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Download Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI Audiobook, by Ryan Smithson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.64 out of 53.64 out of 53.64 out of 53.64 out of 53.64 out of 5 3.64 (14 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ryan Smithson Narrator: Ryan Smithson Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2009 ISBN: 9780061809521
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In this extraordinary and harrowing memoir, follow one GI’s tour of duty as Ryan Smithson brings readers inside a world that few understand.

This is no ordinary teenager’s story. Instead of opting for college life, Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer.

His story—and the stories of thousands of other soldiers—is nothing like what you see on CNN or read about in the New York Times. This unforgettable story about combat, friendship, fear, and a soldier’s commitment to his country peels back the curtain on the realities of war in a story all Americans should read.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A tough but powerful look at one man's experience.” 

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “This memoir is a remarkable, deeply penetrating read that will compel teens to reflect on their own thoughts about duty, patriotism and sacrifice.” 

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

  • “Smithson avoids writing either pro-war propaganda or an antimilitary polemic, providing instead a fascinating, often humorous—and occasionally devastating—account of the motivations and life of a contemporary soldier.” 

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Malcolm | 2/1/2014

    " Ghosts of War is a well-written memoir by Ryan Smithson, a young American GI who decides to join the military after learning about 9/11 and visiting ground zero with his girlfriend Heather. Appealing reading for teenagers and adults alike. Quite readable, but not too graphic, so it's a good choice for any readers age 13 or above. It includes all kinds of military terms like IED (explosive devices) and SOP (standard operating procedure). My 9th grade students, some of whom are reluctant readers, enjoyed it for summer reading. I recommend it to anyone interested in the workings of the military, coming of age books, or eyewitness accounts of war. Poignant and very readable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bhadshah | 1/28/2014

    " This book looked boring, but I had to give it a shot for History and it is actually good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 MrsB | 1/24/2014

    " ALBA 2012 This is well-written for a memoir. I often find that sometimes people with interesting stories are unable to tell them well. Not so for Ryan here. This is both accessible and poetic at times. I will highly recommend this to my middle school and high school boys. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sharon | 1/20/2014

    " This one was okay. Would be a good read for someone who doesn't know anyone who has served. The writing isn't superb, but the author isn't a "writer," so in that respect, it was fine. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deion | 1/17/2014

    " i think ghosts of war was a compelling story and was very well put together "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Raven | 12/25/2013

    " I LOVE THIS BOOK! it is on my top 10 favs... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 12/6/2013

    " It really helped bring to life what life is like for a GI. Very illuminating. Smithson does write with some soul, which sometimes helps and sometimes hinders when he reaches for a particular feeling or metaphor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brandee Terry | 12/20/2012

    " This was a very good book. It showed a different side of war and it was well written and more interesting than most war books I have read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cain | 12/17/2011

    " Insightful and thought provoking. The story is Ryan's to tell, and not mine to comment on. Thank you Ryan for telling your story! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vickie T | 2/23/2011

    " Ryan gets deployed to Iraq with an engineering company. His story is told in vignettes and covers basic training and and his time in Iraq. Engrossing but harrowing. It is a SC Young Adult Book Award nominee. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Wrner | 1/10/2011

    " This book was good but the slow parts bring it down a notch "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Sophis | 4/19/2010

    " really makes you think; military terms a little hard for along with gun types - learning "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 9/22/2009

    " I really enjoyed this book, an inside look into one young soldiers story. Again a great war book, that's not about war, but the people in it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 5/8/2009

    " A simple and direct memoir of a young soldier whose life was changed by his time in Iraq. Some great insight into army service at home and abroad. "

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About the Author

Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve and was deployed to Iraq as an engineer at the age of nineteen. Upon returning, he earned an AAS degree in criminal justice. Specialist Smithson doesn’t know if he’ll be deployed again. He currently works for the American Red Cross as a mobile unit assistant and lives with his wife in upstate New York.