I am a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces and it is important for me to understand the experience our soldiers had serving in Afghanistan. Ryan Flavelle’s The Patrol: Seven Days in the Life of a Canadian Soldier in Afghanistan was a big help.
When people think of military history, they think of narratives of epic battles, often from the perspective of generals. That is not this book.
This is the story of one soldier on one “ordinary” patrol in Afghanistan. Flavelle brings us into the mind of the average soldier, feeling the mix of boredom and anxiety while doing their duty.
Flavelle has a way of presenting his story in a raw and unvarnished manner. There is plenty of profanity and interestingly, he shares why profanity is important to soldiers.
I also found his reflections about coming home very helpful. He shares what he felt and the struggles of coming back to “normal” life.
If you are interested in what Afghanistan was like and what soldiers go through, I recommend The Patrol.