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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.