None of Us Were Like this Before: American Soldiers and Torture

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Verso, 2010 - History - 237 pages
25 Reviews
Sergeant Adam Gray made it home from Iraq only to die in his barracks. For more than three years, reporter Joshua E. S. Phillips—with the support of Adam's mother and several of his Army buddies—investigated Adam's death. What Phillips uncovered was a story of American veterans psychologically scarred by the abuse they had meted out to Iraqi prisoners.

How did US forces turn to torture? Phillips's narrative recounts the journey of a tank battalion—trained for conventional combat—as its focus switches to guerrilla war and prisoner detention. It tells of how a group of ordinary soldiers, ill trained for the responsibilities foisted upon them, descended into the degradation of abuse. The location is far from CIA prisons and Guantanamo, but the story captures the widespread use and nature of torture in the US armed forces.

Based on firsthand reporting from the Middle East, as well as interviews with soldiers, their families and friends, military officials, and the victims of torture, None of Us Were Like This Before reveals how soldiers, senior officials, and the US public came to believe that torture was both effective and necessary. The book illustrates that the damaging legacy of torture is not only borne by the detainees, but also by American soldiers and the country to which they've returned.

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Review: None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture

User Review  - Bana Faraj - Goodreads

This piece was just beautiful. Mind-blindingly good writing. His research is accurate and tremendous. It's a flawless argument. I love this book more than I can explain. Read full review

Review: None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture

User Review  - Goodreads

The USA has done some ugly reprehensible things and this book points out some of them. Keep in mind that our enemies do the same or worse. The problem I see with that is I thought we were supposed to ... Read full review


The Story Begins in Afghanistan
We werent in the CIAwe were soldiers
Shock the Conscience

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About the author (2010)

Joshua E. S. Phillips is based in New York City and has reported from Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Newsweek, Salon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Atlanta Journal–Constitution, among other publications. His radio features have been broadcast on NPR and the BBC. In 2009, Phillips received the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the Newspaper Guild's Heywood Broun Award of Substantial Distinction for his American Radio Works documentary What Killed Sergeant Gray.

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