allen Dale Olson

If you have never experienced combat, chances are that anything you have assumed about it is incorrect. That becomes evident as you read through the stories of 24 seasoned combat veterans in The Road Ahead, each providing a view of America’s “Forever War.”

This 349-page volume is one of the newest anthologies to arrive in the library of the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF), a gift from the publisher, signed by the principal editor.

Each of the contributing writers saw serious combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and each of them has written for some of America’s most prestigious journals – The New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, and so on. They know how to make their words reflect the horrors, the challenges, the triumphs, the failures of combat along with both the misguided and the inspired decisions of commanders and politicians who give shape to these never-ending wars.

The stories are presented as fiction, but there is no doubting that the stories are fact, true experiences, written from having been there.

One story takes you through the pain and anguish of changed family relations after deployment , another details what it’s like to see your bones protrude from where your lower leg flesh used to be, and yet another takes you inside a tribal meeting in an Afghani village to learn just how the elders view the American presence.

These writers hide nothing, spare nothing. Candidly they shed tears and they rage, they show compassion, and they boast. The women veterans are frank about sexuality in combat zones and their personal need to succeed in every way concerning the mission.

This book is literature of our new times, a nation constantly at war; it describes a new reality of who we are as a nation, having reached a place from which we cannot retreat; but more importantly, it points out that war is far more costly than the dollars needed to fight it. And finally, it shows the reality that for some, for many, returning to civilian society is more challenging than facing an enemy on the battlefield.

MAMF is proud to add this volume to its library

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