“[A] personal and philosophical look at the war . . . clean and descriptive” from a psychological operations specialist and Bronze Star Medal recipient (Great Falls Tribune).
This is a true story of war, the story of one man’s transformation as he retraces the mine-strewn roads of a land itself transformed by mankind’s most shockingly inhuman practice. It is the firsthand account of a member of one of the United States Army’s three-man Tactical Psychological Operations Teams, groups of men tasked with winning the hearts and minds of Iraq’s civilian population through leaflets, loudspeakers, conversation, and bribery. Transcribed from and inspired by the author’s personal wartime journal, it is a story of introspection. It relates how the feelings of eagerness and uncertainty in a young man unfamiliar with war were replaced with the dread knowledge that, buried within his soul, beneath a facade of goodwill and morality, lurked the capacity to kill his fellow men.
Along with scenes of battle, Hearts and Mines captures the sensory experience of living in a singular environment full of strange plants and animals, friends true and false, and determined enemies, encapsulating the existential fear of mortar and rocket attacks, and the ever-present threat of IEDs, as well as the ridiculousness of military bureaucracy.
“A beautiful book . . . paints a powerful picture.”—OpEd News