The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows

Brian Castner, Author
Brian Castner. Doubleday, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-53620-2
Reviewed on: 03/19/2012
Release date: 07/10/2012
Hardcover - 303 pages - 978-1-61173-510-9
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61637-651-2
Compact Disc - 6 pages - 978-0-449-80640-1
Hardcover - 271 pages - 978-0-552-77914-2
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-08782-8
Open Ebook - 123 pages - 978-0-385-53621-9
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4481-5447-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-80642-5
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-0-307-95087-1
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-85752-158-3
Hardcover - 222 pages - 978-0-85752-157-6
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With a degree in electrical engineering, Castner served as an air force officer in Saudi Arabia in 2001, and Iraq in 2005 and 2006, where he earned a Bronze Star. He then trained military Explosive Ordnance Disposal units in tactical bomb procedures. Castner’s chilling account of those years is, he feels, “as correct as a story can be from someone with blast-induced memory lapses.” He details daily rituals and routines, and the Humvee expeditions, seeking improvised explosive devices (IED) with robots. When robots fail, there is the Long Walk, wearing the bomb suit (“eighty pounds of mailed kevlar”). Castner edges through this world of hidden dangers, suicide bombers, and scattered body parts. Throughout, he splices in scenes of the aftermath—his return to his wife and family in the U.S., where he is told he has post-traumatic stress disorder. Haunted by what he calls “the Crazy” (“it’s grey [sic] spidery fingers take the top of my head off to eat my brain and heart… every night”), he sees constant reminders that blur reality (“IEDs on Interstate 90”). The intercutting of these two different narratives effectively conveys how a disturbing mental condition can erupt in the aftermath of nightmarish war horrors. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Bob Mecoy Literary Agency. (July)
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