Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
By Anthony Messelot
In this moving story of courage and survival, US Army veteran and poet Kevin Powers delivers a remarkable debut about the psychological impact of war. As their platoon engages in a bloody battle for control of Al Tafar, Iraq, Privates John Bartle and Daniel Murphy cling to life by aiming to not become the one-thousandth soldier killed in action. On returning home after his service, Bartle remains haunted by what he experienced in the field and by the promise he made to Murph's mum to bring her son home to safety. Powers is a war poet for the 21st century and like his forebears Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen, he vividly captures the desperation and brutality of war and its effects in The Yellow Birds.