About the Anthology

Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families

Edited by Andrew Carroll

Operation Homecoming book coverThe first book of its kind, Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families (Random House; September 12, 2006) is the result of a major initiative launched by the National Endowment for the Arts to inspire U.S. Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen and their families to write down and share their personal wartime experiences.

Encouraged by such authors as Tom Clancy, Mark Bowden, Bobbie Ann Mason, Tobias Wolff, Jeff Shaara, and Marilyn Nelson, who visited military bases throughout the U.S. as part of the larger Operation Homecoming initiative, American troops and their loved ones wrote openly about what they saw, heard, and felt while in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as on the home front.

Almost 100 uncensored and never-before-published eyewitness accounts, private journals, short stories, letters, e-mails, poems, and other personal writings are featured in the book, and they show an extremely intimate and human side of war, including:

  • the fear and exhilaration of heading into battle
  • interactions between U.S. forces and Afghans and Iraqis, both as friends and foes
  • boredom, gripes, and humorous incidents of day-to-day life in a war zone
  • the anxiety and heartache of worried loved ones on the home front
  • the brutality of warfare and the physical and emotional toll it takes on combatants
  • tearful homecomings and somber ceremonies for those who returned to the States alive - and for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.

From riveting combat accounts to profound reflections on warfare and the pride these troops feel for one another, Operation Homecoming offers an unflinching and intensely revealing look into the lives of extraordinary men and women. Their words represent the stories that have yet to be told and the voices that have yet to be heard.