The Forever War (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
Dexter Filkins in The Forever War provides his readers with a vivid, emotionally searing, and intensely personal description of his experiences covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In doing so, he continues a distinguished reportorial tradition pioneered by American war correspondents in the interwar years of the 1920’s and 1930’s. One of the first and most influential of these was Vincent Sheean’s Personal History (1935). In this book, Sheean gave a highly subjective account of his experiences covering conflicts that ranged from Morocco to China to Palestine. Sheean was a product of the literary modernism that was ushered in by the moral disaster of the Great War. He was a member of the lost generation, unmoored from Victorian moral absolutes and from confidence in progress. He identified his own confusion at the mad, bloody rush of events in the 1920’s with the situation of the Western democracies, paralyzed by recent and bitter memories of trench warfare and morally helpless in the face of emergent totalitarianisms. Sheean’s record of personalized history culminated in an epiphany at the Acropolis in Athens, when he embraced a vaguely collectivist vision of life born of conversations with a Communist revolutionary. Sheean’s response to his experiences was unexceptional for an engaged intellectual with leftist leanings during the “Red Decade.” More significant was the pattern his best-selling memoir set for the literarily...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
Booklist 104, no. 22 (August 1, 2008): 28.
Commentary 126 (October, 2008): 42-45.
Kirkus Reviews 76, no. 14 (July 15, 2008): 61.
The Nation 287, no. 14 (November 3, 2008): 25-30.
The National Interest, no. 97 (September/October, 2008): 87-96.
National Review 60, no. 21 (November 17, 2008): 55-56.
The New York Times, September 12, 2008, p. 34.
The New York Times Book Review, September 14, 2008, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly 255, no. 26 (June 30, 2008): 15.
Washington Monthly 40, no. 9 (August-October, 2008): 40-42.
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