Spoils – Brian Van Reet

It is April 2003. American forces have taken Baghdad and are now charged with winning hearts and minds. But this vital tipping point is barely recognized for what it is, as a series of miscalculations and blunders fuels an already-simmering insurgency intent on making Iraq the next graveyard of empires. – Goodreads.com

I received this book free from the publisher via netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit, I almost gave up on this novel. I was in a bit of a reading slump and couldn’t see myself finishing it, so I put it down and ended up picking it back up the next day thinking… it’s so close to the crux of things, I need to keep going.

I’m glad I did.

This novel is written from multiple points of view during one of the most turbulent and violent times in our history, America’s war in Iraq.

We hear from soldiers, civilians, extremists and POWs alike which really opens you up to the fact that what someone appears to be, isn’t always what they are. Good guys aren’t always 100% good and bad guys not 100% bad. It all comes down to the individual, their beliefs, needs and desires. People don’t cease to be human when they go to, or are dragged into, war.

This isn’t an easy read in the sense that the things that happen are based heavily in truth – not exact events, but some that make you wonder if the characters you’re reading about are the same people you’ve seen on the news. There is a lot of violence including multiple gritty deaths and sexual assault so please go in with caution.

I don’t often read novels based on/in/around war but recently I’ve read about 3 regarding modern warfare and this is one of them. They are important and should be read. They tell of the personal and overall human experience in conflict.


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