The Yellow Birds: A Novel

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Little, Brown, Sep 11, 2012 - Fiction - 240 pages
28 Reviews
A novel written by a veteran of the war in Iraq, The Yellow Birds is the harrowing story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive.

"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.

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The Yellow Birds

User Review  - Barbara Hoffert - Book Verdict

Starkly, relentlessly absorbing (at first glance), this debut comes from an Iraq war veteran who joined the army at 17. Now he's a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, getting his MFA ... Read full review

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The only reason I give this book any credit at all, is because it was written by an Iraq war veteran. I see that the book has been compared to Hemingway and called the Iraq wars All Quiet on the Western Front. Both of these comparisons are wrong. The book is not good. The author, bless him for his service to the country, is making a transition from writing poetry to novels. I would say that reading this book, you definitely got that feel. The author clearly incorporates some of his personal experiences from Iraq to the writing, which gives a decent feel for the story, but other than that, I felt the novel was poorly written. I will not be recommending it to anyone. 

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About the author (2012)

Kevin Powers is the author of The Yellow Birds, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and was a National Book Award Finalist. He was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener Fellow in Poetry. He served in the US Army in 2004 and 2005 in Iraq, where he was deployed as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar. This is his first collection of poetry.

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