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The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan
(Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read)

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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2016
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Description
A New York Times Editors' Choice
A powerfully written firsthand account of the human costs of conflict.
J. Kael Weston spent seven years on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan working for the U.S. State Department in some of the most dangerous frontline locations. Upon his return home, while traveling the country to pay respect to the dead and wounded, he asked himself: When will these wars end? How will they be remembered and memorialized? What lessons can we learn from them?
These are questions with no quick answers, but perhaps ones that might lead to a shared reckoning worthy of the sacrifices of those—troops and civilians alike—whose lives have been changed by more than a decade and a half of war.
Weston takes us from Twentynine Palms in California to Fallujah in Iraq, Khost and Helmand in Afghanistan, Maryland, Colorado, Wyoming, and New York City, as well as to out-of-the-way places in Iowa and Texas. We meet generals, corporals and captains, senators and ambassadors, NATO allies, Iraqi truck drivers, city councils, imams and mullahs, Afghan schoolteachers, madrassa and college students, former Taliban fighters and ex-Guantánamo prison detainees, a torture victim, SEAL and Delta Force teams, and many Marines.
The overall frame for the book, from which the title is taken, centers on soldiers who have received a grievous wound to the face. There is a moment during their recovery when they must look upon their reconstructed appearance for the first time. This is known as "the mirror test." From an intricate tapestry of voices and stories—Iraqi, Afghan, and American—Weston delivers a larger mirror test for our nation in its global role. An unflinching and deep examination of the interplay between warfare and diplomacy, this is an essential book—a crucial look at America now, how it is viewed in the world and how the nation views itself.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/24/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385351133
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

J. Kael Weston. (2016). The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

J. Kael Weston. 2016. The Mirror Test: America At War in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

J. Kael Weston, The Mirror Test: America At War in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

J. Kael Weston. The Mirror Test: America At War in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
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Date Updated:
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OverDrive Product Record

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      • bioText: JOHN KAEL WESTON represented the United States for more than a decade as a State Department official. Washington acknowledged his multi-year work in Fallujah with Marines by awarding him one of its highest honors, the Secretary of State's Medal for Heroism.
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title
The Mirror Test
fullDescription
A New York Times Editors' Choice
A powerfully written firsthand account of the human costs of conflict.
J. Kael Weston spent seven years on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan working for the U.S. State Department in some of the most dangerous frontline locations. Upon his return home, while traveling the country to pay respect to the dead and wounded, he asked himself: When will these wars end? How will they be remembered and memorialized? What lessons can we learn from them?
These are questions with no quick answers, but perhaps ones that might lead to a shared reckoning worthy of the sacrifices of those—troops and civilians alike—whose lives have been changed by more than a decade and a half of war.
Weston takes us from Twentynine Palms in California to Fallujah in Iraq, Khost and Helmand in Afghanistan, Maryland, Colorado, Wyoming, and New York City, as well as to out-of-the-way places in Iowa and Texas. We meet generals, corporals and captains, senators and ambassadors, NATO allies, Iraqi truck drivers, city councils, imams and mullahs, Afghan schoolteachers, madrassa and college students, former Taliban fighters and ex-Guantánamo prison detainees, a torture victim, SEAL and Delta Force teams, and many Marines.
The overall frame for the book, from which the title is taken, centers on soldiers who have received a grievous wound to the face. There is a moment during their recovery when they must look upon their reconstructed appearance for the first time. This is known as "the mirror test." From an intricate tapestry of voices and stories—Iraqi, Afghan, and American—Weston delivers a larger mirror test for our nation in its global role. An unflinching and deep examination of the interplay between warfare and diplomacy, this is an essential book—a crucial look at America now, how it is viewed in the world and how the nation views itself.
From the Hardcover edition.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City and Little America
      • content: "Kael Weston is the conscience of our wars. After spending more time in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other American diplomat, he has emerged with a powerful-yet-nuanced story of sacrifice, misadventure, humanity and resilience. This is not another war memoir or a volume of combat reportage, but one of the few truly great and enduring books about America in the post-9/11 world."
      • premium: False
      • source: Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War
      • content: "Kael Weston is an American hero. He has spent more time in Iraq and Afghanistan than any general, diplomat, journalist or grunt. He has seen the wars up close, lived their cultures, watched people die. As a front-line political officer for the State Department, Weston has perhaps seen more of Iraq and Afghanistan than any single American. But what makes this book special--what makes Weston special--is his ability to transcend his own experience and bring it all home, and force us, as Americans, to ask ourselves the larger questions that these wars demand. This is a necessary book, and one that will last."
      • premium: False
      • source: Roger Cohen, author of The Girl from Human Street and Soldiers and Slaves
      • content: "Few Americans have served their country with greater courage, commitment and lucidity than Kael Weston. As the United States comes to terms with over a decade of war, it needs his values and vision."
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        A former U.S. State Department official who spent seven consecutive war years in Iraq and Afghanistan debuts with a damning memoir about our lies, failures, and horrors in the region.Weston's title refers to the moment when people with severe facial injuries first look at themselves in the mirror. He believes the rest of us need to take a look, as well. This is no story told by someone residing safely in academia or in a Washington, D.C., office. The author, who worked for both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, was assigned to the Marines for much of his duty, and he had extensive experience with gunfire, explosive devices, and terrible accidents. On one occasion--an event that haunts him throughout this deeply disturbing text--his actions led, indirectly, to the deaths of 31 service members, whose helicopter crashed on the way to secure polling locations for the 2005 Iraqi elections--a mission the author had urged. Weston revisits this moment continually, his guilt emerging in painful, self-recriminating sentences. Later, back in the United States, he endeavored to visit all of their graves and to meet some family members. The author spares no one. Bush and Cheney, he says, lied--even joked--about weapons of mass destruction; politicians from both major parties supported the troops in rhetorical but not meaningful ways. In several places, Weston provides lists of fallen warriors, and readers will be struck by the youth of those killed in action: many were teenagers, most others in their 20s. And for what? he asks repeatedly. The author declares that on both fronts--Iraq and Afghanistan--we failed to accomplish much that's meaningful, and in Iraq, we sowed the seeds of al-Qaida, the Islamic State group, and a most horrific civil war. Weston also focuses sharply on the wounded and disfigured and on the local people, who have suffered unspeakably. Vivid pages soaked with blood, reverberating with cries of pain, loss, and regret. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2015

        After seven years in Iraq and Afghanistan for the State Department and more time at home paying respects to the dead and wounded, Weston reports on his conversations with American soldiers, Iraqi truck drivers, Afghan schoolteachers, imams and mullahs, former Taliban fighters and former Guantanamo detainees, and more to show what the war has cost everyone involved. Barr's ranger, Anna Pigeon, heads to Maine, while Ruth Galloway is not seeing things in Little WalsinghamA hot debut psychological thriller from the UK, and a New York Times best-selling author visits Texas

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription
A powerfully written firsthand account of the human costs of conflict, The Mirror Test asks that we as a nation look in the mirror and address hard questions about America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

J. Kael Weston spent seven years on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan working for the State Department. The U.S. government sent him to some of the most dangerous frontline locations. Upon his return home, traveling the country to pay respect to the killed and wounded, he asked himself: How and when will these wars end? How will they be remembered and memorialized? What lessons can we learn from them? Questions with no quick answers, but perhaps ones that might lead to a shared reckoning worthy of the sacrifices of those, troops and civilians alike, whose lives have been changed by more than a decade and a half of war. With a novelist's eye, Weston takes us from Twenty Nine Palms in California to Fallujah in Iraq, Khost to Helmand in Afghanistan, Maryland to...
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publisher
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group