Wednesday 1 September 2010

Book Review: Fifteen Days and our Highway of Heroes

Fifteen Days by Christie Blatchford

She tells it like it is. Or, I should say, she tells us what the troops tell her. She tells their stories and honours their humanity and gives them dignity and respect. For, though I believe that our time is done in Afghanistan, and we make little progress, we must honour the fine work our soldiers do. With the US pulling out of Iraq and moving into Afghanistan, I fear for both US and Canadian soldiers.

Since 2002, 154 members of the Canadian Forces have been killed serving in the Afghanistan mission. Four Canadian civilians have also been killed, including one diplomat, one journalist and two aid workers. (As of Dec., 2010) 
Brian Pinksen, 21, seen here in a photo from Facebook, died Monday in Germany. He was injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Aug. 22.
Facebook photo: Brian Pinksen, 21
Most recently:

Canadian soldier dies in Germany
Brian Pinksen, a 21-year-old Canadian soldier from western Newfoundland, died Monday morning at a German hospital, more than a week after he was injured by a roadside bomb in an attack in Afghanistan.
This is an excellent read. Christie Blatchford, an embedded reporter for The Globe and Mail, put together these stories of our men and women. I often read her columns in the Globe. She is sometimes personal (writing about the death of her dog?) but usually hard-hitting covering serious judicial issues.

As an embedded reporter I question her ability to be objective, though. For example, she speaks to her soldiers about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and one of them, as I recall, suggests that this is not a problem. I felt, at the time taking my M.A. in Counselling, that this could not possibly be true. PTSD, on the Road to Kandahar, is a tough one.

Her voice a strong one. She reports well on war. She did dozens of interviews with the members of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. She is empathetic, and writes well of the bravery, as much as the heartbreak that affects the soldiers and their family members. For PTSD is something that has an effect on all of society.
To quote one review:
Christie Blatchford creates a detailed, complex and deeply affecting picture of military life in the twenty-first century.

Format: Hardcover, 400 pages, Publisher: Doubleday Canada
ISBN: 978-0-385-66466-0 (0-385-66466-4)
Pub Date: October 9, 2007
Price: $34.95
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
:Click on the icon for more book review blogs @Barrie Summy


    W.C.Camp said...

    Highway of Heroes is an excellent way to honor the military who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who continue to serve. I wish the Gov here would name a stretch of highway around Washington D.C., something similar! Great Idea! W.C.C.

    Jenn Jilks said...

    I agree, W.C., but the US government seems to want to keep a low profile. Ours is perfect, as it is a log drive from the CFB Trenton airport, along highway 401 and the Canadian gov't cannot control who stands there!

    Linda McLaughlin said...

    The book sounds quite interesting, and the Highway of Heroes is a lovely idea. But veterans with PTSD need good, ongoing care. Our government & military are finally making strides in that area, but for how long I don't know. I know Canada doesn't get much in the way of thanks for what you've all done in Afghanistan, so let me say thanks now.

    Cloudia said...


    Warm Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

    Barrie said...

    Hi Jenn! So glad you were able to join in, even with your impending move. I love the idea of the Highway of Heroes.