All the Ruined Men: Stories

Macmillan Audio. Aug. 2022. 8:47 hrs. ISBN 9781250860415. $19.99. F
With firsthand knowledge and expertise, former Army Ranger and paratrooper Glose (Half a Man) artfully draws audiences into his novel-like collection of 18 linked stories. Focusing on an army squad stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s, the stories introduce listeners to a handful of squad members through a mashup of combat experiences and civilian struggles, as they attempt to acclimate to life back on U.S. soil. In “What Won’t Stay Buried,” Corporal Daniel Faust saves a coworker’s life, and the event triggers combat flashbacks. Attempting to connect with his teenage daughter, Private Brendan Mueller teaches her how to fight in “Penultimate Dad.” “Falling Backwards” walks with Private Royce “Professor” Tefertiller as he struggles at home with a traumatic brain injury received in an RPG explosion. This collection is narrated by Shawn Compton, a U.S. Air Force member with over a decade of service. With an authoritative tone, Compton powerfully conveys the comprehensive damage to self that the soldiers carry home to loved ones.
VERDICT Glose’s superbly and empathetically written book is highly recommended. While the subject matter is inherently heavy, it is compassionately managed by one who understands the journey.
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