Ever wondered what you might do with 18 days of rest after serving 15 months in combat? Reporter David Finkel followed one group of soldiers in Iraq for 15 months, and reported all of it in his book The Good Soldiers. Here is our radio version of one of the chapters in his book, where we hear actors read aloud what soldiers and families of soldiers told David about their break.
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Matthew Chasteen is 18 years old. He's joined the Navy, and he's voting for the first time.
Tice Ridley is a first lieutenant in the Army. He's been sending regular emails from Kuwait City, where he's stationed, about what it's like to wait for the war to begin, and what it's like to actually fight it.
Shant Kenderian reads from his memoir 1001 Nights In the Iraqi Army: The True Story of a Chicago Student Held as a POW By the Americans During Desert Storm. During the first Persian Gulf war, Shant (reluctantly) fought for Saddam Hussein.
A campaign diary from writer Michael Lewis from four years ago, about a politician you've heard a lot about: John McCain...and the story of a moment when the opposite of normal politics became normal politics.
When an Arkansas National Guard Unit is sent off to Iraq, they assume they're going to help rebuild the country, since they're trained as an engineering unit. But once they arrive, they find themselves in a combat zone, unprepared and ill-equipped.
The newspaper Military Times did a survey of 2000 active duty servicemen and women, asking them about the new president. Presented with the statement, "As president, Barack Obama will have my best interests at heart," 36 percent agreed...43 percent disagreed.
Alex Blumberg talks with sailor Prevon Scott, who stocks vending machines on the Stennis.
A medieval village, a 1900-pound brass kettle, marauding visigoths, and a plan to drench invaders with boiling oil that goes awry. From Ron Carlson's book The Hotel Eden, read by Chicago actor Jeff Dorchen.
This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story of Conrad Crane, the head of the U.S. Army Military History Institute.
Last summer when Nancy Updike was reporting in Iraq, Sarah, an Iraqi woman in her 40s, was her interpreter. But it wasn't the first time Sarah had had that gig.