Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New
1 journaler for this copy...
Thank you John and thank you Random House. I am looking forward to reading it. I am not normally a reader of non-fiction, but I know I likely have a distorted view of people who voluntarily enter military life and it is not a flattering view. So, I'm hoping for an education. :)
It was my view that the only people who chose to do this were either very misguided or misfits and otherwise losers in life - those who didn't or thought they didn't have much chance of succeeding, young men with extreme inferiority complexes and power issues.
When I was a young woman (but still of an age where *responsibility* was largely a foreign term), my best pal girlfriend and I spent most Friday nights at the local hotel's pub. We drank and flirted and danced with whomever asked us. We had no intentions of going home with anyone - we were just out for some fun. The male population of this bar was made up of bikers and army boys - the bikers ruling the roost and the army boys out for some fun. The bikers looked out for us like uncles or brothers. If we wanted to talk they were talkers, but if we wanted to dance, as a rule, they weren't dancers (maybe the leather pants and boots were a problem). The army boys were dancers and if you looked unattached for even a moment one would be at your side with an invite. And boy would they dance - with wild abandon, like devils possessed. Trouble was they were not partners. They paid no attention to their partner. No eye contact, no flirty grins, and no social chit chat. None. Once out on the dance floor you could go sit down again or wander off or dance with someone else and they wouldn't notice. I don't mean to overgeneralize. And the truth is if you caught them early in the evening before they had a chance to get too many beers in them they were gentlemanly and pleasant conversationalists, if a bit aloof, but as the evening wore on they entered their own world - a world where the population was one. And while this was at least a decade before "An Officer and a Gentleman" was released, looking back, they were all Zack Mayos.
Having read *Fifteen Days* I have to admit I still don't know why a person (except possibly a person born into a military family) would voluntarily enter the forces. But while prior to the book, if I thought about it at all, I would view such a person with a certain measure of disdain (not entirely unsympathetic, but disdain nonetheless), I now hold nothing but respect for these people.
The book was extremely readable despite the overabundance of acronyms and the fact that the book did not flow chronologically. At the same time I found it hard to read and could only do so in small doses. And that's because the author made the soldiers and their families and their world real to me. Each day hit me like a blow to the solar plexus. I know that I could never be a part of that world, never be motivated to be part of a killing machine, never be able to accept the death of a family member or fellow soldier. I'm sure I would wet or soil my pants like the best of them, but I would never be able to carry on. I'm grateful to all of them that I don't have to.
A very powerful book.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
propped against one of the memorials in the park.
This book was released for the Canada Day release challenge in celebration of Canadian literature. I hope the finder enjoys the book and has a wonderful Canada Day.