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The Forever War

Cover of The Forever War

The Forever War

National BestsellerOne of the Best Books of the Year:New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, and TimeAn instant classic of war reporting, The Forever War is the...
National BestsellerOne of the Best Books of the Year:New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, and TimeAn instant classic of war reporting, The Forever War is the...
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Description-
  • National Bestseller

    One of the Best Books of the Year:

    New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, and Time

    An instant classic of war reporting, The Forever War is the definitive account of America's conflict with Islamic fundamentalism and a searing exploration of its human costs. Through the eyes of Filkins, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, we witness the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, the aftermath of the attack on New York on September 11th, and the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Filkins is the only American journalist to have reported on all these events, and his experiences are conveyed in a riveting narrative filled with unforgettable characters and astonishing scenes.

    Brilliant and fearless, The Forever War is not just about America's wars after 9/11, but about the nature of war itself.



    From the Trade Paperback edition.
 
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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Only ThisThey led the man to a spot at the middle of the field. A soccer field, grass, with mainly dirt around the center where the players spent most of the game. There was a special section for the handicapped on the far side, a section for women. The orphans were walking up and down the bleachers on my side selling candy and cigarettes.

    A couple of older men carried whips. They wore grenade launchers on their backs.

    The people are coming, a voice was saying into the loudspeaker, and the voice was right, the people were streaming in and taking their seats. Not with any great enthusiasm, as far as I could tell; they were kind of shuffling in. I probably had more enthusiasm than anybody. I had a special seat; they'd put me in the grass at the edge of the field. In America, I would have been on the sidelines, at the fifty yard line with the coaches. Come sit with us, they'd said; you are our honored guest.

    A white Toyota Hi-Lux drove onto the field and four men wearing green hoods climbed out of the back. There was a fifth man, a prisoner, no hood, sitting in the bed of the truck. The hooded men laid their man in the grass just off midfield, flat on his back, and crouched around him. It was hard to see. The man on his back was docile; there was no struggle at all. The voice on the loudspeaker said he was a pickpocket.

    "Nothing that is being done here is against God's law," the voice said.

    The green hoods appeared busy, and one of them stood up. He held the man's severed right hand in the air, displaying it for the crowd. He was holding it up by its middle finger, moving in a semicircle so everyone could see. The handicapped and the women. Then he pulled his hood back, revealing his face, and he took a breath. He tossed the hand into the grass and gave a little shrug.

    I couldn't tell if the pickpocket had been given any sort of anesthesia. He wasn't screaming. His eyes were open very wide, and as the men with the hoods lifted him back into the bed of the Hi-Lux, he stared at the stump of his hand. I took notes the whole time.

    I looked back at the crowd, and it was remarkably calm, unfeeling almost, which wasn't really surprising, after all they'd been through. A small drama with the orphans was unfolding in the stands; they were getting crazy and one of the guards was beating them with his whip.

    "Get back," he was saying, drawing the whip over his head. The orphans cowered.

    I thought that was it, but as it turned out the amputation was just a warm-up. Another Toyota Hi-Lux, this one ma-roon, rumbled onto midfield carrying a group of long-haired men with guns. The long hair coming out of their white turbans. They had a blindfolded man with them. The Taliban were known for a lot of things and the Hi-Lux was one, jacked up and fast and menacing; they had conquered most of the country with them. You saw a Hi-Lux and you could be sure that something bad was going to happen soon.

    "The people are coming!" the voice said again into the speaker, louder now and more excited. "The people are coming to see, with their own eyes, what sharia means."

    The men with guns led the blindfolded man from the truck and walked him to midfield and sat him down in the dirt. His head and body were wrapped in a dull gray blanket, all of a piece. Seated there in the dirt at midfield at the Kabul Sports Stadium, he didn't look much like a man at all, more like a sack of flour. In that outfit, it was difficult even to tell which way he was facing. His name was Atiqullah, one of the Talibs said.

    The man who had pulled his hood back was standing at midfield, facing the crowd. The voice on the loudspeaker introduced him as...

About the Author-
  • Dexter Filkins, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, has covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. Before that, he worked for the Los Angeles Times, where he was chief of the paper's New Delhi bureau, and for The Miami Herald. In 2009, he was part of a team of Times reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for covering Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has received a George Polk Award and two Overseas Press Club awards. Most recently, he was a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. He lives in New York City.

Reviews-
  • Genvieve Long, The Epoch Times

    "Stunning. . . . This unforgettable narrative represents . . . a haunting spiritual witness that will make this volume a part of this awful war's history." --Robert Stone, The New York Times Book Review

    "Filkins makes us see, with almost hallucinogenic immediacy, the true human meaning and consequences of the "war on terror." --The New York Times

    "Unflinching. . . . Filkins confronts the absurdity of war head-on. . . . This is a page-turner, and one of the most astounding books yet written about the war in Iraq." --Time

    "Thanks to one reporter's heroic act of witness and brilliant recitation of what he saw, we can see the war¬ as it is, and for ourselves." --Los Angeles Times

    "Not since Michael Herr in Dispatches . . . has a reporter written as vividly about combat as Filkins does from Afghanistan and Iraq." --USA Today 10 Best Books of 2008

    "The Forever War . . . achieves a gripping, raw immediacy." --The Boston Globe's Year's Best Books

    "Splendid." --Washington Post Book World Best Nonfiction of 2008

    "Dexter Filkins's The Forever War is the best piece of war journalism I've ever read. He paints a portrait of war that is so nuanced, so filled with absurdities and heartbreak and unexpected heroes and villains, that it makes most of what we see and hear about Iraq and Afghanistan seem shrill and two-dimensional by comparison. And yet, as tragic as the events he describes are, the book manages to be a thing of towering beauty." --Dave Eggers, Guardian Best Books of the Year

    "The Forever War is already a classic--it has the timeless feel of all great war literature. Dexter Filkins's combination of courage and sensitivity is so rare that books like his come along only once every major war. This one is ours." --George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq

    "Dexter Filkins is the preeminent war correspondent of my generation, fearless, compassionate, and brutally honest. The Forever War is his astonishing story. It is one of the best books about war that I have ever read. It will stay with me forever." --Jeffrey Goldberg, author of Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide

    "Dexter Filkins has seen the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan; he has stood in the ruins of the World Trade Center; he has been in the heat of battle in Iraq; indeed, no one else has been closer to the action than this courageous and thoughtful observer. This is a sensational book in the best sense." --Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

    "Stunning ... it is not facetious to speak of work like that of Dexter Filkins as defining the 'culture' of a war...This unforgettable narrative [represents] ... a haunting spiritual witness that will make this volume a part of this awful war's history." --Robert Stone, on the front page of The New York Times Book Review

    "Dexter Filkins's The Forever War, brutally intimate, compassionate, often poetic accounts of the battle against Islamic fundamentalism, is destined to become a classic." --Vanity Fair

    "Extraordinary. . . . if what Michael Herr brought back from Vietnam in Dispatches was a sort of Jackson Pollock--streaks of blood, trickles of dread, splattershot of hard rock and harder drugs--The Forever War is like a pointillist Seurat, a neo-Impressionist juxtaposition of spots of pure color with black holes and open wounds." --John...

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