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‘The Forever War’ Author Dexter Filkins Recounts Covering Iraq, Afghanistan Wars

New York Times war correspondent Dexter Filkins' book, "The Forever War," provides a window into his experiences covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for much of the last decade. He talks to Jeffrey Brown about reporting from the front lines.

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    And finally tonight, war from a reporter's point of view. Jeffrey Brown has a book conversation.


    For much of the last decade, Dexter Filkins reported from Afghanistan and Iraq, one of a small group of journalists who became the day- to-day chroniclers of war for American readers and viewers.

    A correspondent for the New York Times, Filkins reported on events for his paper and also often joined us on the NewsHour from Baghdad. Now he's written a book, "The Forever War," that takes the reader to the front lines and behind the scenes, a portrait of war, and a reporter's attempt to cover it.

    Dexter Filkins joins me now.

    And welcome.




    And I guess I can say thank you for your help during those years on the NewsHour.

    The first thing that struck me in reading this was that it's not a narrative in the traditional sense of, "Here's what happened, Point A to Point B." It's episodic, impressionistic. What were you trying to do?


    Well, I felt like there had been a lot books on Iraq and Afghanistan. And most of them, even the really, really good ones, were kind of written from 10,000 feet up, you know, from a distance, discussing decisions in Washington or decisions in the field.

    I wanted to write a book because I thought I could about what it felt like to be there. You know, I wanted to write less an intellectual book than a visceral one, than an emotional one. You know, what's it like to be at a car bombing? Or what's it like to sit across from a Sunni sheikh who's lying to you?

    You know, I wanted to kind of bring the reader with me.


    It's very visceral. And that meant getting you more into the story than we're used to in reading our daily newspaper.


    Yes. I mean, you know, in a book, you can do whatever you want. So, yes, there I was.

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