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Extended Audio Sample The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows, by Brian Castner Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (515 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Brian Castner Narrator: Brian Castner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Brian Castner served three tours of duty in the Middle East, two of them as the commander of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Iraq. Days and nights he and his team—his brothers—would venture forth in heavily armed convoys from their Forward Operating Base to engage in the nerve-racking yet strangely exhilarating work of either disarming the deadly improvised explosive devices that had been discovered, or picking up the pieces when the alert came too late. They relied on an army of remote-controlled cameras and robots, but if that technology failed, a technician would have to don the eighty-pound Kevlar suit, take the “Long Walk” up to the bomb, and disarm it by hand. This lethal game of cat and mouse was, and continues to be, the real war within America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But The Long Walk is not just about battle itself. It is also an unflinching portrayal of the toll war exacts on the men and women who are fighting it. When Castner returned home to his wife and family, he began a struggle with a no less insidious foe, an unshakable feeling of fear and confusion and survivor’s guilt that he terms “The Crazy.” His thrilling, heartbreaking, stunningly honest book immerses the reader in two harrowing and simultaneous realities: the terror and excitement and camaraderie of combat, and the lonely battle against the enemy within—the haunting memories that will not fade, the survival instincts that will not switch off. After enduring what he has endured, can there ever again be such a thing as “normal”?

The Long Walk will hook you from the very first sentence, and it will stay with you long after its final gripping page.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Castner’s book maps out this new and sorrowful territory with the skill and focus of someone who has had to defuse a bomb inside his own body.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • The Long Walk brings home in a visceral way the hidden, personal burden of war that many veterans continue to carry.”

    Boston Globe

  • “The enduring treachery of memory…remains the real, unfinished story of The Long Walk. It takes as much courage for Castner to confront that memory as it does to face an active fuse.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “What makes Castner’s astonishing memoir so unique is his forthright, unflinching look at postwar life.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Castner succeeds in taking readers into the mind of a man who is hopelessly scarred by war.”

    USA Today

  • “Direct and disturbing…A painful but compelling read, even as Castner finds ways to cope, at least partially, with his long walk back at home.”

    NPR Morning Edition

  • “Brutally honest [and] sharply observed…The Long Walk is both harrowing and poignant—an intensely personal story of what it takes not just to survive war, but also to fully leave behind the nightmare of combat and readapt to ordinary life.”

    Daily Beast

  • “He gives equal, if not more, weight to the time and effort that goes into readjusting to his family life, and his straightforward, unself-conscious writing paints an absorbing picture of war in the twenty-first century…Castner’s experience isn’t everyone’s, of course, but a memoir like his can help to bridge that gap between civilians and today’s military.”

    New Yorker

  • “A powerful book about the long cost of combat and the brotherhood of men at arms…[Castner’s] honesty is refreshing and the book is written with such candor and openness that one can’t help but root for him.”

    Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead

  • Selected for the August 2012 Indie Next List
  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book for Nonfiction, July 2012
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Judy Gehman | 2/19/2014

    " A tough read. A Silicon Valley Reads selection. This is the story of the author who is deployed to the Middle East 2 times and is on a bomb-defusing squad. Horrific stories of what happened over there. And the terrible toll it takes on the mind of the soldiers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jon Bell | 2/15/2014

    " This book grabbed me from the first sentence and really gave a unique and intimate look at the war and its impacts, especially for those of us who have had little direct contact with or impact from the war. Castner's writing style is engaging and strong while also laced with tangible emotion. Perhaps a few less paragraphs about the Crazy that haunts him throughout the book would have made it flow a touch smoother, but that's not really a criticism; rather an acknowledgement of the dark and unforgettable impacts of war on one man's life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Harry Shannon | 1/29/2014

    " Riveting and eloquently written, deserves a much wider audience. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Becky | 1/21/2014

    " I picked up Brian Castner's book since it was chosen as one of the two selections for this year's Silicon Valley Reads. I did not expect to like or necessarily even finish the book. However, from the very first sentence to the last, I could hardly put this book down. I ended up reading it in 24 hours. I highly recommend it to everyone. "

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