Outside the Wire
American Soldiers' Voices from Afghanistan
Publication Date: April 2013
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A riveting collection of thirty-eight narratives by American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, "Outside the Wire" offers a powerful evocation of everyday life in a war zone. Christine Dumaine Leche--a writing instructor who left her home and family to teach at Bagram Air base and a forward operating base near the volatile Afghan-Pakistani border--encouraged these deeply personal reflections, which demonstrate the power of writing to battle the most traumatic of experiences.
The soldiers whose words fill this book often met for class with Leche under extreme circumstances and in challenging conditions, some having just returned from dangerous combat missions, others having spent the day in firefights, endured hours in the bitter cold of an open guard tower, or suffered a difficult phone conversation with a spouse back home. Some choose to record momentous events from childhood or civilian life--events that motivated them to join the military or that haunt them as adults. Others capture the immediacy of the battlefield and the emotional and psychological explosions that followed. These soldiers write through the senses and from the soul, grappling with the impact of moral complexity, fear, homesickness, boredom, and despair.
We each, writes Leche, require witnesses to the narratives of our lives. "Outside the Wire" creates that opportunity for us as readers to bear witness to the men and women who carry the weight of war for us all.
Brian Turner is the director of the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College and the prize-winning author of two poetry collections about his seven years in the United States Army. He lives in Orlando, Florida.
In some ways, Christine Dumaine Leche's writing class was just like any other â�� there were backpacks, rough drafts, class discussions. But her classroom was on an air base in Afghanistan, and her students were active soldiers. She's collected their work in a new book called Outside The Wire. More at NPR.org
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