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5 stars for Lines in the Sand by F. Scott Service #military #memoir #personalgrowth #bookreview

Title: Lines in the Sand

Author: F. Scott Service

Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir/Military/Personal Growth/Spiritual

Book Blurb:

For F. Scott Service, a five-minute phone call one peaceful morning was all it took. Faced with the terrible dichotomy of his moral opposition to war and an innate sense of duty, little did he realize that when he was called for deployment in Iraq that his would be the journey of a lifetime.

A tour of duty destined to change him forever.

Witnessing the violence of a country ravaged by chaos and facing the disintegration of his life back home, his sojourn in Iraq forced him to fight a new battle, a battle within himself. What had once been a noble intention became a desperate struggle to salvage what was left of his humanity, an excursion into the darkest recesses of the human mind that ultimately led him to question everything he had come to believe.

Pushed to the edge, only then would he discover what lay within.

Author F. Scott Service recounts his wartime experience within an artfully lyrical epistolary composition. Transcribed from his handwritten journals, Lines in the Sand is a powerful exercise in self-exploration amid heart-wrenching loss and anguish.

My Review:

A timely and extremely personal look at the War in Iraq and its impact on the common soldiers sent there. It has been about two decades since the Iraq invasion and through hindsight it's not as simple as it seemed to be then. I confess, as a reader, I initially supported the conflict as it was explained to me by the US gov't. Within a few years, it started to not make much sense and now most can clearly see the soldiers there were the only ones who deserved support.

This book reads like you are being spoken to by a close friend. You have a man's intimate feelings and experiences presented firsthand in his journals. It is jarring and angering to read.

Much of the problems faced by the soldiers stem from the US military policy in existence since Vietnam. The whole 'not at war with a country just a little part of it'. When you don't take over land and hold it, you have no front lines. Every soldier everywhere is on a front line. This is the recipe for terrible mental health issues. In World War Two, if you were taken off the line, you were in a rest area that was 'safe'. In Iraq, there was no safe area. The constant threat of death just wears on the psyche.

A personal note: I do understand how some relationships come apart under the pressure of deployment. What made me angry was how his spouse took all his money and belongings. If one wants to leave their serving member who is their spouse, fine...just don't strip away all the valuables while they are in a combat zone. That is dirty pool in my view.

This book is a must read for any veteran who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. This book is recommended for any family member of someone who served in the last two wars. A valuable read for everyone who was around during the Iraq invasion. This may give you a new perspective to see what seemed like a 'clean' war. War is killing and death and it's always going to be ugly. This book helps clearly point out that it is just ugly in many ways.

My Rating: 5 stars

Buy it Now:

Author Biography:

A former sergeant with the Army National Guard, Scott is an award-winning, full-time author. His first memoir, Lines in the Sand: An American Soldier’s Personal Journey in Iraq, is a transcription of the handwritten journals he kept during his tour of duty and details not only the turmoil of war, his divorce, but how he became a conscientious objector. It won a Bronze medal in the 2022 Wishing Book Awards for Adult Nonfiction. It also has been awarded a Readers’ Favorite Five-Star rating and a Pacific Book Review Star for a Memoir of Excellent Merit.

His second, Playing Soldier, takes on a broader scope capturing his lifelong journey of unlearning expectation, celebrating individuality, and nourishing self-acceptance once buried by cultural stamps of approval and societal convention. It has won the 2021 IndieReader Discovery Award for Memoir. It was also awarded Finalist in the 2021 National Indie Excellence Awards for New Nonfiction, the Book Excellence Awards for Memoir, the Wishing Shelf Book Awards for Best Cover Design and Adult Nonfiction, the Independent Author Network (IAN) Book Awards for Autobiography/Biography, the N.N. Light Book Awards for Memoir, and won the Honorable Mention Award in the 2021 Readers' Favorite Book Awards.

Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional/Technical Communication and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, he has also had experience with editing, journalism, and desktop publishing.

He lives in New England and you may connect with him at:

Social Media Links:

Reviewed by: Mr. N


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