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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beyond Bullets by Rafael Gerzak (photographer) with Dawn Hunter

Award-winning photographer Rafal Gerszak spent a year embedded with the American military in Afghanistan, where he used his camera to document everyday life in the war-torn country. While there, he developed a deep affection for the land and its people, and he later returned on his own. Despite the dangers around him, he continued taking photos, exposing the plight of that besieged country.

Framed by journal entries that relate his experiences on two levels—as a foreigner looking for a deeper connection to a country that has stirred him, and as a journalist looking for another side to the story—BEYOND BULLETS addresses the volatile situation in Afghanistan with sensitivity and profound insight. Through Gerszak’s lens, readers can see the shattered aftermath of military attacks and dismal hospitals and refugee camps, but they can also experience the vibrant activity of life in the markets, at home and on the Muslim day of rest.

Summary taken from

Since I'm doing my Around The World Challenge I thought that this would be a great book to read as it takes place in Afghanistan. This is a photo journal of sorts based on what photographer Rafael Gerzak experienced during his 15 month deployment in Afghanistan and what happened after.

The first half of the book depicts some of the events that took place while he got deployed in Afghanistan with a unit for 15 months. He gives the readers a look into his life while he was there by including wonderful photographs and to aid him and he provided captions as well as little "journal entries" about different things that he bore witness to.

The second half of the book depicts the war in Afghanistan from the civilian point of view that he was able to experience after he finished his deployment and returned home to the U.S. for a period of time but he felt that he only captured half of the story when he was over there the first time. This part of the book I liked best.

There is one thing that is often forgotten is that depsite there being a war happening, there are innocents still trying to eek out a meager existence and I fully appreciated this. This book is perfect for older kids and even teens, there are also interesting little sidebars that give additional information about Afghanistan. All in all it wasn't a bad book but it wasn't great those I wish the authors the best of luck in their future endeavors.

*I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

★ ★ ★


  1. Having been deployed a few times with the U.S. military, I can say this one sounds intriguing.

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