Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2021
A Bridge In Babylon: Stories of a Military Chaplain in Iraq by Owen Chandler is a war story, but it’s unlike any war story I’ve ever read. Of course, the fact that I’m not a fan of war stories may have something to do with that. That being said, I found this a fascinating read. Chandler was the minister of our church in Tucson, Arizona, when he received orders that he was to deploy in his position as a reserve chaplain to the Middle East. Notification arrived just before Thanksgiving, and he was to depart Tucson in early January.
One might assume that a chaplain would write confidently about their decisions and their relationships. After all, they are led and directed by God. Chandler, however, lets us in on the fact that he is human with questions about what will happen to those he leaves behind, especially his wife and three young children. He questions his ability to meet the needs of the troops but also assures himself that he was selected for this mission and so there must be confidence in his abilities. He is frank about the lack of human touch --- even handshakes and pats on the shoulder --- in the military and ponders the reason and outcomes of such behavior. Chandler doesn’t shy away from discussing the more basic needs of human touch and discusses celibacy during deployment at two points in his book.
There is an overriding sense of commitment to those with whom he served that pervades the book and a looming questions about how the United States can better prepare for deployment and return to civilian life of our military people, especially considering the lengthy warring engagements to which our government commits our forces.
This should be read by many to understand more of life behind the headlines.
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