Bringing Afghanistan Home

'Outside the Wire' collects 38 stories from the front lines

Bringing Afghanistan Home

In the overworked and stress-filled days when I was working as a writing tutor in my university program, I learned something valuable: There's nothing college kids love more than to gripe about how overworked and stressed they are.

But the 38 contributors to Christine Leche's Outside the Wire (University of Virginia, 176 pp., $23.95) have every one of us beat. You only need to know the subtitle to understand why: American Soldiers' Voices from Afghanistan.

While most kids in writing classes are busy grumbling about extracurriculars, unrequited love, and long lines at the grocery store, these contributors met with Leche – a writing instructor who taught at Bagram Airfield near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border – amid combat missions, firefights, and the psychological battles that continue to haunt soldiers thousands of miles and years away from war.

It's too easy to become consumed in the quotidian flotsam and jetsam of first-world life; we collectively lose touch with the harsh realities of foreign wars. Take a step toward better understanding an American soldier with what Kevin Powers called a "powerful, and powerfully necessary, collection."

Christine Leche reads at BookPeople (603 N. Lamar) tomorrow night (Wednesday, April 3) at 7pm. See the BookPeople website for complete event details or to order a copy of the book.

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