A riveting collection of thirty-eight narratives by American
soldiers serving in Afghanistan, "Outside the Wire" offers a
powerful evocation of everyday life in a war zone. Christine
Dumaine Leche--a writing instructor who left her home and family to
teach at Bagram Air Base and a forward operating base near the
volatile Afghan-Pakistani border--encouraged these deeply personal
reflections, which demonstrate the power of writing to battle the
most traumatic of experiences.
The soldiers whose words fill this book often met for class with
Leche under extreme circumstances and in challenging conditions,
some having just returned from dangerous combat missions, others
having spent the day in firefights, endured hours in the bitter
cold of an open guard tower, or suffered a difficult phone
conversation with a spouse back home. Some choose to record
momentous events from childhood or civilian life--events that
motivated them to join the military or that haunt them as adults.
Others capture the immediacy of the battlefield and the emotional
and psychological explosions that followed. These soldiers write
through the senses and from the soul, grappling with the impact of
moral complexity, fear, homesickness, boredom, and despair.
We each, writes Leche, require witnesses to the narratives of
our lives. "Outside the Wire" creates that opportunity for us as
readers to bear witness to the men and women who carry the weight
of war for us all.
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