The Yellow Birds

A Novel

Powers, Kevin

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Yellow Birds
In the midst of a bloody battle in the Iraq War, two soldiers, bound together since basic training, do everything to protect each other from both outside enemies and the internal struggles that come from constant danger. This novel written by a veteran of the war in Iraq, is the harrowing story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive. "The war tried to kill us in the spring." So begins this powerful account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. Bound together since basic training when Bartle makes a promise to bring Murphy safely home, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes actions he could never have imagined. In addition the novel also offers insight into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home.

Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316219365
Branch Call Number: FIC P
Characteristics: 226 p. ; 22 cm.


From Library Staff

Discussion Sept. 19, 2013

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Sep 13, 2014
  • jennrose rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Extremely slow paced, hard to feel for the poorly developed characters. Of course there is a sprinkling of the horrors of war, but a newspaper would cover this just as well. A truly great book on the horrors of war is Tim Obrien's "the Things They Carried"; it would be a much better use of your time.

Jan 28, 2014
  • bookwormjeph rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Written by an ex Iraqi veteran this is an at times harrowing story of the after effects of the Iraq war on a returned soldier. It is sad, devastating in it's description of the personal toll on the main character, but at the same time the humanity of a soldier who promised a mother he would look out for her son-but failed and held himself responsible for the soldiers death. Kevin's style is spare as all the while it points to what is just out of sight or reach for the characters. Well worth the time to read, absorb and reflect on the cruelty of the effects on the soldiers and how they are virtually left to their own anonymity and with very little governmental support once they have laid everything on the line for their country and returned home.

Jan 22, 2014
  • KEVIN DOWD rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I am not much one for fiction. The story here takes some liberties with details on deployments. who what and where are submerged in a dream world of combat and malaise.

War makes paupers of us all... except the arms manufacturers.

Oct 06, 2013
  • jtkretzschmar rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

As good as Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk; interesting read about the casualties in and then out the war. I imagine that the experiences the protagonist went through are autobiographical which makes this novel all the more fascinating - and true

Sep 25, 2013
  • paschalville rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

this book was intense. read 1/3 then put it down. 10 days later read the rest in two days. overall enjoyable but I liked 'billy lynn's long halftime walk' the best of the two mayor's book club books for this year because it had funny moments interspersed with heavier sections

Jul 19, 2013
  • rosco2079 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Powerful story, though heavily written.

Jul 16, 2013
  • gracindaisy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Story of two friends fighting the war in Iraq. One returns home; the other does not. Difficult subject matter, but compelling none the less. Having never served in the military, the least I can do is read about Iraq, from my arm chair. Finalist of the National Book Award.

Jul 14, 2013
  • BlueMoonGirl rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Disturbing image of war and what it does to those that serve. Good, but affecting, read.

Jul 04, 2013
  • Jane60201 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The best book I've ever read describing the life of an ordinarily soldier and almost an explanation of who PTSD is such a problem today.

May 28, 2013
  • JCLMELODYK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I implore all high school lit teachers to introduce your students to this novel. Instead of assigning All Quiet on the Western Front or The Things They Carried, let them learn of the horrors of war, the love between soldiers and the mixed up world of war through this contemporary novel set in the Iraq War. Heartbreaking and unforgettable.

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May 22, 2013

"Eventually, I had to learn that freedom is not the same thing as the absence of accountability."--Bartle


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Powers, Kevin
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