Wednesday 12 June 2013

Soldier/Geek: An Army Science Advisor's Journal of the War in Afghanistan - Glenn Dean

Title: Soldier/Geek: An Army Science Advisor's Journal of the War in Afghanistan
Author: Glenn Dean
Genre: Non-Fiction
Published: 2012
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

“Soldier / Geek” is an edited version of Army Major Glenn Dean’s journal he wrote during his time spent out in Afghanistan in 2009. Dean’s job in Afghanistan was basically to go out and liaise with the soldiers out there and identify both new technologies and improvements that could help them fight the war. During his six month tour he travelled to remote bases, encountered various people and worked the Army bureaucracy to try and get things moving in a way that would help in getting equipment into the field.

I found this book to be a very interesting read, with Dean relating his time in Afghanistan via both his work related tasks and the more mundane day to day activities. Dean saw no combat during his tour so the book doesn’t go into any detailed military actions but at the same time it was still an eye opening experience to read about and understand some of the behind the scenes work that goes on in the military, especially during combat operations.

One thing I really appreciated with the journal were the various additional editorial comments that worked well in both helping to translate some of the military speak and giving the reader a little bit more information on the situation being detailed. It just ensured that the reader could understand the contexts of what was occurring and how things have changed or at times haven’t since then.

As someone that works in the defence industry I found various aspects of the story rather enlightening on a personal note. For example seeing the logistical maze that needed to be worked through to get equipment out to the field highlighted to me about why at times things seem to take so long for ourselves when dealing with the military/government. In addition, on a lighter note I couldn’t help but smile as I got to see the similarity between the company I work for and the military in regards to the truly ridiculous quantity of acronyms that are used. I am glad Dean included a reference section at the back of the novel as I did find myself having to use it quite a lot.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this journal and as someone who works in the defence industry I personally found it both interesting and informative but I don’t think its appeal will be limited to just people in my line of work. If you are interested in current affairs, technology or the military then there is probably something in this book that you will find enjoyable.


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