My War Gone By, I Miss It So

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9780140298543: My War Gone By, I Miss It So

Nothing can prepare you for Anthony Loyd's portrait of war. It is the story of the unspeakable terror and the visceral, ecstatic thrill of combat, and the lives and dreams laid to waste by the bloodiest conflict that Europe has witnessed since the Second World War.

Born into a distinguished military family, Loyd was raised on the stories of his ancestors' exploits and grew up fascinated with war. Unsatisfied by a brief career in the British Army, he set out for the killing fields in Bosnia. It was there--in the midst of the roar of battle and the life-and-death struggle among the Serbs, Croatians, and Bosnian Muslims--that he would discover humanity at its worst and best. Profoundly shocking, poetic, and ultimately redemptive, this is an uncompromising look at the brutality of war and its terrifyingly seductive power.

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Review:

My War Gone By, I Miss It So is a fiercely compelling and beautifully written personal account of the Bosnian war. The book alternates between Anthony Loyd's experiences in Bosnia and personal reflections of his time in the British army, his parents' divorce, his estrangement from his father, and his heroin addiction. Loyd describes the war at eye level: detailing the way bodies look after they've been shot or blown up, looking through the sights of a Muslim gun trained on a Serb soldier, traveling with a French mercenary, and fleeing from advancing Serbs during battle. The book is filled with firefights and mutilated corpses and is not for the squeamish. Bosnia was "a playground where the worst and most fantastic excesses of the human mind were acted out." For Loyd, the high of battle substituted for the high of heroin and vice versa: "I had come to Bosnia partially as an adventure. But after a while I got into the infinite death trip. I was not unhappy. Quite the opposite. I was delighted with most of what the war had offered me: chicks, kicks, cash and chaos; teenage punk dreams turned real and wreathed in gunsmoke."

Loyd's big break as a war correspondent came when another British journalist was wounded. He had arrived in Bosnia a war junkie, just trying to figure out what was going on and sell a few pictures to newspapers on the side. "Journalism in itself had never really interested me, I saw it only as a passport to war." He did not cover the war like most other journalists--he went right into battles. Loyd dismisses what other journalists did in Bosnia: staying at the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo, driving out to the UN headquarters in an armored car, and then returning to the relative safety of their hotel "to file their heartfelt vitriol with scarcely a hair out of place." Loyd, who did everything but carry a gun against the Serbs, scoffs at the idea of journalistic objectivity. "What good did reporting ever do in Bosnia anyway?" he sneers. In fact, he seems almost embarrassed not to be fighting himself. "I felt I was a pornographer, a voyeur come to watch." Lucky for the rest of us he did go to Bosnia. --Linda Killian

From the Inside Flap:

QUOTES:

"A truly exceptional--account of his time in the Balkans and Chechnya--. I read [Loyd's] story of war and addiction (to conflict and to heroin) with a sense of gratitude for the honesty and courage on every page." --Independent

"I have nowhere read a more vivid account of frontline fear and survival." --The Times

"Magnificent--a stench of blood, excrement, mortar-fire, slivovitz and human bestiality emanates from these pages." --Literary Review

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