Black Flag Journals

One Soldier's Experience in America's Longest War

Non-Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 12/29/2020
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Author Biography

Dennis Woods was deployed in combat for every President from Reagan to Obama, amassing over 57 months in battle. Black Flag Journals was written using a series of 9 battle book journals that bore witness to his actions in America's Longest War. Woods is also an inventor of devices that are chronicled in Black Flag Journals.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite

Written to explain at least some of the war against terrorism for the layperson (with it being dedicated to his daughter) and to recall the war for his fellow combatants and veterans, Black Flag Journals: One Soldier’s Experience in America’s Longest War tells the story of Dennis John Woods’ personal involvement on the battlefront in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Told from the viewpoint of a deployed soldier, Woods covers both the achievements and the trauma of what it is like to be at the forefront of both the living and the dying on the battlefield that many may wish to idealize as the fields of honor, but which, on a day-to-day basis, consist more of tactical maneuvers and body counts, with the odd farcical encounter thrown in to relieve the otherwise almost unbearable tension.

As a reader to whom situations of military combat are totally alien, I, nevertheless, found Black Flag Journals: One Soldier’s Experience in America’s Longest War by Dennis John Woods totally engrossing. The relationships between the different combatants and the interrelationships between the American servicemen and the locals on the ground were of particular interest to me, especially in the light of my tertiary-level brief foray into the arena of Social Anthropology. The appreciation that I already had for these fighting men of valor, who choose to leave their loved ones for long periods of time to protect the heroic values for which they all stand, was a mere smidgen of what I now feel, after having been exposed through the spoken word to a vivid account of what conditions are like at the front in these days of mechanized and highly technological warfare.

The audiobook was voiced by Lee David Foreman, whose steady, measured voice is ideal for the narration of such a sober tale. With vast experience in reading aloud both fiction and non-fiction works, he has a true oral narrator’s touch, with just the right amount of emphasis where the text needs it most. Each pause and phrase appears to be given the appropriate amount of attention, sufficient to keep the listener’s focus and to affirm the gravity of the text. The sound quality was excellent throughout. An audiobook that is well worth the listen, no matter your background.

Dr. Uniszkiewicz, Naval Officer and Phys

"I found Black Flag Journals fascinating, captivating and intriguing. As a civilian physical therapist working with wounded warriors and wives of wounded warriors I'm curious about what actually goes on in our country's longest war. Anyone who has a loved one who served or is interested in the war our nation has participated in will find this book an interesting read. Thank you for sharing, to help our nation heal and make educated decisions going forward." -Barbara McNally licensed physical therapist, author of Unbridled: member of San Diego Writers Ink, and an active blog contributor to the Huffington Post. "In his first foray into a full length manuscript, Dennis Woods, manages to pull off what many veteran writers cannot. War journals typically relay the myopic view of an individual from their singular perch. Woods manages to provide us with a holistic description that covers multiple domains, the cultural, the personal, as well as the interpersonal. Operations and engagements are described from the perspective of all three levels of war; the strategic, operational, and tactical, providing the reader a robust understanding of the environment and the conditions that are within the Soldier's control and those that are not. Every Service member should add this to their library of professional reading. Every American should read this to provide them an understanding of the commitment and dedication applied to fighting America's wars." -Command Sergeant Major Edward Roderiques, Jr. "Black Flag Journals brings a dedicated Soldier's story of war home for us all to experience. The author captures the true human emotion embedded in detailed descriptions of the tragedies of war. Dennis' anecdotes and eyewitness accounts of his time at war reminds us to be grateful to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. He outlines scenes of chaos, countless memorial services, and the pain of leaving loved ones behind time and time again while also providing a glimpse into the bonds forged between solders during times of extreme stress and the camaraderie among brothers in arms." -Dr. Uniszkiewicz, Naval Officer and Physician who focuses on Public Health: author of The Bucket List Chronicles.

Christopher O'Shea

"Black Flag Journals", by CSM Dennis John Woods, U. S. Army (Ret.), is a fast-paced, well-rounded, contemporary military memoir. It specifically chronicles the author's multiple combat tours and documents numerous important 'lessons learned' during his deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over his 28 year career, the author was deployed to active war zones for more than half of his time in uniform.

Unless I've missed my guess, Woods was arguably one of the best and brightest senior enlisted leaders of his generation of warfighters. Through his writings, it's self-evident that he is a natural leader of men: a motivator, mentor, teacher, inventor, and first-rate storyteller. His selfless service to the nation ought to inspire future generations of young people to follow his example in defense of vital US interests at home and abroad.

"Black Flag Journals" richly deserves its hard-earned 'Five Star' rating.