By Kevin Patterson and Jane Warren:
“Refreshingly . . . raw and evocative, infused in equal parts with pain, sadness, and the kind of rage only a war zone can elicit. There are also warnings for what is to come.”
–Quill & Quire
Outside the Wire is a remarkable collection of first-hand accounts written by soldiers, doctors and aid workers on the front lines of the war in Afghanistan. We’ve heard extensively from the pundits and the politicians and the pro- and anti-war activists, but so rarely have we had a chance to understand the war from the perspective of those actually fighting it.
Visceral, intimate and captivating in ways no other telling could be, Outside the Wire features nearly two dozen stories by soldiers on the front lines in Afghanistan, including the previously unpublished letters home of Captain Nichola Goddard, the first female NATO soldier killed in combat.
Collected here are stories of battle and the more subtle engagements of this little-understood war: the tearful farewells; the shock of immersion into a culture that has been at war for thirty years; looking a suicide bomber in the eye the moment before he strikes; grappling with mortality in the Kandahar Field Hospital; and the unexpected humour that leavens life in a warzone. Throughout each piece the passion of those engaged in rebuilding this shattered country shines through, a glimmer of optimism and determination so rare in multinational military actions.
In Outside the Wire, award-winning author Kevin Patterson and co-editor Jane Warren have rediscovered the valour and horror of sacrifice in this, the definitive account of the modern experience of war.
“Outside the Wire tells us more about the lives and deaths of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan than will ever be conveyed in news reports of military briefings.”
“Some of these accounts are moving and heartbreaking. Others are painfully raw. All are memorable and, in most cases, quintessentially Canadian, being a mixture of fearlessness and civility.”
–Halifax Daily News
“[I]n this startling new book… the voices of battle denote the ecstasy of survival, the thrill of engagement, and the crippling loss that accompanies the death of friends and compatriots. At times haunting and desperate and at other times playful, even lyrical, these unmediated dispatches are flesh and bone, mind and matter, and, above all, soulful to the last. For observers of Canada’s national drama on the killing fields of Kandahar province, Outside the Wire is a must-read. It ensures that our soldiers are heard — that they do not go missing in action.”
“[Outside the Wire is] not an easy book to read, but it is an astonishing one. . .Reading this book, one cannot help but feel that others should, too. We should pause and consider this book, then return to our nationwide debate. . .It certainly would help us better grasp what’s going on over there. . .We need to hear from the people who are there doing the heavy lifting of this mission — the soldiers, government workers, aid workers, reconstruction personnel. They know the cost, the politics, the potential and the numerous pitfalls. This book lends that voice fully, utterly, and at times agonizingly.”
–What’s On Winnipeg
“The breadth of this volume and the variety of the contributors and their insights provide an invaluable window into the current Canadian experience in Afghanistan.”
Random House Canada, December 2007