This past weekend I finished reading Sebastian Junger’s new book War — which along with the accompanying documentary Restrepo (directed by both Junger and photojournalist Tim Hetherington) — documents one U.S. Army platoon’s entire 15 month deployment to Afghanistan’s Korangal valley, one of the most dangerous places in the world. Rather than focusing on the politics of the War in Afghanistan, both War and Restrepo center on the soldiers on the front lines. The book and film are a sobering look at the everyday GIs that are out there in the shit; dividing their mountainous existence between boredom, firefights, reinforcing their post and dealing with the local Afghans. I highly recommend both the book and the film, which each provide a poignant perspective on the war in Afghanistan, and at the same time manage to avoid the pitfalls of the typical modern war documentary. [Restrepo / War]
"Restrepo" film directors Sebastian Junger (left) and Tim Hetherington (right) at the Restrepo outpost in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan.
Misha Pemble is startled by the sound of gunfire during a firefight across the valley with insurgents. Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. June 2008.