By Jim Braly
Cascadia Press, $15.00, 246 pages
Short chapters and large pages make this caustic, heart-wrenching fictional tale of an Iraqi War Army soldier named Johnny Cutter a can’t-put-it-down experience. However, it’s anything but a light read. Strong language and overtly graphic verbal images depict this story throughout. The subject matter is, at best, painful to comprehend. Brazen descriptions of the devastations of war ignite horror in its readers told in the callous voice of a war-wrung soldier, and that’s just in Part One. Part Two and Part Three will cause tears to stream down your cheeks with occasional laughter slipping out in the author’s cleverly characteristic writing.
“Governor Ted Kulongoski attended the funeral and said, ‘Private First Class Cutter believed in liberty and freedom, and he put his life on the line every day to ensure the safety of all Americans back home. He was a soldier who represented the very best of Oregon. I know we can all agree that he was a true American Hero.’”
Johnny’s War was written by Jim Braly who spent 33 years reporting the news, even doing a stint here at our own newspaper, The Oregonian. His extensive and imaginative research spanned the Middle East war from 2003 to 2007. He wove a realistic view of the life of one soldier; one soldier who was the extreme, the worst case scenario of that combat. This book was truly Johnny’s War, not just America’s War but his own war to survive.
This story will move you, drive you to grieve, incite emotions that are difficult to identify but are very raw in their authenticity.