They Were Soldiers

How the Wounded Return from America's Wars—The Untold Story

Ann Jones shines a much-needed light on the dead, wounded, mutilated, brain-damaged, drug-addicted, suicidal, homicidal casualties of our distant wars, taking us on a stunning journey from the devastating moment an American soldier is first wounded in rural Afghanistan to the return home. Beautifully written by an empathetic and critical reporter who knows the price of war.

About the author

Ann Jones is a journalist, photographer (Getty Images), and the author of eight books of nonfiction, including Women Who Kill, Next Time She’ll Be Dead, Kabul in Winter, and War Is Not Over When It’s Over. She has reported on the impact of war in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, and embedded with American forces in Afghanistan. She regularly writes for The Nation and TomDispatch.com.

Reviews

“Read this unsparing, scathingly direct, and gut-wrenching account — the war Washington doesn’t want you to see. Then see if you still believe that Americans ‘support the troops.’”
—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country

“An indispensable book about America’s current wars and the multiple ways they continue to wound not only the soldiers but their families and indeed the country itself. Jones writes with passion and clarity about the tragedies other reporters avoid and evade.”
—Marilyn Young, author of The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990

"For a decade, Jones, through her firsthand reporting of war and life on the ground in Afghanistan, has given us more of the reality of that conflict than any dozen of her well-connected colleagues in the established media, attuned as they have been to the cant and spin pouring out of official mouths. Now, she has turned her shrewd, wise, compassionate, reality-bound eye to some of the bitterest facts of all: the almost unimaginable suffering of the American soldiers wounded and otherwise impaired in the conflict. The result is a harrowing and compelling tale that is hard to bear but must be borne if we are understand the disaster this country unleashed in Afghanistan." —Jonathan Schell author of The Unconquerable World

“This is a painful odyssey. Ann Jones’s superb writing makes it possible to take it in without sugar coating.… Read this book. You will be a wiser and better citizen.” —Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD, author of Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming

"Ann Jones' new book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars -- The Untold Story, is devastating, and almost incomprehensibly so when one considers that virtually all of the death and destruction in U.S. wars is on the other side. Statistically, what happens to U.S. troops is almost nothing. In human terms, it's overwhelming. Know a young person considering joining the military? Give them this book. Know a person not working to end war? Give them this book." —David Swanson, www.warisacrime.org