The Yellow Birds

The Yellow Birds

A Novel

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
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A novel written by a veteran of the war in Iraq, The Yellow Birds is the harrowing story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive.

"The war tried to kill us in the spring." So begins this powerful account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. Bound together since basic training when Bartle makes a promise to bring Murphy safely home, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for.

In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes actions he could never have imagined.

With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home, The Yellow Birds is a groundbreaking novel that is destined to become a classic.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, c2012.
ISBN: 9780316219365
Characteristics: 230 p. ;,22 cm.

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d
darladoodles
Oct 29, 2017

It seems disrespectful to report that "I really liked" this book with a four star rating. I did not like the subject matter. War is a terrible thing and I have been fortunate by God's providence not to have ever had to witness a minute of such terror myself. That is why I know it is good for me and others like me to read books like this; "The Things We Carried", for example.

The poetic imagery in this book is breathtaking and I found that such lyrical descriptions of the situations in the book forced me to slow down and really see it in a deeper, more emotional way that if it were more clinically written. There were also many a pithy quote to ponder upon and understand more deeply the plight of those serving our country in Iraq.

I must include one of my favorite quotes: "As I walked away, the muezzin call began. The sun set like a clot of blood on the horizon. A small fire had spread from the crumbling chapel, igniting the copse of tamarisk trees. And all the little embers burned like lamps to light my way."

v
Valeriebroomfield
Mar 30, 2017

This was a very moving book! Allowed me into the mind of a soldier!
Definitely a great writer!

u
uncommonreader
Mar 25, 2016

This book reflects the US perspective. It has the characteristics of a first book (too many adjectives). The novel does convey the lives of young, unprepared, unmoored men trying to stay alive and is the story of a friendship.

d
dirtbag1
Apr 16, 2015

I thought for a first novel that maybe this was the work of a rising star. Shortly after finishing the book I learned that Kevin Powers is a poet who decided to try his hand at writing a novel. I've found that whenever a poet delves into prose they can never escape their roots. This novel is a case in point. He writes a simple story that is steeped in confusion due to the authors innate tendency to dress up and over describe everything. For me the story was hidden behind the fog of a poetic mind. If I'd known he was a poet beforehand, I would likely not have read it. Finally on the cover, Tom Wolfe, of all people describes it as equal to All Quiet on the Western Front. Really? Not even close.

jennrose Sep 13, 2014

Extremely slow paced, hard to feel for the poorly developed characters. Of course there is a sprinkling of the horrors of war, but a newspaper would cover this just as well. A truly great book on the horrors of war is Tim Obrien's "the Things They Carried"; it would be a much better use of your time.

b
bookwormjeph
Jan 28, 2014

Written by an ex Iraqi veteran this is an at times harrowing story of the after effects of the Iraq war on a returned soldier. It is sad, devastating in it's description of the personal toll on the main character, but at the same time the humanity of a soldier who promised a mother he would look out for her son-but failed and held himself responsible for the soldiers death. Kevin's style is spare as all the while it points to what is just out of sight or reach for the characters. Well worth the time to read, absorb and reflect on the cruelty of the effects on the soldiers and how they are virtually left to their own anonymity and with very little governmental support once they have laid everything on the line for their country and returned home.

KEVIN DOWD Jan 22, 2014

I am not much one for fiction. The story here takes some liberties with details on deployments. who what and where are submerged in a dream world of combat and malaise.

War makes paupers of us all... except the arms manufacturers.

j
jtkretzschmar
Oct 06, 2013

As good as Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk; interesting read about the casualties in and then out the war. I imagine that the experiences the protagonist went through are autobiographical which makes this novel all the more fascinating - and true

p
paschalville
Sep 25, 2013

this book was intense. read 1/3 then put it down. 10 days later read the rest in two days. overall enjoyable but I liked 'billy lynn's long halftime walk' the best of the two mayor's book club books for this year because it had funny moments interspersed with heavier sections

rosco2079 Jul 19, 2013

Powerful story, though heavily written.

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_Abi_
May 22, 2013

"Eventually, I had to learn that freedom is not the same thing as the absence of accountability."--Bartle

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