web site hit counter Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI (Digital MP3 Audiobook) - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI (Digital MP3 Audiobook)

Availability: Ready to download

Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer. In this extraordinary and harrowing memoir, readers march along one GI's tour of duty. It will change the way you feel about what it means to be an American. This is an unabridged audiobook read by the author. Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer. In this extraordinary and harrowing memoir, readers march along one GI's tour of duty. It will change the way you feel about what it means to be an American. This is an unabridged audiobook read by the author.


Compare

Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer. In this extraordinary and harrowing memoir, readers march along one GI's tour of duty. It will change the way you feel about what it means to be an American. This is an unabridged audiobook read by the author. Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer. In this extraordinary and harrowing memoir, readers march along one GI's tour of duty. It will change the way you feel about what it means to be an American. This is an unabridged audiobook read by the author.

30 review for Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI (Digital MP3 Audiobook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Halei

    Wow... I just finished "Ghosts of War [My tour of duty:]" and am stunned at how it ambushed my emotions! I picked this up in the YA section of the library. My husband is a Army Infanty Vet with 2 Iraq tours under his belt, and he hardly ever speaks of his experiences, so I read anything I can get my hands on. At first I didn't expect too much out of it. The writing isn't profound, but as the story progressed, so does the style. Before I knew it I found myself swept into the dry deserts and laughin Wow... I just finished "Ghosts of War [My tour of duty:]" and am stunned at how it ambushed my emotions! I picked this up in the YA section of the library. My husband is a Army Infanty Vet with 2 Iraq tours under his belt, and he hardly ever speaks of his experiences, so I read anything I can get my hands on. At first I didn't expect too much out of it. The writing isn't profound, but as the story progressed, so does the style. Before I knew it I found myself swept into the dry deserts and laughing along with Ryan Smithson on his excursions. This book is pleasing in that it is not too gory, as he is just a "Joe Schmo" equipment operator. Yet, he is experienced in Iraq and has a lot to share with the rest of us. This book is writen for America. It has helped me to understand more about this War that has now lasted the good part of eight years and has become a very disconnected event from everyday life, even for a OIF Veteran's family! I have photographs hung on my wall and a map of Baghadad in my garage. A husband whom I live with... and this has given me an even greater gratitude. He points out different aspects of the meaning of life in his view, which I respect and value. I highly recomend this book for anyone, and especialy for someone who has lived not knowing what its like to not be able to freely express their voice and opinion. For anyone who wishes to better themselves as human beings. It's not easy to get through my thick-headedness sometimes, but I greatly respect this work of current human existance and its lessons to our youth.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Using simple prose, Ryan Smithson shares with readers his experience of serving a one-year tour as an engineer in the Army in Iraq in 2005. He starts by recounting his experience of 9/11 as a 14-year-old in Albany New York, and how that persuaded him to join the army reserves years later upon finishing high school. He continues through the ups and downs of boot camp before bringing readers along as he traveled through Iraq. Smithson didn't serve on the front lines, and he is clear in the fact tha Using simple prose, Ryan Smithson shares with readers his experience of serving a one-year tour as an engineer in the Army in Iraq in 2005. He starts by recounting his experience of 9/11 as a 14-year-old in Albany New York, and how that persuaded him to join the army reserves years later upon finishing high school. He continues through the ups and downs of boot camp before bringing readers along as he traveled through Iraq. Smithson didn't serve on the front lines, and he is clear in the fact that he spent most of his time using large equipment to move landscape. At the same time, that did not mean that he was out of danger. He shares the heartbreaking experience of dealing with the loss of a colleague he served with but can barely remember when his platoon is reassigned elsewhere in Iraq. He talks about the edge of his seat experiences in avoiding IEDs, some real and some fake. He also talks of the difficult living conditions. The real strength of the book is in the personal details. He talks about how he and the guys he served with changed through their experiences. Not only did they grow up, but they became brothers as a result of their shared fears, boredom, and weariness. He talks of seeing the poor Iraqi children and their families and not being able to follow the rules about not giving food to them. He also talks about the kind words and gestures he received from many Iraqis in the course of his travels throughout the country. It is a story of war, and the horrors men can cause each other. But it is also the story of the little touches of kindness he receives in care packages from homes and cards and letters from children he never had or will meet. I was really reminded about my own brother as I read the book. He is a Marine who served two tours in Iraq. He is not really one to talk about his experiences, though he did receive a Purple Heart for an injury he received. He used to send us pictures of some of the most beautiful scenes in Iraq, and would describe how if it wasn't for the reminders of the war, it would be a really beautiful place to visit.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Deanna Day

    Realistic fiction, Iraq war. If I was a High school English or history teacher I definitely would have students read this memoir--of 19 year old Ryan Smithson, who shares his one year deployment in Iraq. Some of the chapters are short stories and could also be used/read alone. For example, A Town that Achmed Built (p. 96) shares the realities of war. A teacher could photocopy this chapter and have students use a number of strategies to read it and discuss in small groups. Actually I think every c Realistic fiction, Iraq war. If I was a High school English or history teacher I definitely would have students read this memoir--of 19 year old Ryan Smithson, who shares his one year deployment in Iraq. Some of the chapters are short stories and could also be used/read alone. For example, A Town that Achmed Built (p. 96) shares the realities of war. A teacher could photocopy this chapter and have students use a number of strategies to read it and discuss in small groups. Actually I think every college student should read this book too (for ages 14-22). This is a book that will cause students to really think about war/peace; freedom; America; etc, and ask many questions. After I finished reading this book I needed someone to talk to about it, so I made my husband read it. I have new respect for men and women who enlist in the Army, Navy, etc. I do not like war and I avoided reading this book because for some odd reason I thought my reading it would show that I was in favor of war (sounds crazy). After reading what servicemen/women do--they are definitely heroes and I am ashamed to admit that I haven't done anything for any servicemen during this war. I haven't sent a letter or a care package, nothing. I have ignored them because I didn't believe in the war. There were many places in the book where I wanted to skip or stop reading--such as when Ryan described driving along a road and seeing an IED (land mine) and how he kept his foot to the floor and drove by it (p. 185). Another chapter titled Satan's clothes dryer is about the horrible dust storms and heat in Iraq (p. 173). The conditions of the farming children in rural Iraq (p. 201). When one of his colleagues is killed by an IED (p. 210). One of my favorite sections of the book is on p. 295 when he shares that literature is what set him free while he was in Iraq. Books were his escape. He read most nights in Iraq to get away from the war. "Every book was alive as I read it, lying in my sleeping bag. I wasn't in the godforsaken Middle East fighting a war. I was in my own country: a country of the mind. I wasn't a soldier...I was the words on paper." He goes on to share how certain novels helped him. Ryan admits that the "innocence of his childhood" was lost in Iraq. Only the soldiers he was with truly understand what he went through. This is a novel that I am thankful I read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    A YA lit memoir of a 19 year old in Iraq... while most wouldn't stop to appreciate the emotion behind his adventure, it is an eye-opening story, made more fascinating because I've been corresponding with the author since he lives in my area. While Smithson tries hard to get you in the mindset with plenty of military jargon, the biggest mistake was waiting until the end of the book to get to the heart of his experience brought to light through italicized 'storytelling.' As his buddies travel back A YA lit memoir of a 19 year old in Iraq... while most wouldn't stop to appreciate the emotion behind his adventure, it is an eye-opening story, made more fascinating because I've been corresponding with the author since he lives in my area. While Smithson tries hard to get you in the mindset with plenty of military jargon, the biggest mistake was waiting until the end of the book to get to the heart of his experience brought to light through italicized 'storytelling.' As his buddies travel back from Iraq, they begin to tell stories of humorous events that brought them closer together in a war zone. I would have rather seen the good with the bad, not the bad, then the good. I appreciated the fact that he was able to heal from his experience through a creative writing class which became his book, which could send a powerful message to kids that writing can be theraputic.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen Glass

    I just finished Ghosts of War by Ryan Smithson. It is the most moving book I have read in a long time. He is a young man from Albany who has returned from Iraq in 2004 or 5. There are many references to camping in the ADKS, etcs). The book is being used as a textbook in some Albany area high schools. Smithson takes us from his enlistment at 19, through basic training, a tour of Iraq and the healing he did when he returned. He marries before he leaves and takes about night terrors and PTSD when h I just finished Ghosts of War by Ryan Smithson. It is the most moving book I have read in a long time. He is a young man from Albany who has returned from Iraq in 2004 or 5. There are many references to camping in the ADKS, etcs). The book is being used as a textbook in some Albany area high schools. Smithson takes us from his enlistment at 19, through basic training, a tour of Iraq and the healing he did when he returned. He marries before he leaves and takes about night terrors and PTSD when he returns. He fears for his wife's safety from himself. He is an excellent writer. It is a fast, page-turning read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Aidan McPhillips

    I really enjoyed the book. I like Ryan's bravery and courage. It was an overall great book. I liked it so much I'd read it again. I really enjoyed the book. I like Ryan's bravery and courage. It was an overall great book. I liked it so much I'd read it again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Will Kolck

    This book has a really good way to see what it's like in a everyday life as a US Army Infantryman in his tour of duty. The Ghosts of War has really impacted the way I feel about the young brave men who puts there life on the line for the people who don't have the courage, or protect the people of their beloved country. This will also help you greatly appreciate what your sons, fathers, daughters or mothers do for you and your family, even how they changed the world in ways that you wouldn't thin This book has a really good way to see what it's like in a everyday life as a US Army Infantryman in his tour of duty. The Ghosts of War has really impacted the way I feel about the young brave men who puts there life on the line for the people who don't have the courage, or protect the people of their beloved country. This will also help you greatly appreciate what your sons, fathers, daughters or mothers do for you and your family, even how they changed the world in ways that you wouldn't think of. It also shows the hardships of being a soldier, what you'll have to sacrifice, what the dangers you'll face being in the military, and especially when you're half a world away from your loved ones. I enjoyed how it showed what the training phases were like, and what it did for the recruits and drill sergeants. To me, this book can be read by people who are the ages of 17 to 23 years old, and you could read this book to see what the US soldiers were doing and how they were feeling during the war in Iraq. Even if you're remotely interested in joining the military, I'd read this book to help you understand what there is to expect when you start your years in training. If you are looking into reading this book, or if you want to read a non-fiction / autobiography, I would highly recommend doing so.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Neil Hepworth

    Wow. Somehow I got it in my head that this was a YA military memoir. And, it kinda is--it reads very cleanly and easily, and could be picked up by most any 14 year old. But, holy cow, don't let the YA style fool you. Smithson's writing and insights are excellent, and this book could easily be a mentor text for any high school teacher (of any grade) looking to show students how a little injection of the literary elements can make a piece of writing pop, how it can make writing effective, how writi Wow. Somehow I got it in my head that this was a YA military memoir. And, it kinda is--it reads very cleanly and easily, and could be picked up by most any 14 year old. But, holy cow, don't let the YA style fool you. Smithson's writing and insights are excellent, and this book could easily be a mentor text for any high school teacher (of any grade) looking to show students how a little injection of the literary elements can make a piece of writing pop, how it can make writing effective, how writing can put a reader in a place they'd never otherwise be, and most of all, how writing can heal. Fantastic book, and highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    JT Bond

    I think that this is a very good book, I really like ryan and how he actually talks about the parts that truly happen. Not just the fighting part of how they give stuff to the kids that need it, even though they are told not to do this they still do. I like how he goes through every detail of how it happened, and what happened to him, his losses, wins. At the very end of the book I hate how he has to go through what he goes through and how it keeps him up at night. I also like the fact that him I think that this is a very good book, I really like ryan and how he actually talks about the parts that truly happen. Not just the fighting part of how they give stuff to the kids that need it, even though they are told not to do this they still do. I like how he goes through every detail of how it happened, and what happened to him, his losses, wins. At the very end of the book I hate how he has to go through what he goes through and how it keeps him up at night. I also like the fact that him and his wife are still together after all that time which is quite rare because of him being gone for so long.

  10. 4 out of 5

    NoahK

    I liked this book because it incorporates a true war that went on.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Isaiah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. cool

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leeanna

    Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI, by Ryan Smithson Not often does a book leave me speechless, but the difficult subject and beautiful writing in "Ghosts of War" did. Ryan Smithson was 19 when he was deployed to Iraq as a member of the Army Reserves. He tells the story of his platoon and so many like it overseas, the ones who are working to rebuild the country and make it safe for other troops and citizens, the ones who interact with villagers and the poorer people of Iraq. Not th Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI, by Ryan Smithson Not often does a book leave me speechless, but the difficult subject and beautiful writing in "Ghosts of War" did. Ryan Smithson was 19 when he was deployed to Iraq as a member of the Army Reserves. He tells the story of his platoon and so many like it overseas, the ones who are working to rebuild the country and make it safe for other troops and citizens, the ones who interact with villagers and the poorer people of Iraq. Not the ones who are busting down doors, searching for weapons caches or other types of activities that make the news. Smithson and his fellow soldiers are the unsung heroes of the war. Smithson writes a moving memoir, that starts with his reaction to September 11, 2001, and his decision to join the Army Reserves, to his year long deployment overseas. The book ends with his return home and the difficulty in adjusting to life again, after living in a combat zone, and how he used writing as therapy for PTSD. The bulk of the book is about his year in Iraq, a year in which he saw the human side of war. Many of the most moving parts of the book are when he describes encounters with Iraqi children, who were almost pathetically grateful for something as simple as clean water. "Ghosts of War" is also a power emotional and mental journey for both the author and the reader, as Smithson ponders what freedom really means, what is faith - questions that are answered during training, missions, and reflection. I just can't say enough about this book. I've always been against the war, but it was a general feeling. Reading "Ghosts of War" made me think about the individual soldiers, people who joined the armed forces because they want to do something, they want to protect American freedom. A particularly enlightening part for me came near the end, when Smithson went to a high school with another recruiter. On the way to the high school, the other recruiter told Smithson that the kids they were about to see wouldn't really care to hear them, wouldn't listen - they'd think he was just one more brainwashed grunt. I know I felt that way when I listened to recruiters in high school; but as I said, now my opinion is very different. I will now appreciate and thank the soldiers I see. Thank you for opening my eyes. "Ghosts of War" is an excellent book for adults or young adults, especially teenagers who are considering joining the armed forces. Smithson's memoir gives an accurate picture of army life, from basic training to deployment and back, that may answer questions they didn't know they had. It's also a great book to open discussion between parents and their children, about the war, about the army. I had my own father look at it, as he had been in the Reserves during Vietnam, and the book prompted many questions for me to ask him. The writing is moving and will suck you in; I didn't want to put it down once I started. Some of the experiences related left me tearing up, and some had me cracking up with laughter. Overall, a wonderful book. 5/5.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    The author's purpose of Ghost's of war is to entertain and inform. I think the author's purpose is to entertain because Ryan Smithson is the main character and the author. Since he is the author he is sharing his own life experences and entertaining the readers who read this book because he was there and no one can explain it to the reader better than the person that was there. I think another one of the authors purposes was to inform because he is letting all the young readers of this book know The author's purpose of Ghost's of war is to entertain and inform. I think the author's purpose is to entertain because Ryan Smithson is the main character and the author. Since he is the author he is sharing his own life experences and entertaining the readers who read this book because he was there and no one can explain it to the reader better than the person that was there. I think another one of the authors purposes was to inform because he is letting all the young readers of this book know what the army is like and what it is like to go in combat. So overall the author's purposes were to inform and entertain. The theme of this book is about the army and how a man can go through hard times on the opposite side of the world as his family. I know one of the themes of this book is about the army because he is a soldier and he is in war on the other side of the world and he goes through basic training and has stugles but pulls through all of it and ends up being an amazing soldier and representing the USA. The style of the book was written in third person and the main setting is in Iraq in the two-thousands after 9/11. Since this book was written in third person I think it made it very descriptive and added some of the entertainment to the book. The author writing this book in third person made it more entertaining because writing it in third person made it more realistic and action packed, it make it more realistic because if the author who wrote the story about himself would've wrote this book in first person it would've made me feel like it didn't really happen. Since the story of this book took place in the two-thousands after 9/11 we can all relate to when it took place because we are here at this time and we always heard it on the news so since we all have heard about the Iraq war we can all relate to it. My opinion on this book overall i would probably give it a ten out of ten if not a one-hundred out of one-hundred because I am really interested in the war and what happens during it. I think overall this book was really entertaining and very informing on the war because he talked about basic training and how you're taught and what you do when you enroll into the army. I disliked how there were so many abbreviations for code talk in the army because I see the abbreviations a lot and I can't ever remember what they mean and every time I see one multiple times in a row I have to go to the back of my book to see what it means. But other than that i think the book was an amazing read and I would recommend it to any of my friends who like the army and want to read a good book about it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryan M

    Ghosts of War overall was a pretty good book. Personally, I am a fan of war books, and since this was about the Iraq War, it took place recently. This made it more interesting to read because the events in the story also took place during my lifetime, something a lot of other books don’t have. Ryan Smithson, the main character of the story, decided to join the Army Reserves after graduating from high school. He does this following the 9/11 attacks to help his country fight the war on terror. Duri Ghosts of War overall was a pretty good book. Personally, I am a fan of war books, and since this was about the Iraq War, it took place recently. This made it more interesting to read because the events in the story also took place during my lifetime, something a lot of other books don’t have. Ryan Smithson, the main character of the story, decided to join the Army Reserves after graduating from high school. He does this following the 9/11 attacks to help his country fight the war on terror. During his time in training, he chose to become an Army engineer, or someone who helps build structures in the war zone. Throughout the story, Smithson travels to Iraq, where he serves a tour and helps build things the army needs. He witnessed things that most humans could never imagine seeing, forever changing his perspective on life. During his time there, however, Smithson thinks on many occasions, about the true heroes that protect their countries. He says they will never receive the credit they deserve from the papers and news, but they are true American heroes. One thing that stood out to me throughout the book was how brutally honest Smithson was in his experiences. He states how he does a very boring job in the Army, one that won’t receive much praise or the headlines in the paper. Most books about wars are about the heroes who managed to dodge death and accomplish some unthinkable goal. I liked how he didn’t pretend to be someone he wasn’t and instead, uses his own words and emotions to describe how horrible the Iraq War really was. For a rating, I would give this book a 4 stars out of 5, mainly because it started off pretty slow. Eventually, once things got going, the book got very good. Constantly when he wrote about the effects of the PTSD towards the ending, it got very tough to read, but was also fascinating at the same time. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about wars and things of that nature.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Arminzerella

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ryan Smithson wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school, but after seeing ground zero in Manhattan, he decided to join the US Army Reserves and protect the freedoms that so many Americans take for granted. When Ryan returned home after spending a year in Iraq, he suffered symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (night terrors, in particular). To work through his feelings about the war, he started writing about his experiences in the army - basic training, Iraq, and his homecoming. Re Ryan Smithson wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school, but after seeing ground zero in Manhattan, he decided to join the US Army Reserves and protect the freedoms that so many Americans take for granted. When Ryan returned home after spending a year in Iraq, he suffered symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (night terrors, in particular). To work through his feelings about the war, he started writing about his experiences in the army - basic training, Iraq, and his homecoming. Readers will likely be familiar with the tropes of basic training – the crazy drill sergeants, the exercises that beat you down and then rebuild you army-style. But modern warfare is something a lot of people haven’t experienced and Ryan’s insights are down to earth and don’t tend to over-glorify the dangers or the violence. He has compassion and feeling for the people he’s trying to protect and liberate – the Iraqi citizens who are just trying to live their lives, as well as his fellow countrymen – and develops a real camaraderie with others in his unit and those he meets through various missions. Looking at the photos of Ryan, one is immediately struck by how very young he is. And depending on how old *you* are you might think, “Wow, he’s my age,” or “He’s just a kid.” You may even feel something like embarrassment because you’re letting a 19-year-old fight for your freedom. Ryan’s reasons for choosing the army have nothing to do with a love of violence or the military life. Becoming a soldier and going to war change him in ways he couldn’t have imagined, but they also reinforce his determination to make a difference in peoples’ lives and his belief that he is doing the right thing. You may not support the war in Iraq, or violence of any kind, but after reading Ryan’s account you will understand his motivation to do something – to be the change that he wants to see in the world. A moving account of a young man’s loss of innocence.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This is honestly one of the best books about war I have ever read. This book gave a great description about the life of a soldier during war. It gives the perfect description of a soldiers life after the war. It talks in depth about the training that comes with being in the Army. I like how in the beginning it talks about some of his reasons for joining. “For me, the future was a complete paradox. On one hand teachers were pushing that 'know what you want to do for the rest of your life' attitud This is honestly one of the best books about war I have ever read. This book gave a great description about the life of a soldier during war. It gives the perfect description of a soldiers life after the war. It talks in depth about the training that comes with being in the Army. I like how in the beginning it talks about some of his reasons for joining. “For me, the future was a complete paradox. On one hand teachers were pushing that 'know what you want to do for the rest of your life' attitude. Yet, on the other hand I wanted to stay a kid. Parents and teachers were so intimidating when they talked about the 'real world' and taxes and mortgages and bills and insurance. With freedom comes responsibility and I wasn't sure if I was ready for all that”(20). He didn’t feel like he was ready to enter the “real world” yet and wanted to escape from it for a while. He also felt kind of obligated to join the Army after the 9/11 attacks. “I joined the military at age 17 in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Not wanting to completely devote myself to the military, I joined the army reserve as a heavy equipment operator”(24). Even though he just wanted to be a reserve, he still felt like it was the right thing to do. He wanted to protect his country. Many other books leave out the life life after the war, but not this one. He constantly thinks about Iraq. He can’t sleep at night because he’s paranoid. This is how soldiers’ lives really are and it describes it so well.

  17. 4 out of 5

    James Siebers

    Ghosts Of War by Ryan Smithson is a kind of a suspenseful, heart jerking, and touching. This book really teaches us what war really is. Ryan Smithson is a 19 year old boy that has enlisted into the army reserves. He was deployed right away to Iraq for one year. A year he will never forget. When in Iraq he meets battle buddies and does a lot of missions as a GI Joe Schmo (average maintenance guy on equipment.) Ryan goes through life changing experiences which he has lived to write in this book.An Ghosts Of War by Ryan Smithson is a kind of a suspenseful, heart jerking, and touching. This book really teaches us what war really is. Ryan Smithson is a 19 year old boy that has enlisted into the army reserves. He was deployed right away to Iraq for one year. A year he will never forget. When in Iraq he meets battle buddies and does a lot of missions as a GI Joe Schmo (average maintenance guy on equipment.) Ryan goes through life changing experiences which he has lived to write in this book.An excerpt from the book that illustrates staying strong is, “”You guys all right?” I ask them. “You didn’t hear?” says Hernandez. I shake my head. “Sergeant Conklin died today,” he says.” (212). This quote illustrates staying strong because throughout the book no one has died, and when the Sergeant died Ryan stayed strong. If you liked this book, you may also like Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II by Wil S. Hylton because it is about war, it is thrilling and mystical. I rate Ghosts of War a 5 out of 5 stars because the book told about the war that changed many lives forever. I gave it 5 stars because it really changed my perspective of war, which kept me on the edge of my seat.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Who should read this memoir of a young man’s first tour in Iraq? Young men and women who are contemplating joining the military. People who are in the military, military families and Americans who think they have no connection to the military. Smithson was a junior in high school on 9/11 in East Greenbush, NY. He’d never even been to New York City, three hours away, until just before he goes to Basic, but he joins the Reserves, an engineering unit. His unit is responsible for driving convoys, fo Who should read this memoir of a young man’s first tour in Iraq? Young men and women who are contemplating joining the military. People who are in the military, military families and Americans who think they have no connection to the military. Smithson was a junior in high school on 9/11 in East Greenbush, NY. He’d never even been to New York City, three hours away, until just before he goes to Basic, but he joins the Reserves, an engineering unit. His unit is responsible for driving convoys, for fixing Humvees and other materiel that has been blown up, filling in IED craters, fixing water systems for agriculture projects. “After a while in a combat zone you start to think of everything as fateful. Something blows up, and it’s fate. Get lucky when an IED is a dud, that’s fate, too. Jim Conklin dies in a simple LOGPAC mission, you guessed it: fate. And if today’s the day, this last mission, well then f*#k it. At least we know God enjoys some god old- fashioned irony.”

  19. 4 out of 5

    Khornberger

    Ghosts of War is the story of Ryan Smithson, a boy who joined the military upon high school graduation. Ryan was moved by 9/11 (which occurred during his high school years) to enlist. However, he only enlisted in the reserves thinking (and being told) that he should be safe not to be stationed overseas. Ironically, Ryan was sent right away and worked with a group on heavy equipment. His chronicles are not only enlightening as to what it was like to be a soldier in Iraq, but he has worked on some Ghosts of War is the story of Ryan Smithson, a boy who joined the military upon high school graduation. Ryan was moved by 9/11 (which occurred during his high school years) to enlist. However, he only enlisted in the reserves thinking (and being told) that he should be safe not to be stationed overseas. Ironically, Ryan was sent right away and worked with a group on heavy equipment. His chronicles are not only enlightening as to what it was like to be a soldier in Iraq, but he has worked on some entries to be strong in the literary sense (The House that Achmed Built). Even though Ryan did not see a lot of death of his unit, the scars are deep and adjustment back into civilian life was difficult. This book is a testament to that time in which he found writing was allowing him to heal contrary to speaking directly with people. This is an excellent suggestion for people who love military narrative nonfiction.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Collin Bonnie

    Very good book that brings an eye-opening account to the Afghanistan War and what goes on over there. Highly recommend.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Briony

    As a recent college graduate, I have already contemplated on how much of the “real world” I have experienced. However, after reading Smithson’s autobiography, I have further plummeted into questions concerning my life, the war, and life in general. Smithson’s insightful account of his experience as a soldier raises valuable thoughts about how the war is depicted through the media to how a soldier deals with being in the war and post traumatic stress. It personally raised more questions about the As a recent college graduate, I have already contemplated on how much of the “real world” I have experienced. However, after reading Smithson’s autobiography, I have further plummeted into questions concerning my life, the war, and life in general. Smithson’s insightful account of his experience as a soldier raises valuable thoughts about how the war is depicted through the media to how a soldier deals with being in the war and post traumatic stress. It personally raised more questions about the war and young men and women serving in it. Overall I believe that this book provides an insightful account on a soldier’s life for anyone interested, but I also believe there is an underlying and intricate meaning to be interpreted.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bella Pedraza

    I found this book absolutely fantastic. I decided to read the book because I felt like I could sort of connect since I live in an army family, and hope to join at some point in the future. The book goes through Ryan's first tour of duty in Iraq, and gives great detail about the struggles he faced while there. I felt very close to Ryan even if we don't know each other. The book flowed very well and I found it very hard to put down. The descriptions of the places Ryan went were wonderful, and help I found this book absolutely fantastic. I decided to read the book because I felt like I could sort of connect since I live in an army family, and hope to join at some point in the future. The book goes through Ryan's first tour of duty in Iraq, and gives great detail about the struggles he faced while there. I felt very close to Ryan even if we don't know each other. The book flowed very well and I found it very hard to put down. The descriptions of the places Ryan went were wonderful, and helped me visualize his surroundings. I loved this book so much, and could probably read it over and over again without getting tired of it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    As someone who was in basic training just months before the author, I can say that this is one of most true-to-life books I've read about the modern Army and the war in Iraq. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to know one person's real experience in the US Army as well as in the sands of the Middle East. As someone who was in basic training just months before the author, I can say that this is one of most true-to-life books I've read about the modern Army and the war in Iraq. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to know one person's real experience in the US Army as well as in the sands of the Middle East.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Mackinday

    I started reading this book on September 11th. Although I have read many books about the wars in the Middle East, and even written one myself, this book was truly unique. It touched my heart from page one and didn't stop, even after I put the book down. This book is an absolute must read for our youth, families of the military, and EVERY American. Bravo Ryan Smithson! I started reading this book on September 11th. Although I have read many books about the wars in the Middle East, and even written one myself, this book was truly unique. It touched my heart from page one and didn't stop, even after I put the book down. This book is an absolute must read for our youth, families of the military, and EVERY American. Bravo Ryan Smithson!

  25. 5 out of 5

    05kennyn

    This book was very well written, it had alot of elements that i didn't expect and over all was a good bookthe best part of this book was how fast paced and complex it was. what i mean by that is that all the stories were well told and very good.The worst part was how the beginning was so basic, there wasnt much detail. once again a good book for anyone This book was very well written, it had alot of elements that i didn't expect and over all was a good bookthe best part of this book was how fast paced and complex it was. what i mean by that is that all the stories were well told and very good.The worst part was how the beginning was so basic, there wasnt much detail. once again a good book for anyone

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    God, this was so boring. I get he's telling his life in the war, but could you at least tella story? If I wasn't doing this for Reading Olympics, I probably would have put it down after the first few chapters. God, this was so boring. I get he's telling his life in the war, but could you at least tella story? If I wasn't doing this for Reading Olympics, I probably would have put it down after the first few chapters.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sammy

    This book is really cool. I have learned so much about war terms and how much people in the united states take things for granted.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    See my review here: http://writingherlife.blogspot.com/20... See my review here: http://writingherlife.blogspot.com/20...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Suraj Bhullar

    The Book Ghosts of War, by Ryan Smithson takes place mainly in the war torn country of iraq, after the war on terrorism was initiated. Throughout this wonderful story we follow a young man named Ryan who is still getting to know the fundamentals of life, when the horrendous attacks on the world trade centers occur. At this point Ryan is only fourteen, and this makes him think as if he needs to do something to help the country, so he thinks of joining the military, but is troubled in choosing whi The Book Ghosts of War, by Ryan Smithson takes place mainly in the war torn country of iraq, after the war on terrorism was initiated. Throughout this wonderful story we follow a young man named Ryan who is still getting to know the fundamentals of life, when the horrendous attacks on the world trade centers occur. At this point Ryan is only fourteen, and this makes him think as if he needs to do something to help the country, so he thinks of joining the military, but is troubled in choosing which branch. I have a love for the military and this book caught my eye, and upon reading the first page, i was hooked. As the story progresses Ryan ends up choosing to join the Army reserves, or as he called it “the weekend warriors”. He recounts his thoughts, and uncertainties such as, if he made the right decision, but nevertheless he proceeds onto basic training without much complaint. As basic training began Ryan Recounts his struggles, and his day-to-day routine, and at this point you can truly see his character growing and maturing as a person. The majority of the book is spent in iraq, and him working as an army engineer, operating large machines, and his heartbreaking experiences he faces, such as being extremely scared at the face of a bomb threat, his encounter with IEDs(Improvised explosive Device), and the extremely sad death of one of his colleagues. Nearing the end of the book it is tied off very nicely, you can see the growth throughout the book of Ryan, who started off as a fourteen year old boy to a more mature Ryan who has seen the hardships of life, and how to cope with life's ordeals. This book is very different from other books as the amount of personal detail that is provided by the author truly captivates his real life experience, and allows you to step into the shoes of the brave men and women who have served the country In my opinion if you have any passion towards the military, or have respect for members of the armed forces, I would highly recommend reading this book as it offers many real life experiences, and life lessons we can benefit from. There may be many books based on military life, but this book is unique as the amount of detail it provides is commendable

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ryan T

    Recently I've read Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19- Year- Old GI by Ryan Smithson. This book wasn't like my usual reads for school, this book was the first non- fiction, autobiography, I've read for a school requirement. Personally I enjoy reading nonfiction, so this book was very enjoyable to me, but it was unique in its own sense that it was an autobiography. I've read many autobiographies about many different people; this one was different compared to the rest. The book itself had a tot Recently I've read Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19- Year- Old GI by Ryan Smithson. This book wasn't like my usual reads for school, this book was the first non- fiction, autobiography, I've read for a school requirement. Personally I enjoy reading nonfiction, so this book was very enjoyable to me, but it was unique in its own sense that it was an autobiography. I've read many autobiographies about many different people; this one was different compared to the rest. The book itself had a totally different writing structure to it, one I've witnessed before, but never in an autobiography. The structure of the autobiography was only one factor for why I enjoyed the book, which I will mention later, but many other factors made this book a good read. Before I go on telling you why I enjoyed the book personally, I will tell you a brief summary about the book. As I've said before, this book is an autobiography written by Ryan Smithson. The book starts off with Ryan Smithson describing his junior year of high school and what events got him thinking of joining a branch of the United States Military. As the book says, one major event in the beginning of the twenty- first century for The United States caused his thinking towards joining the military. While in high school he starts to tell his story of him joining the army reserves and going through training to get him ready. Ryan Smithson goes into the army reserves training expecting what he has seen through movies and media. It was not totally what he expected, he had an idea. He also goes into the army reserves not expecting to be deployed, until he is. Iraq is like nothing he has ever seen before. If he thought army training was something hard, the actual war is even harder. As an engineer in active service, you may not expect a lot of action. But no matter the soldier, action always follows. Ryan Smithson left none of his senses out describing Iraq; he described what he saw, smelled, tasted, heard, and felt while in Iraq. His emotions change while in Iraq; his emotions coming into Iraq were different than the emotions when he exited. After his service of his first tour in Iraq, he describes how he feels when he returns, he feels something unexpected. This book had many qualities to make it a good book to read. I am going to break the book down into different categories to rate it. The different categories include the writing structure, if the reader can imagine himself/ herself in the book while reading, if the book uses humor, if any lessons/ morals were taught in the book, and if the characters are relatable. Note that this book is nonfiction, so the categories may be different than a fictional book. Overall I enjoyed the book, but now I will break down the different categories and rate them individually. The writing structure: The structure of this nonfiction piece isn't like others I have read. It is broken up into three sections (called phases in the book). In one section he writes a flashback to his training, and then back to the future speaking about his time in Iraq. Then in another section he writes flashbacks because he and other fellow soldiers were telling stories. A person telling a flashback in certain even his autobiography is a new style for me. The writing structure was easy to read through and unique, I give it a rating of 5 out of 5. If the reader can imagine himself/ herself in the book while reading: The book, in my opinion, is very descriptive and uses a lot of sensory details. When I was reading the book, I mentally could imagine myself in the book. When Ryan Smithson was on patrol in an Iraqi village, many Iraqi villagers asked the soldiers for water and food. It helped me picture myself as one of the soldiers seeing the villagers in poverty having to ask for food. I can also understand how some of the soldiers must feel not being able to help. Since I am able to picture myself in a scene in the book, I give it a rating of 5 out of 5. If the book uses any humor: In the beginning of the book, humor was very scarce. But later on in the book, humor is used in pretty much every chapter. The jokes may not be appealing to all, but to the few who understand, the jokes are most definitely hilarious. For example, on page 248 it’s written, “‘Ninety-nine Hajis alive on the road! Ninety-nine Hajis alive! You shoot one dead, run over its head! Ninety-eight Hajis alive on the Road!’ Zerega sings.” It’s that crazy sense of humor that some don’t get. I personally got the joke, but some wouldn't. This book's sense of humor may be hard to understand/ spot, but the book contains it, so I give it a 5 out of 5. If any lessons/ morals were taught: In this book, there are lessons/ morals that are very clear (ex. follow your dreams or never give up), and the lessons/ morals that are hard to find (ex. nothing is what it seems). One of my favorite lessons/ morals in the story, if the reader can spot it, is that not everything is like what you see on television. This lesson/ moral can be found when Ryan Smithson enters an Iraqi town for the first time. Ryan Smithson expected the Iraqi town to be chaotic with riots on the streets as seen on television stations in the United States. But when he enters a town of Iraq, it was very peaceful with some kids waving to the soldiers as they drive by. There was more than one lesson/ morale taught in the book, so I rate it 5 out of 5. If the characters are relatable: The characters in the book are only relatable to a certain few per character/s. Some relate to Ryan Smithson, some may relate to the soldiers, some to the parents and family of the soldiers, some even to the villagers of Iraq. I personally related to Ryan Smithson. I am like Ryan Smithson in the way that I want to serve my country, and most likely join the United States Military after high school. Like many others who are planning on joining the military, they’re like Ryan Smithson and other soldiers. The parents and family of soldiers relate to those mentioned in the book. People in poverty relate to the villagers in Iraq. Since the characters are fairly relatable, I give it a rating of 5 out of 5. This book's overall/ average rating is 5 out of 5 stars. Just to point out, I usually wouldn't give out such a good rating to a book; I am usually more of a critic towards books, especially nonfiction. But in my personal opinion, this book was unique and different than any other book I have read. I most certainly would recommend this book as a good free read. This book isn't for everyone though. If you are not into action with some gore, than this book isn't for you. Also, don’t worry when you are reading the book and notice a military acronym, there is a glossary in the back of the book to help any misconceptions. Also, this book is so thrill seeking that you would not want to put the book down until you were finished. If you are looking for a good action, nonfiction book, then this book is for you.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.