Last Journey: A Father and Son in Wartime

Anthony Swofford (author of Jarhead) in the Barnes and Noble Review:

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The best books succeed because they offer the reader a glimpse into a world that might otherwise be unknown, or unknown to most of us. The book at hand, Last Journey: A Father and Son in Wartime, is one of those books. The number of parents who have lost children in the current American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a small, albeit growing, number. The distinction is an awful one, the mark of experience that tears families apart, that leaves a wake of grief, anger, and remorse.

Last Journey is by Darrell Griffin Sr. and Darrell “Skip” Griffin Jr., a self-educated and widely read staff sergeant in the U.S. Army. His areas of interest were philosophy and theology. From his high school years and to the moment of his death, he devoured the giant works of the canon, books by Kierkegaard, Hume, and Nietzsche as well as more esoteric works such as Aristotle and the Arabs: The Aristotlean Tradition in Islam, by F. E. Peters.

The reader can't help but think that if senior members of the Bush administration had been as hungry for knowledge about the Middle East as Staff Sergeant Griffin the war would have turned out differently or might never have been fought. Skip's journal entries range from questions of being and justice to mind searing renderings of the suffering of Iraqi civilians and the deaths of fellow soldiers.

More here. See the New York Times review here.