Human Costs of the Forever Wars, Enough to Fill a Bookshelf

In books by soldiers and reporters about Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s the details that slam home a sense of what the wars were like on the front lines: a suicide bomber’s head pulled from the rubble of the mosque he’d bombed; the sonogram of an unborn child found among a soldier’s remains; a bomb technician writing NKA (No Known Allergies) and his blood type on his boots in permanent marker “because feet survive detonations.”

War cracks people’s lives apart, unmasks the most extreme emotions, fuels the deepest existential questions. Even as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan morph into shapeless struggles with no clear ends in sight, they have given birth to an extraordinary outpouring of writing that tries to make sense of it all: journalism that has unraveled the back story of how and why America went to war, and also a profusion of stories, novels, memoirs and poems that testify to the day-to-day realities and to the wars’ ever-unspooling human costs.

via Human Costs of the Forever Wars, Enough to Fill a Bookshelf – NYTimes.com.