Item description for Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq by Nina Berman & Nina Berman...
A Purple Heart is the token honor given to soldiers for their wounds. It makes them heroes. It is the title that Nina Berman has given to her photographs of American soldiers gravely wounded in the Iraq war, who have returned home to face life away from the waving flags and heroic send-offs. The images are accompanied by first-person interviews with the soldiers, who discuss their lives, reasons for enlisting, and experience in Iraq. They provide a glimpse into the myths of warfare as glorious spectacle through the minds of young men desperate to believe in the righteousness of their actions. One soldier explains that he always wanted to be a hero. He thought the military would be fun--he would jump out of planes. He never imagined it could be ugly until he saw Saving Private Ryan. He is now a cripple, doped up all day on pain medications, flat broke, with one kid and another on the way. Another soldier describes how he called a recruiting station after watching an MTV-style commercial for the Army on TV. An immigrant from Pakistan, he was given his citizenship following his injury. It's a fair trade in his mind: a leg for an American passport. Berman's photographs are accompanied by essays from Verlyn Klinkenborg, a New York Times editorial page writer, and Tim Origer, a Vietnam veteran and former Marine who fought in the Tet offensive and returned at age 19, an amputee.
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More About Nina Berman & Nina Berman
Nina Berman is an associate professor of German at Ohio State University.
Reviews - What do customers think about Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq?
Very moving Aug 23, 2007
Everyone who hasn't been in actual combat should read this. And if you've been there it will bring back memories you may not want to recall.
The Physical, Psychological, Spiritual and Moral Scars of War Nov 10, 2005
Nina Berman is a fine journalist and photographer whose photographic art has been featured in Time, Newsweek, Fortune, New York Times Magazine, Harpers, Stern, and National Geographic magazines and in exhibitions. She has an unflinching eye for detecting the surface and the inner truth of her subjects. Nowhere is this more profoundly evident than in this brave monograph on those who have 'won' the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in the Iraqi War.
Berman's technical facility results in photographs that, while harrowing to ponder, find the truth in her subjects. Each of the soldiers presented here bear the physical scars (some extreme) of the various modes of war's instruments from gunshot wounds to roadside and suicide bombers that haunt the desert locales of Iraq, and each of the soldier's bear the mental scars (all extreme) that have accompanied the combat and terror of a war nobody wants and everybody condemns. Her photographs are accompanied by interviews with her subjects, soldiers who may have gone to war with delusions of heroism, of doing the right thing, but who crumple under the post-traumatic stress syndrome with lives wasted by the insatiable hunger of war.
Stepping away from the focal point, Berman has given space to other writers who increase the impact of this book: essays from Verlyn Klinkenborg, a New York Times editorial page writer, and Tim Origer, a Vietnam Marine veteran who fought in the Tet offensive and returned at age 19, an amputee. These essays make the book timeless and not simply reportage about the current Iraq mistake. With Veterans Day approaching, this book is a powerful indictment against all war without allowing the sacrifices of the veterans to go unnoted. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, November 05
This books shows the reality of war and honors those that have given so much Jul 6, 2005
Elisa Cipriana gave this review one star and questions the motives of the author for doing the book. She goes on to say that Nina Berman does not understand the courage and patriotism these amazing men and women show in coping with terrible injuries because Nina was never in the military. She also suggests that we read the transcript of Nina's interview on NPR before buying the book.
Well Elisa I listened to the interview and the only motive I heard was Nina's desire to try and show how these brave men and women are dealing with the horrible injuries. The mainstream press has failed to do it so people like Nina have taken the time to provide them with an opportunity to show how they are coping. The average person on the street needs to see this book and I hope Nina does a thousand more interviews to promote her book so the American Public see the sacrifice that 1,000's of our troops are making in Iraq. Nina expressed the truth in her book and in her promotion of the book. I applaud Nina's efforts to try and show the terrible sacrifice. The only thing missing from the book is the smell of war that I experienced as an Air Evac medic in the Nam conflict. Elisa you don't support the troops by supporting the lies that kill them.
A great read for civilians and military alike. Jun 29, 2005
I had the honor of meeting SPC Corey McGee while I was in college in Washington, DC. He told me of the book, and how proud he was to be in it. While Corey was the soldier who spoke about how unsure he was to be in Iraq, this book filled him with great pride for what he had done for his country.
I eventually met another purple heart winner, SGT Wisam Kahn, the Pakistani national who was also awarded American citizenship while staying at Walter Reed. When I mentioned the book to him, he got all excited to tell me that he was also in it.
Although the book shows that Americans must agree to stand behind these brave men and women overseas, Purple Hearts: Back From Iraq is not only a book for friends and family back home. This book also gives great pride to those who were willing to give it all in the name of our country.
Honoring Veterans Apr 27, 2005
Recently I was lucky to hear Nina Berman speak at a Madison Veterans for Peace program called Purple Hearts; A Discussion Focusing on the Human Cost of War. Robert Acosta, one of the young men pictured and quoted in her book also spoke. The program was very moving and we were honored to hear Robert speak about his experiences and feelings and struggles.
In addition, I viewed an exhibit of the photographs at a local retirement center.
There were about 15 large photographs displayed in an beautiful empty room. I was the only one present as I walked among the pictures and read the commentary. The photographs were beautiful, the book can't do justice to their elegance and the way they honored these young men.
I have been reading about one soldier a day in the book so I can more fully experience the photographs and the words they say.
Nina said she felt no attention was being paid to the wounded soldiers and she wanted to so something about that. I hope the word of mouth talk of this book grows so her goal is accomplished .
Thank you Nina and Robert and all the soldiers for your service and bravery as we honor you and learn your stories.