Friday, September 15, 2006




Front-line Dispatches from

Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

Military blogs have transformed the way we look at war and the military, says U.S. Army veteran and military blogger (“Blackfive”) Mathew Currier Burden, author of THE BLOG OF WAR: Front-line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (Simon and Schuster; September 12, 2006; $15.00). Military blogs—milblogs, for short—give readers an uncensored, intimate, and immediate view of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Military blogs”, says Burden, “have been an experiment in putting lives that are on the line online.”

The first milblogs came after the invasion of Afghanistan, when the U.S. military gave soldiers internet access. Blogging became the perfect way for soldiers to stay in touch with and to tell their stories to their comrades-in-arms, their friends and families, and even the public at large. Milblogs were ideal for filling in the gaps that both the media and the military left out of the war. For the first time in the history of warfare, the public had access to an immediate, uncensored bird’s-eye view of what was really happening on the ground.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government is now trying to shut down these blogs and otherwise censor them. THE BLOG OF WAR could very well be one of the last real-time records of the war told by our troops as they risk their lives.

After the death of a friend in Iraq, Burden started his own blog,, in mid-2003 to support the troops fighting the War on Terror and tell their stories. quickly became one of the most visited and linked blogs and has won consecutive “Best Military Blog” honors in the Weblog Awards. Now, Matt Burden has collected some of the most riveting and insightful work by other bloggers in THE BLOG OF WAR.

In it you will meet:

* The Warriors. Each day they must go into battle “to fight the dragons.” Readers who have never heard a shot fired in anger will come closer to knowing what it’s like to enter a known terrorist safe house or patrol the streets of Baghdad.
* The Leaders. Combat leadership can be the toughest and loneliest job in the world. “Seldom is the average American subjected to decisions of right and wrong where consequences result in death,” says one soldier.
* The Healers. The medics who staunch the blood and patch the wounds of their fellow soldiers on the wretched expanses of the battlefield, working feverishly between the next bullet and the nearest hospital to keep their buddies alive.
* Heroes from the Homefront. Having a loved one in harm’s way is a very stressful and trying experience. Some relatives get help from friends, family, and neighbors. Many others, however, especially those on bases or in neighborhoods where everyone is deployed, can find themselves struggling alone.
* The Fallen. Not everyone makes it back home: bloggers pay tribute to those who have fallen in defense of their country – spouses mourn their husbands, soldiers mourn not only their comrades but their Iraqi friends as well, and heartbreaking last letters home are shared.
* Homecoming. Soldiers share their poignant accounts of homecoming. Some soldiers have been injured and others have wounds that can’t be seen. Words can’t really describe what it is for them to come back in one piece and be reunited with their loved ones, but THE BLOG OF WAR conveys these emotionally charged moments as few books ever have.

Military bloggers offer the public unfettered access to the War on Terror. The public does not have to wait weeks or months to hear what’s happened, nor settle for the government’s approved messages. In the past, there were only three sources from which the public could learn about a war: Combat correspondents, who sometimes wrote in the midst of action but just as often did not; government reports, which were often a mix of truth, propaganda and even disinformation; and soldiers who gave their own accounts of what they witnessed in letters to friends and family, accounts sometimes censored by the military, and always written and received well after the fighting had subsided.

THE BLOG OF WAR is a remarkable account of men and women as they actually experience the trials and tribulations of war on the battlefield, where our soldiers must daily test their humanity against harrowing episodes of the horror and fear. Readers are certain to have a better understanding and a greater respect for those who risk their lives for their country in these most turbulent times.

About the Author

Matthew Currier Burden enlisted in the military when he was seventeen. He left the military as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve in July 2001. He has a Master of Science degree in computer science from the University of Chicago and works as an IT executive in Chicago.

About the Book


By Matthew Currier Burden

Published by Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: September 12, 2006

Price: $15.00

ISBN: 0-7432-9418-1


Blogger A Hawk said...

I am definitly buying that book.

Great guy.. that author

Your Faithful Reader,

12:30 AM  
Blogger Beth Hall said...

Good to see you're back! I heard about this book from a friend of mine ( a featured blogger), and I've been wanting to get it. Amazing what the internet allows us to read about first hand.

-Another faithful reader

6:39 PM  
Blogger membrain said...

Michael it's such a relief to see you blogging again. You were such a prolific writer until the unfortunate death of Sgt. Bohling, whom I imagine was a deep personal loss to you. Please accept my condolences.

However, when you stopped posting altogether, I feared the worst might have befallen you.

Thank you so much for all that you have done for us.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Kathleen said...

I just want to second what membrain said. I went as far as to read every single casualty report in the three months following your last entry, but no one seemed to fit the bill so I've been faithfully checking back here every few weeks hoping to hear from you again. Is it too much to now hope that we'll actually start "hearing" YOUR "voice" again?

2:18 AM  
Anonymous Gwtpn said...

there you are. immenesly glad to see that you hadnt dissapeared.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Gemini II said...

I take it your story is in this book????!!! pleased for you that it made print!!!??

6:00 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

When Blackfive was asking for recommendations on what to include I suggested a couple of your posts. I hope they did make it into the book.

Like many others, I'm thrilled that you've posted once more. A long time ago I even asked on Blackfive if anyone knew if you were okay and got a very privacy respecting no-details "yes" and was so very glad to get it.

I kept the bookmark and tonight I actually clicked it by accident only to see that picture of Kim Il Jong... is that real? OMG! LOL.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Mark Blough said...

I am a psychologist and I do psychotherapy and even more significant I am a veteran of the Vietnam Era. I am presently doing research about American Soldiers who have served or are serving in Iraq. I am looking for soldiers to interview, preferably face to face. I need those who are willing to put words to thier experience of serving in Iraq. To tell it like it is or was FOR YOU – to state your experience(s), your thoughts, your feelings and emotions, what you did, what you heard, what you smelled, what you seen done. I am not looking for individual heroes as you are all heroes for serving and thanks. This research is designed to benefit those soldiers that come home changed from their experiences of war and combat – some will come home dealing with and trying to cope with something they did not have when they were deployed to Iraq - Trauma or post-traumatic-stress-disorder, PTSD. Each war is different. From my position of looking in from the outside I fear that your war and experiences are even more stressful than the experience solider had form other wars. It seems that you are almost always under the conditions of being attacked by surprise, it seems like you are always in combat even when bullets are not flying. This research will benefit your peers who won’t talk about their experience; this will help other psychologist to know what you have been through to better help with those who will need some help to get their feet planted once you are back stateside. For those who have not been there and have not served as you have. You, your name, and anything that could identify you, your unit will be kept confidential.
Mark Blough
Office Phone 734-769-8283
I am located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and would travel if needed to interview face to face. I might be able to do this on-line, I am not sure if that would be accepted by the research committee, but to get your story if you are opposed to meeting face to face.
Thanks and with admiration and respect to you all.
Mark Blough

10:12 AM  

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