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Redeployment sells itself on the cover as being the real deal. I think that’s a fair enough assessment. This is a collection of short narratives – some running to a dozen pages or more; others just a page or two. Each tells a story of American involvement in Iraq from a different perspective. Understandably, most are voices from the military, although there is the occasional voice from the civilian involvement. Phil Klay avoids the temptation to create heroes or play politics. Naturally some of the narratives involve doing heroic things, but these are outweighed by the stories of medics, body collection, office jockeys and logistics. The narratives feel authentic and don’t waste time with background information or explanations. One (mercifully short) story is told almost entirely in indecipherable acronyms. Despite the variety of narratives and voices, the striking point is that the participants’ motivations are almost always personal, and often venal. There is no hint of creating a stronger community; of ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction; of promoting democracy; or protecting the Kurds. Even when coming under direct fire, the motivation is purely on protecting colleagues, winning medals or impressing girlfriends. Some of the narrators are more likeable than others; and a couple are completely repellent. But they are never less than totally engaging. Despite the commonality between the narratives, they never feel repetitive; never feel too longwinded; yet always feel complete. The language seems spot on and it can be difficult to believe these are not direct transcripts of interviews given to camera. The result is a multi-faceted picture of the US engagement; of the challenges faced by those involved in the operations; and the struggles they face in readapting to a normal life when they return home. Of course, one can always point to missing perspectives but for all that, it is worth celebrating the many perspectives that are included. It is the most complete fictional portrayal I have found of the current US engagement in Iraq and, Richard House’s The Kills apart, the most credible. ****0