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.
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.
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.
"Outside The Wire is a testimony of the most important kind. If there
are any truths to be learned from our long wars, they may well be found
in these pages. A powerful, and powerfully necessary,
collection."--Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
"Outside The Wire gives voice to soldiers who so often go mute and who
so often retreat into isolation and despair, unable or unwilling to
attach language to personal experience. The narratives and anecdotes
collected in this wonderful volume are as varied and as unpredictable
and as idiosyncratic as humanity itself. In this collection, the reader
will encounter anger, grief, laughter, loneliness, joy, terror,
bitterness, redemption, hope, and cynicism. I was spellbound."--Tim
O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato
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