Behind the Lines: Powerful and Revealing American and Foreign War Letters---and One Man's Search to Find Them

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9780743256162: Behind the Lines: Powerful and Revealing American and Foreign War Letters---and One Man's Search to Find Them

An exploration of warfare from the perspectives of soldiers and civilians draws on letters collected by the author during his search for wartime correspondences, featuring the writings of soldiers from every major American conflict.

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From the Inside Flap:

THIRTY-FIVE COUNTRIES. FIVE CONTINENTS. ONE MISSION.

"Behind the Lines is an extraordinary achievement, a compendium of voices at once immediate and timeless, heart-breaking and entertaining. Andrew Carroll bears witness to cataclysm by allowing participants to speak for themselves, achieving an evocative power rare even in the best war literature." — Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943

For three years Andrew Carroll traveled throughout the United States and around the world to seek out the most powerful and unforgettable letters ever written during US wars.

Behind the Lines is the result of that extraordinary trip and represents the first book of its kind: a dramatic, intimate, and revealing look at warfare as seen through the personal correspondence of US and foreign troops and civilians who have experienced major conflicts firsthand. From handwritten missives penned during the American Revolution to e-mails from Afghanistan and Iraq, Behind the Lines captures the full spectrum of emotions—exhilaration, fear, devotion, courage, heartache, patriotism, rage, and even humor—expressed in times of war.

Featured here are approximately 200 rare and previously-unpublished letters and e-mails, including:

· Vivid descriptions of guerilla warfare dating back to the American Revolution

· Fierce exchanges between brothers who fought on opposite sides of the Civil War

· Eyewitness accounts by foreign and American troops overwhelmed by the carnage caused by a new generation of weapons during World War I

· Letters between World War II pen pals who fell in love and became engaged solely through their correspondence

· Secret messages to loved ones written by POWs while in captivity

· Final words by troops who knew they were dying

· Gripe letters, humorous accounts from the front lines, and "provocative" letters intercepted by censors

· Profound reflections on faith and humanity

· A moment-by-moment description of 9-11 by a survivor of the attacks in New York City

· E-mails and letters by Iraqi civilians telling family members abroad about the bombings in Baghdad

· Letters of reconciliation between veterans from countries that were once enemies

Behind the Lines, like Carroll’s phenomenal national bestseller War Letters, is part of a larger effort to preserve correspondences that are riveting, insightful, and historically significant. But this book is also about Carroll’s journey across the globe to visit the fields of battle where so many of these letters were written, meet with veterans and active duty troops who generously agreed to share their private correspondence, and speak with family members of those who have lost their loved ones to combat. Behind the Lines is a tribute to those who have fought—and continue to fight—for freedom, as well as a lasting reminder to present and future generations of the true nature of warfare and the sacrifices it demands of individuals, families, and entire nations.

About the Author:

Andrew Carroll, 35, is the editor of three New York Times bestsellers, including War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars. Carroll is also the director of the Legacy Project, a national, all-volunteer effort that encourages Americans to seek out and preserve war correspondences before these letters (and now e-mails) are lost forever. Launched in 1998, the Legacy Project has received more than 75,000 never-before-seen letters from every conflict in this nation's history. Carroll was inspired to start the Legacy Project after his home in Washington, D.C. burned down and all of his possessions were destroyed. Carroll will be embarking on a 50-state book tour to talk about "Behind the Lines" and to continue with his mission of preserving wartime letters as a way of honoring and remembering those who serve.

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