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« Murder, Manslaughter, Iran and Kansas | Main | Volunteer: A Traveler's Guide to Making a Difference, by Hindle & Pringle »

Operation Homecoming, by Andrew Carroll

By an everyday book reader
March 1, 2007

The fear and exhilaration of heading into battle;
The relief and reward in knowing you are both serving and surviving;
The guilt and remorse for what you did do, didn't do, or couldn't know;
The physical and emotional toll it takes from you;
The somber and aching memories for those returning in flag draped caskets;
The horror, that you never knew existed;
The horror, that you're not sure if you can ever discuss with anyone;
The horror that sits at the front of your mind at all times.

Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families
by Andrew Carroll, editorBook

Hardcover: 416 pages
Random House
September 2006
ISBN: 1400065623; 9781400065622

The publisher has announced that proceeds from this book will be used to provide arts and cultural programming to U.S. military communities.

Operation Homecoming is the result of a major initiative launched by the National Endowment for the Arts to bring distinguished writers to military bases and inspire U.S. Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen and their families to record their wartime experiences.

"This beautifully edited compilation of writings from modern warriors and their loved ones contains a wonderful range of voices and experience. Culled from an NEA call for the personal stories of service members and their families - a call that resulted in some ten thousand pages of material - the writing on display might make one think war transformed these untrained writers into fearless poets, ready and able to tackle the big topics: heartbreak, courage, sheer pluck and God-awful horror." - Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Encouraged by such authors as Tom Clancy, Mark Bowden, Bobbie Ann Mason, Tobias Wolff, Jeff Shaara, and Marilyn Nelson, American military personnel and their loved ones wrote candidly about what they saw, heard, and felt while in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as on the home front. Taken together, these almost one hundred never-before-published eyewitness accounts, private journals, short stories, letters, and other personal writings become a dramatic narrative that shows the human side of warfare.

From riveting combat accounts to profound reflections on warfare and the pride these troops feel for one another, Operation Homecoming offers an unflinching and intensely revealing look into the lives of some extraordinary men and women.

"Andrew Carroll has given America a priceless treasure." - Tom Brokaw

"The result is an incredibly wide range of opinions and emotions about U.S. policy in the Middle East, the war on terrorism, and the duties and responsibilities of citizens and the military. In 100 pieces of poetry, essays, letters, e-mails, plays, and journal entries, soldiers recall the awful thrill in the threat of killing or being killed, the deaths of buddies, and the cultural and psychological adjustments to a strange land." - Vanessa Bush, American Library Association

Andrew Carroll is the editor of several critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling books, including Letters of a Nation, Behind the Lines, and War Letters, which was also a PBS documentary. Carroll is the founder of the Legacy Project, a national, all-volunteer effort to honor veterans and active-duty troops by seeking out and preserving their letters and e-mails. Carroll lives in Washington, D.C. He edited Operation Homecoming on a pro bono basis.

"Here is what you will not find in the news - the personal cost of war written as clear and beautiful as literature worthy of the name is. These stories are the real thing, passionate, imaginative, searing." - Richard Bausch, author of Wives & Lovers

This book shows us that the experience of war is many things, including the:

Pride and conviction in doing what your country asks of you;
Face-to-face searching examination into the eyes of Iraqi people;
Loneliness, boredom, discomfort, and humor of daily survival in surreal places;
Sheer brutality and physicality of the required warfare;
Anxiety and heartache of your worried spouses, parents, and family at home.

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Comments (2)

I heard about this anthology, or rather, this process, I guess, because of a documentary that's part of PBS's upcoming America at a Crossroads documentary, that's about how servicemen of all kinds used writing as an outlet. I think it sounds so interesting, and I'm planning to check out both the anthology and the documentary version (I have a hankering to see some of the men read their own works, I hope that's going to be part of it.)

FYI, the Operation Homecoming documentary is currently being screened at a couple of upcoming locations in various cities (unfortunately not mine, that I'm aware of.) A schedule is here, if anybody'd be interested - - the next Operation Homecoming screening and panel is in Seattle on March 22nd, at the Seattle Public Library. (I so love the...synchronicity of screening a story about the power of writing in library!)

Nora Thomason Author Profile Page:

Hey, thanks a lot, newkillerstar, for the tip on the live showing! Very cool!

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