Through glossy photos, pull-out literature, and writings by Steven Hartov, readers start from the outset of servicemembers’ deployment and finish not only with the service members’ heartfelt return, but with a deeper understanding of their experience in Afghanistan. Robert Cunningham’s high-gloss, high-definition photographs will inspire readers through his portrayal of what our brave servicemembers feel and see every day, on and off the battlefield.
With detail, emotion, and conviction, the narrative illuminates everything from the tears left on the tarmac as a service member deploys, their downtime, life beyond the protection of the base, iron horses (helicopters, planes, and armored trucks), the military chaplain, what happens to wounded soldiers, how fallen service members are brought home, and other aspects of a service member’slife in Afghanistan.
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So, what is it really like to serve in Afghanistan? This is the question that millions of civilians often ponder when they think of our service members. Afghanistan: On the Bounce conveys the full range of the troops’ experiences through photographs, stories, diagrams, and removable ephemera.
Afghanistan: On the Bounce
Pray For Me
When times are tough – and they will be, at war – you can turn to the nearest military chaplain. He’s a pastor to some, a shepherd to all. He’s attained some sort of rank, but he’s probably the only soldier you know for whom that rank is almost meaningless. And, in a sense, it doesn’t matter what religion he follows because he’s likely to know more about yours than you do. His primary job, which is generally misunderstood, is to ensure the right of all soldiers to freely practice their religion, whatever that might be, without any attempt at conversion. He’s almost an ethereal being. You’ll find a three-star general seeking his counsel, but that general might have to wait because a private was first in line.
“It never hurts to have a chaplain on board,” You’ll hear that often, from everyone from helo pilots to convoy leaders. Even those who profess to believe in nothing somehow understand that if there might be a human bridge between the cruel real world and some better place after death, it’s that guy with the easy smile and soft demeanor. You might never share a personal problem with your commanding officer or even your best buddies, but the chaplain is always a safe, completely confidential, nonjudgmental bet. And if you’re going to die today, it would be just fine if he’s the last man you see.
Robert Cunningham has photographed the five living United States presidents and nine heads of state, 12 prime ministers, numerous astronauts, celebrities, and Fortune 500 CEOs. But his proudest moment in a 10-year photography career came when he photographed U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan. He took 55,000 photographs and had a selection of the best published in his new book, Afghanistan: On the Bounce (Insight Editions).
Cunningham, whose work hangs on the walls of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, spent four months as an embedded photo journalist with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (spanning two trips a year apart). He documents what he witnessed during 132 missions, brilliantly capturing and conveying the full spectrum of the troops’ experiences — on patrol, in combat, in the chow line, at night, and in religious services — through photographs, stories, diagrams, and stunning images.
Sever Hartov is the former editor-in-chief of Special Operations Report and co-author of the New York Times best sellers In the Company of Heroes and The Night Stalkers. His trilogy of espionage novels, The Heat of Ramadan, The Nylon Hand of God, and The Devil’s Shepherd, earned nominations for the National Book Award, top ten placements in the Book of the Month Club, and translations into six foreign languages. His works are recommended reading at the U.S. Army War College.
Photo Credits: Robert Cunningham