Book Review – Afghanistan On The Bounce

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

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Once in a while, I get to do something really cool… this is one of those times. I was sent a copy of Afghanistan On The Bounce. I kid you not when I say I had to fight my family for the book. First my daughter, who served in the Army wanted it; then hubby drooled over it, having served in the Air Force. Me first, guys! The book reminded me of my father’s service in the Navy and the Merchant Marines. He would have loved this book. 😉

Most of us have wondered what it would be like to serve in Afghanistan. Now, you can have a full-color peek into the day to day life of our bravest and those that live around them. This book has some of the most fantastic photography I have ever seen. It also has all kinds of neat little inserts. Robert Cunningham and Steven Hartov put tremendous effort into this book – it is a gift I would be proud to give everyone I know and I am so very honored to have been sent a copy for review. The book is a fantastic collection of the full range of the troops’ experiences — on patrol, in combat, in the chow line and in religious services — through photographs, stories, diagrams and removable ephemera.

To capture the actual experiences in the battlefield and at ease, Cunningham tagged along with 40 different units on 132 combat missions. Robert Cunningham has been a professional photographer for more than a decade, has photographed 9 heads of state, 12 prime ministers, 3 governors, multiple astronauts, cosmonauts, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, renowned actors, musicians and professional race car drivers, as well as servicemembers from 15 different nations. His work has taken him under way aboard U.S. Navy submarines, into zero-gravity in low earth orbit and to more than 450 cities in 25 countries. His work is displayed in many galleries and museums including The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. When I tell you he is the very best, I mean it. Steven Hartov, who was a contributor on the book, is the former editor-in-chief of Special Operations Report and co-author of the New York Times best sellers In the Company of Heroes and The Night Stalkers. His trilogy of espionage novels, The Heat of Ramadan, The Nylon Hand of God and The Devil’s Shepherd, earned nominations for the National Book Award, top ten placements in the Book of the Month Club, and translations into 6 foreign languages. His works are recommended readings by the U.S. Army War College. I actually stand in awe of both these men and what they have created in this book. You must get a copy.

Not only was I rocked by the fabulous, professional photography… the book itself actually brought me to tears and captivated me from the very beginning. It brought home to me what it was like over there. I have never served, but this gave me a brief glimpse into the life of heroes. It is a moment in time when you get to walk in the footsteps of giants. You also get to know the people over there and how they live. I dare you to read this book and then tell me you don’t have a heartfelt appreciation for our troops and what they go through.

I was deeply touched and moved by this book. I can never do it full justice in a review. I will tell you this… over the years, of all the books I have read and reviewed, this book is in the top 5 and could be number 1. When you read it and take it in, you will fall in love with our troops all over again and thank God that they are there for us, watching our backs and protecting us, when others seek to harm us and our nation. Simply a wonderful book and one that you need to share with family and friends.

Cunningham risked his life for this book. I want to share a few photos with you, so you get a feel for the book (although, you have to see the book, to really get it):

Cunningham took over 55,000 photos while he was in Afghanistan and the ones in Afghanistan On The Bounce are the cream of the crop.

From The Hero Ramp:

We are told with cynicism that we are born alone and we will die alone But from the moment of his very last breath, no American hero is alone out here. The word is relayed in whispers. There’s a Hero Ramp ceremony today. And they begin to gather, from all over the base. Soldiers, airmen, marines, nondescript civilians from other government agencies, contractors and cooks and drivers. No one needs to tell them where to stand, how to form up, what to do. They know this, and they swirl into a silent cordon of respect, lining that final path from the hospital to the pair of Black Hawk helicopters, one of which will serve as his riderless horse.

Encased in a rubber cocoon, draped in the American flag, escorted in silence on a wheeled gurney, he is never without guiding hands, prayers, salutes. This is a moment of secrets kept, for only this solider’s warrior brothers and sisters know that he is gone. It will be some time until his wife gasps with the news. His parents and children haven’t yet been informed. Only later will they know that two hundred souls wept here with him and served as his most devoted bearers to that final flight. When it’s over, and the helicopters have faded away into that perfect sky, the mourners will disperse in absolute silence. He has given his last full measure, and their comfort is in knowing that should their time come, they will also be delivered by a brace of angels.

From play time, to battle… from beautiful shots of the countryside, to the people there… this book is comprised of some of the most memorable photography and writing you will find anywhere. Hard bound, with heavy stock and high quality pages, this book would be a handsome addition to any room or collection. This is a gift that will be something to hand down in families… a gift that moves the recipient to tears, causes those who have served to remember and engenders pride and gratitude for all our brave warriors and for everything they sacrifice for us. I thank the authors and I am blessed to have a copy grace my desk. Order Afghanistan On The Bounce today. It’s one of the best moves you’ll ever make.

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