STARRED REVIEW
August 14, 2018

Dispatches from the front

By C.J. Chivers

The physical and psychological tolls of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on military personnel too often remains hidden from view. In The Fighters, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist C.J. Chivers narrates the stories of six combatants, peeling back the curtain on these individuals’ sacrifices, their commitment despite their nagging uncertainty about the morality of the war, and their lives after service.

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The physical and psychological tolls of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on military personnel too often remains hidden from view. In The Fighters, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist C.J. Chivers narrates the stories of six combatants, peeling back the curtain on these individuals’ sacrifices, their commitment despite their nagging uncertainty about the morality of the war, and their lives after service.

Inspired by watching the jets from a nearby air base buzz the cotton farm where he grew up in Texas, Navy Lieutenant Layne McDowell decided early in life that he wanted to fly fighter jets. After enlisting, he gets his chance to fly missions over Afghanistan following September 11, and he confidently settles in to achieve his mission. On his earliest bombing missions, though, he feels a lingering chill and wonders whether he has killed children or a family with his bombs.

Navy hospital corpsman Dustin Kirby returns home from the base in Jacksonville, North Carolina, not yet having faced action in Iraq, to learn that his cousin with whom he had enlisted, Joe Dan Worley, has lost a leg in Iraq; upon hearing the news Kirby thinks that the same will happen to him when he sees action.

Drawing on his reporting from these two wars, Chivers vividly brings to life these combatants, caught in a web of circumstances beyond their immediate control, who are determined to serve America and the country in which they find themselves assigned to duty. The Fighters offers an absorbing and indelible account of war and its costs.

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The Fighters

The Fighters

By C.J. Chivers
Simon & Schuster
ISBN 9781451676648

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