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  • Outstanding, compelling story!

    Blindsided by the Taliban: A Journalist's Story of War, Trauma, Love, and Loss is Carmen Gentile's first novel. Blindsided will produce a wide range of feelings while reading this memoir; feelings of heartbreak, despair, but most importantly, a sense of hope. I have always held our brave fighting men and women in the highest esteem. After reading this story, I came away with a newfound respect for the journalists that are embedded with them in some of the worst situations imaginable. Although Gentile is a seasoned, accomplished journalist, it does not make him automatically a good novelist. But, this book did surprise me; you might even say I was blindsided. Blindsided is not my typical go-to book and is totally out of my comfort range. I was pleasantly surprised by Gentile's no-nonsense, honest writing style. I am not a fan of the fluff that most journalists feed the American public. This book was far from said fluff, it was raw, honest, at times shocking, with a hefty dose of self-deprecating humor. Gentile takes the reader deep into his struggles and lays everything out there for all of us to read. From his heroin addiction, his many failures with women, (sorry Carmen) to his efforts with mentally and physically dealing with a life-changing event. Gentile was struck in the side of the head with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) while embedded with a US platoon in the Kunar Province, Eastern Afghanistan. I would say that he is one lucky f…..! Gentile uses a "Dateline" style of writing, giving each chapter a time and place reference. Life is not static; we are always looking back on what has happened in our life- what we could have done better, done differently. I felt this format was an excellent way for Gentile to tell his story. But, it is not just his story that he is telling us. We get a sometimes horrific, sometimes hilarious glimpse of what it must be like for our troops in these war-torn countries. I found that Gentile has the utmost respect for the soldiers that he was embedded with, and portrayed them with the utmost reverence. Blindsided by the Taliban is the type of book that will stay with you for many years. It's a book that makes you take a long hard look at your life. It helps you appreciate the enormous sacrifices that not only our troops make daily but also the journalists reporting from those same front lines. In my opinion, this book was not written to elicit pity, actually the complete opposite. Carmen says it perfectly. "But here, among the Marines and soldiers I've spent much of the summer with, I've finally got it back. Oddly, only in Afghanistan am I able to really laugh again." I highly recommend this book. Carmen Gentile, you have put my faith back into journalism. Well done!

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