Author: Joseph Givens
ISBN: 978-1-4787-1631-0
Publisher: Outskirts Press

This is a book that is extremely explosive in its content and is an eye opener for all those that look up to armed forces as a place of virtuous and just. But is it really so? No, as Joseph Givens rightly deduces at one point, why must one lay down his life for the country when your own compatriots train guns at you? Why must, one die when justice is never delivered, not even feigned for even comic relief? The rights of the soldier are often talked about but what about the plight of a soldier, suffering malicious treatment at the hands of those who are supposed to be his mentors? Does that not wreak havoc with one psyche? Does that not scar a soldier for life? And that this is happening to a soldier listed with world’s most powerful army that vows to nurture and protect virtues of democracy and justice makes such grand standing appear nothing short of sham.

The pace of the book is fast and makes for a great read. But the real charm of it lies in the personal narrative that the writer has employed, like the eruption of rashes due to excessive heat or hitting his own child when nightmares haunt him etc. It almost seems at one point that the reader is tip toeing all along and is a witness to the brutal treatment handed out to the soldier. That a young confident man was slowly being reduced to a nervous individual who somehow started drawing correlation between the humiliating treatment and the color of his skin brings out the pathos quiet clearly. Besides the sufferings of the writer another major point of the book is the peek it provides to the lives of army personnel. Like how some of them are not really ‘Gentlemen’ and enjoy porn or have casual sexual relations or how they go about training among several other things.

In short, this book has all the ingredients of a racy read in it and is able to keep the reader hooked. The first person narrative helps the writer bond well with the reader and it is easily achieved in this book. Though, the book may appear deeply disturbing due to the sufferings and misgivings that a young man in his early 20’s has to go through, but, his innate belief in goodness and God reduces the depressing undertone that cuts throughout the content. This is certainly a must read for those that like dark, brooding and psychological works.

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