As of early 2010, more than two million U.S. troops have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the American public is neither much engaged in the issues of these two wars nor particularly knowledgeable about the troops' experiences, which have ranged from positive and energizing to searing and debilitating. Based on scores of interview--some culled from the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and others conducted by the author himself-- Through Veterans' Eyes presents a composite narrative of the experiences of U.S. service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Larry Minear quotes more than 175 veterans by name and includes a dozen of their own photos from the conflict theaters. Thematic chapters cover duty and service, politics, cultural and ethical challenges, relationships to local populations, and reentry into American society. Neither pro-war nor anti-war, Minear's approach encourages veterans to express their views on issues critical to the nation. What has motivated U.S. military personnel to enlist? What specific challenges have they faced in Iraq and Afghanistan? What have been the impacts of deployment on their families and communities? Is their experience changing their views of their country and the world? What lessons may be learned from their stories? Veterans' candid responses to these and other probing questions deserve pondering.