21st Century Asian Arms Race Reviews “Only Cry for the Living”

Only Cry For The Living – Hollie McKay Witnesses A Nightmare War

APRIL 3, 2021

“The war journalist’s reminiscences are an enduring genre in non-fiction and today’s readers are well-served by the abundance of such books coming from the world’s trouble spots. Amid the current uncertainty left by the COVID-19 pandemic scant attention is being paid to the shambles left by the defeated Islamic State, whose far-fetched conquests devastated two countries. Only Cry For A Living: Memos From Inside the ISIS Battlefield uses the format of dispatches or memos from the field to chronicle how the terror group was beaten, eventually.

The author Hollie McKay, once an entertainment reporter, treks through Iraq and Syria during the terrible years of the struggle against so-called caliphate. Her story begins in Israel during the summer of 2014–the IDF’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip was underway–when ISIS suddenly invaded Iraq and captured Mosul. McKay doesn’t bother with a prose style and manages a dependable just-the-facts retelling of her myriad encounters with fighters and refugees alike surviving the cataclysm that has engulfed them. The entire book spans the five years–almost longer than World War 2–of relentless warfare as a US-led international coalition sought to contain and then destroy the caliphate. Throughout, she asks What is war? and tries to tack on a suitable answer.”

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