In Enduring Freedom we get the human side of war from two perspectives. The novel shares how two people from different backgrounds react to the same events. The setting takes place mainly in Farah, Afghanistan after 9/11. Joe, a U.S. Army soldier from Iowa, is serving his first tour in Afghanistan when he meets Baheer, a sixteen-year old local. There is a language barrier at first, but there is no mistaking that they both want to defeat the Taliban. They forge a friendship in which they rely on each other's bravery and knowledge to make it through some tough situations.
It is a great narrative breaking down stereotypes Americans have about the Afghan people, and what Afghans think about Americans.
One of the quotes from the book that resonates with me (not just because I work at a library) is; “War isn’t about religion or resources. It’s about control. And the real battle for control is in schools and libraries. Throughout history it has always been the same mission. Whether we’re fighting Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the Taliban, or some other terrible group, first they come for the books. They seek to control who can speak, who can express their ideas of their art.” It is a summation of the mission that Joe and Baheer took on for a better Afghanistan.
I would recommend this book for teens interested in historical fiction, or someone looking for a good story about courage and friendship.