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Kevin Powers, from a town in Virginia, joined the army when he was just 17 years old. Six years later, he was in Iraq, deployed in Mosul and Ta Lafar at a time of fierce fighting. He draws on that experiences in a novel titled “The Yellow Birds.” It is the story of Private John Bartle and Private Daniel Murphy, two small town boys bound by a rash promise Bartle made to Murphy’s mom. But they are unprepared for the battles they face. Tom Wolfe says this novel is “the ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ of America’s Arab Wars.” Kevin Powers joins guest host Tom Gjelten of NPR to discuss the emotional gravity of war and the dangers that do not end when soldiers get home.
Excerpted from the book THE YELLOW BIRDS by Kevin Powers. Copyright © 2012 by Kevin Powers. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company.