Monday, March 22, 2010

The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel

For every reader there's a shelf of the books you want to share with everyone.

Over the last couple of years, I've decided (life being short, and its course unforeseeable) to teach books from that shelf every time I step into a classroom. The books change with my obsessions—representing at any given time the sources in my life of beauty, love, outrage, hope, despair.

I just finished The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel, and now place it on that shelf, a devastating, almost unreadable book, yet impossible to put down, and impossible, I'm guessing, to forget. I just finished it sitting in the front seat of my car, outside the gym, in a race with the lowering sun.

I wish that everyone—every American, especially—would read this book. It will long be regarded one of the masterpieces, perhaps the masterpiece, of Iraq War literature.

I'm aware that this recommendation comes from someone whose politics are not difficult to discern from other posts in the blog. For what it's worth, I can tell you that the book's title isn't meant to be ironic. You'll finish the book convinced that the soldiers—for whom goodness has always been indistinguishable from honor—merit the adjective Finkel has given them.


  1. Thank you Eric for the recommendation. I'm always looking for a good read and can certainly appreciate your recommendation and review. Sending love your way, always. Michele

  2. If I were to sit in the front seat of my car, watching the sun rise in the east and set in the west, numbering and qualifying the many recommendations that you have given me over the years, I could not, even in the dark after the sun disappeared into the horizon, think of a single book you recommended, that I read, that did not prove to be very much worth the time I spent reading it. This one, though war and (even) good soldiers in war deeply sadden me, will be read....also. Thanks Eric.