This is one of the best books I've ever read. And I've read a lot of books. Jim Braly makes John Cutter, the main character in "Johnny's War" seem so real, I was surprised that he wasn't. I actually looked to see if the author was an Iraq vet and expected the novel to be semi-autobiographic. It's not at all. Jim Braly is a newspaper writer. Now he is a superb novelist.
The novel is told in three parts. The first being Cutter's time in Iraq, 2006, as a private in the American army. He is new to the desert. He is niave and soaking it all in like a sponge. His buddies and leaders are tremendously developed in character. The second tells his time in recovery from extensive wounds. He travels from Iraq to Germany and on to Walter Reed. The author holds nothing back when writing on the injuries Cutter sustanes. His nurse is a hoot. The third tells of his AWOL/vacation across America. He hits the sights with his army buddy and learns to care for himself. He also learns what he can and cannot handle with his new life. And for some reason he doesn't want to see Kansas. (but it's so exciting) The research of army life is detailed and descriptive. The characters seem so real that the reader will take each disappointment and achievement personally. It is hilarious, it is thought provoking, sad, AMAZING. I was hooked instantly. I received this e-book for free from www.librarything.com.