cover image Company C: The Real War in Iraq

Company C: The Real War in Iraq

John Sack. William Morrow & Company, $23 (241pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11281-3

Sack (M) here chronicles the unguarded words of several members of a 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) armored company as they wind up their training at Ft. Riley, Kansas, and are airlifted to Saudi Arabia to participate in Operation Desert Storm. From 135 hours of tapes, 575 pages of typewritten transcripts and 950 pages of handwritten notes, he has meticulously reconstructed a block of time, a cast of characters and a series of actions conveying in documentary fashion what it is like to go to war as a modern American soldier. The young men in these pages are keyed up--a condition heightened by Sack's ever-present tape recorder and notepad; but the mood turns solemn when Company C joins in the largest tank battle in American history, the Battle of Al Qarnain on Feb. 27, 1991. Sack conveys how the stress of combat affects each of his characters in turn, and he has a sharp eye for the unpredictable flourishes of war--the weeping colonel who calls himself an angel of death, the young tank driver who deliberately runs over an Iraqi and pronounces the experience ``awesome.'' (May)