Fifteen Days by Christie Blatchford
Filed under: Book Reviews,Goveror General's Literary Award — Ibis at 10:44 pm on Sunday, February 8, 2009

From the publisher:
“Long before she made her first trip to Afghanistan as an embedded reporter for The Globe and Mail, Christie Blatchford was already one of Canada’s most respected and eagerly read journalists. Her vivid prose, her unmistakable voice, her ability to connect emotionally with her subjects and readers, her hard-won and hard-nosed skills as a reporter–these had already established her as a household name. But with her many reports from Afghanistan, and in dozens of interviews with the returned members of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and others back at home, she found the subject she was born to tackle. Her reporting of the conflict and her deeply empathetic observations of the men and women who wear the maple leaf are words for the ages, fit to stand alongside the nation’s best writing on war.

It is a testament to Christie Blatchford’s skills and integrity that along with the admiration of her readers, she won the respect and trust of the soldiers. They share breathtakingly honest accounts of their desire to serve, their willingness to confront fear and danger in the battlefield, their loyalty towards each other and the heartbreak occasioned by the loss of one of their own. Grounded in insights gained over the course of three trips to Afghanistan in 2006, and drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews not only with the servicemen and -women with whom she shared so much, but with their commanders and family members as well, Christie Blatchford creates a detailed, complex and deeply affecting picture of military life in the twenty-first century.”

My thoughts:
This is a very good book. Even though I’ve never experienced war and can’t possibly really understand what it’s like, Christie Blatchford has provided a window into the world of our soldiers in Afghanistan (at least what it was in 2006). You get a real sense of what operations are like, how it might feel to be under fire or at risk of an IED blowing up the vehicle you’re in, how the death of your mate could be so sudden and surprising but at the same time almost expected. She also gives insight into the lives of family and friends of the soldiers and the camaraderie of the military. I’m ending this book feeling even more respect for the troops because now I feel I have a greater knowledge of what they’re doing as well as a personal connection to them (even though I know the soldiers there now are not the same ones who were there in 2006). Anyway, I think Christie Blatchford really deserved the GG for this book.

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