“Sharon Olds' collections of poetry are always amazing, technically stellar, emotionally rich, and completely accessible. This collection is not quite as amazing as The Unswept Floor. The war poems are politically needed and right on target but leave something to be desired in execution. However, the poems chronicling the process undergone as she loses her mother are everything I could ever expect of such a masterful and seasoned poet. Truly amazing. All told, I still want to be Sharon Olds when I grow up.
Through this first-rate and appropriately devastating journalistic account of the experiences of the members one U.S. Army battalion deployed to serve in Baghdad during 2007-2008, Finkel chronicles what New York Times reviewer Doug Stanton describes as "ordinary men enduring extraordinary circumstances." Finkel pulls few punches in describing U.S. soldiers' ambivalent understanding of the U.S. mission in the Middle East, soldiers' harrowing injuries and deaths via roadside bombs, and the war at home as families struggle to hold it together during family members' deployments. Written with admirable journalistic neutrality, this book is a must read for anyone with an opinion on the war in the Middle East, and for anyone who knows or loves a soldier.