Teens @ Duluth

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Ghosts of War: the true story of a 19-year-old GI – Ryan Smithson

Posted by Laura on January 16, 2010

Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve straight from high school and became a Heavy Construction Equipment Operator.  Why did he join the military?  In 2001 he turned 16.  In 2001 planes hit the World Trade Center.  In 2001 the world changed for the United States like it hadn’t since the bombing at Pearl Harbor.   Ghosts of war: the true story of a 19-year-old GI is Ryan’s story of why he joined and what he did.

He tells of boot camp and deployment.  He tells of leaving his family behind and his formation of a new family, a brother and sisterhood of war.   He tells of his months in the Middle East doing good work with good people for the good of a nation.  He tells of the boredom, the horror, the humor, the fright, and the friendship of war.  He tells of the poverty, the hunger, the thirst and the hope of the people of Iraq.

This man is a hero.  As are the men and women he served with.  Their deeds are not shown on the news or written up in papers and magazines.  This memoir tells their work and while there is reactionary language – and really, what could you expect after a near miss by a mortar – and described violence – well, yeah, it is a war memoir – this is a very readable book for teens.


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