My War Gone By, I Miss It So (Anglais) Broché – 1 février 2001
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Description du produit
"Don't shoot, don't shoot," the three soldiers cried out to their comrades as they staggered up the rain-sodden slope towards the Muslim lines at the end of the Novi Travnik. The BiH troops scrambled out of their bunkers among the trees, stumbling down the narrow trenches to take up their positions on the knoll of ground overlooking the Croat-held houses little more than a hundred yards below them. These were confused moments, though once in place it took the fighters only seconds to understand the full horror unfolding before their eyes.
The men approaching them were their own, captured days earlier during a dawn infiltration of the Muslim lines by the HVO. Now, forced back across no man's land, the prisoners lurched unnaturally up the hillside. Their hands were strapped to their waists. Improvised claymore mines were attached to their chests, linked to the Croat houses by coils of wire that unraveled slowly with each stop of their robotic progress. The human bombs were returning home.
Revue de presse
"Loyd's fragmentary reports morph into first-rate war correspondence from Bosnia that places him into the great tradition of Hemingway, Caputo, and Michael Herr." --Boston Globe
"An extraordinary evocation of the war in Bosnia, that is also a painful personal story . . . idiosyncratic, unsparingly graphic, refreshingly critical, and beautifully written." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"What a writer, what a vision. It's hard to read and not be impressed." --San Diego Union Tribune
"Battlefield reportage does not get more up close, gruesome and personal." --The New York Times
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Maybe the different perspective is due to the difference in subject. War books tend to glamorize generals or heroes. Loyd is neither - he a photo journalist. The fight isn't his, but he choices to imbue himself in it. He travels to disintegrating Yugoslavia with the intent to more than merely cover the war; he wants to experience war and to participate in this own way. He finds other foreigners drawn not to the cause, but to the fight. Without a purpose heroics have a different meaning, it isn't about winning but how you deal with your circumstances like the injured officer who shoots himself so that his men won't risk their lives to rescue him.
The war was pointless: the opponents were had more in common than different - Loyd tells stories about neighbors on separate sides catching up during cease fires. When the cease fire ends, the killing resumes - as nasty and as brutal as before.
Other war books talk in terms of policies and campaigns. Loyd deals with the fighters from their perspective it is pretty obvious that everyone would have been better off without the war. Why did people fight it? Loyd concludes that there is something lacking in modern life that can only be found in combat.
I don't think the world has to be so nasty and brutish. The hard part is finding your way out - violence is self perpetuating. It is hard to remember the consequences when you give up on productive solutions and choice destruction over creation.
'Listen,' he said 'you can do this only so long through ignorance. Reality comes to everybody is they stay long enough. So now maybe you have seen it, don't waste your time dwelling it. Learn that every day will be different; some days you can be "brave", and some days you cannot. Don't punish yourself with it, it's OK. It's normal. Cut down on your emotional output. You can carry on indefinitely if you stop thinking so much. There is so much s*** talked here. Don't argue about anything unnecessarily. Don't get worked up, angry, sad, don't even talk about anything that doesn't matter. Conserve your energy. Whatever you know, you know s***. Each of us has the reaction. It is about different chemistry on different days. Each day is different for each person. You must understand that.
Loyd came to Bosnia as an action-craving expatriate Brit, bored of his stable life and in search of a break from the mundane. Though he was only searching for cheap thrills, he threw himself completely into becoming a "war tourist," as is highlighted by his hilarious, yet ingenious means of learning the Bosnian language ("I called up the nearest Serbo-Croatian restaurant and asked them if they had anyone that could teach me Serbo-Croatian").
He subsequently describes how he went into Bosnia in the same way that other young people backpack through Europe. And from this comes remarkable stories that range from those of the ordinary families of Sarajevo trying to preserve some sense of normalcy while under siege to those of creative and flamboyant mid-level commanders of Croatian and Bosnian units as they engineer successful and unsuccessful attacks. The book, however, is at its best describing how a generation of youthful individuals like himself were transformed into soldiers and unwillingly grouped into sides by cunning and manipulative leaders. One of my favorite parts, for example, was Loyd's description of the fighters of the Croat HOS militia who fought the Serbs at the frontline by day and partied in happening bars by night.
Loyd’s on hand description is not necessarily a scholarly text, but it does highlight various absurdities of the war and the ethnic cleansing that it came with it. These include his outstanding description of local Croat soldiers bringing their Muslim neighbors and friends to the protection of the UN to prevent their comrades from murdering them and the drunken reunion of rival Serb and Muslim commanders on the battlefield, boyhood friends pitted against each other by the war. These scenes, and others, give a certain character to the war and its combatants that will not be found in any scholarly work.
To be sure, Loyd’s writing does heavily favor the Bosnian government, as he himself states. Nevertheless, no bias against Serbs or Croats (their ethnicities) is present and particularly interesting was his description of how thousands of Serbs and Croats fought for the supposedly Muslim government.
What stands out about Loyd is his genuine ability to draw the reader into the book and make his story come to life in the sense that the reader feels like they’re right there with him as he documents the war from the front lines, Sarajevo, tiny country villages, and dangerous back roads leading to and from the front. For the reader, this book allows the Bosnian War to be lived and understood long after the fighting ended.
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