The Yellow Birds
By Kevin Powers
(Back Bay Books, Paperback, 9780316219341, 256pp.)
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
List Price: $14.99*
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"The war tried to kill us in the spring." So begins this powerful account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. Bound together since basic training when Bartle makes a promise to bring Murphy safely home, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for.
In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes actions he could never have imagined.
With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home, "The Yellow Birds" is a groundbreaking novel that is destined to become a classic.
- Discuss the title, The Yellow Birds, and the U.S. Army marching cadence that inspired it. What does the cadence mean to you? How does the cadence and the title influence your reading of the book?