Great Book to Read!!

Dear Folks,

Well, I hope that you are all having a wonderful long weekend. I have been rather lethargic, so I felt it was right and proper to do something constructive, and make a post. Recently a friend of mine gave me a book as a present, and I have to say that it is one of the best books that I have read in a really long time. If you love books that deal with the fog of war and the grim reality of military life, then Ron Leshem’s Beaufort is a must read.

The title of the book is the same as the recent film adaptation that received an Oscar nomination in 2008 for best foreign picture. As of now, I have not seen the film, but if it is anything like the book, it is sure to be a harrowing watch. The book is about the lives of a group of Israeli soldiers who work to defend the northern border between Israel and Lebanon before the pullout of 2000. The men live cheek by jowl in an antiquated bunker, and spend their days dodging missiles, grenades and Hezbollah fighters.

The descriptions are vivid and give the reader a real unadulterated taste of combat in close quarters. It gives an insight into the darker side of life in the Israeli Defense Force. It is not all about heroism whilst guns are a blazing, but the sad and honest reality of human behavior in dangerous situations. All in all a great book!

Here is a review from Amazon’s own US website:

In this gritty war novel, Leshem chronicles the tumultuous year leading up to Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from Southern Lebanon. The story is told through the eyes of 21-year-old squadron leader, Liraz Liberti (aka Erez), who is tasked with shepherding a motley group of 13 “kids” through their military tours at the historic Israeli outpost, Beaufort. As the violence at Beaufort increases and the day of the withdrawal approaches, those stationed at the outpost try to ward off “eatenness” (fear) and a nagging sense of the futility of manning an outpost about to be closed down. Rather than dwell on the politics behind Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah, Leshem focuses on the soldiers’ slang-heavy language (those who are scared are “strawberry pissers”; a dumb soldier is a “hummus”) and the thickening camaraderie to give readers remarkably visceral access to the isolated outpost. The anxiety and fear are palpable throughout Leshem’s vivid novel-you can practically feel the shells explode.

Reviews

“Evocative, heartbreaking and haunting … [Israel’s] “Red Badge of Courage.” Because Leshem, like Stephen Crane, never saw combat, this is not a work of autobiography or observations but one of empathy and reconstruction—and all the stronger for that because the author has deployed both qualities without judgment. Beaufort is that rare thing, a novel of deep moral concern in which sympathetically drawn and beautifully realized characters are allowed to speak for themselves.”—Los Angeles Times

“Thirteen young soldiers spring to life with voices at once self-critical and brash, tender and darkly flippant…. Though firsthand accounts and combat memoirs line the shelves of bookstores, Leshem’s fiction rivals them in the completeness of his cosmos of war.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Ron Leshem has succeeded in creating an entire world, simply through language.”—David Grossman, author of The Yellow Wind

“A gripping, viscerally powerful tale…. An alternately grim and blackly comic war/coming-of-age novel.”—Kirkus Reviews

“An important novel…. This is a picture of war from a soldier’s point of view. Its language is crude, the body count rises, and yet the tenderness of the bonds among the men is extraordinary.”—Library Journal, starred review

Have a great weekend, and enjoy your Monday sleep-ins!!!!

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