"The Blog of War" book cover

Front-Line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

Matthew Currier Burden

Simon & Schuster, 2006

ISBN 0-7432-9418-1

304 pages

$15.00 (paperback)

Reviewed by: Patrick Thomas

intro | ch1 | ch2 | ch3 | ch4 | ch5 | ch6 | ch7 | ch8 | epilogue

Chapter 3

"The Healers"

Perhaps the most difficult chapter of the book because of the gruesome accounts included in it, Chapter 3 collects excerpts from doctors, nurses, and medical technicians who blog about the casualities of war. These stories report in morbid detail victims’ injuries while drawing attention to the conflicts medical personnel face in combat situations. They demonstrate how difficult ethical questions of life and death are realized in the momentary treatment decisions medical personnel make while caring for wounded soldiers. Medical personnel recall the difficulties of caring for dying soldiers in the last few moments of life and the chaotic conditions of bandaging wounds of both US soldiers and Iraqi civilians on battlefields. In addition, Burden includes a blog excerpt from Chaplain Brad Lewis that addresses the role of spiritual leadership and its necessity in preparing soldiers for combat. Finally, Burden includes an excerpt from his own blog, blackfive, posted by Dr. (Major) Kevin Cuccinelli that demonstrates the lengths to which doctors, nurses, and even patients would go to save one soldier, Specialist Roy Alan Gray. By Cuccinelli’s count, over 100 military personnel were involved in the rescue and eventual rehabilitation of one soldier whose wounds were so severe that he required 12 liters of blood (two complete replacements of the soldier’s blood supply).