Awarded the Bronze Star & Purple Heart
Sledge reveals a brutal portrait of war and the cost of returning to a country that no longer feels like home.
— download the first chapter —
The current stories about Iraq and Afghanistan are broken
Hollywood wants to sell you jingoistic heroism despite men and women crushed under the weight of 20 years of war with no draft. Many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines came home institutionalized, war sick, and wondering how to readjust.
Instead, author Benjamin Sledge takes aim to tell an unflinchingly honest portrayal beginning on a small base on the Pakistani border in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11. However, the young warrior returns home shattered after embracing the barbarity he witnessed around him. Haunted by his experiences overseas, he begins a 15 year odyssey wrestling with mental health, purpose, and faith, that eventually drives him to volunteer for another combat tour in the deadliest city of the Iraq War—Ramadi.
In his memoir, Sledge vividly captures the reality of the men and women who learn to fight without remorse, love each other without restraint, and suffer the high cost of returning to a country that no longer feels like home.
I couldn’t put this book down. In fact, I read it faster than any book I’ve ever read. It wasn’t only intense and gripping, but brutally honest and vulnerable. Benjamin takes you through the horrors of warfare to the terror of readjusting back to a normal society. Most important, his honesty about his failing mental health and what it took to find peace following a life of war is something very few veterans speak of.
Where Cowards Go to Die is an addictive page-turner that I burned through in less than a week. What I appreciate most is Sledge's ability to portray certain aspects of war that most non-veterans would consider uncomfortable or questionably moral in a way that bridges a gap and creates some degree of understanding and empathy. WCGtD has definitely earned a spot in my ‘highly recommended’ list when discussing books with friends, especially those who have not served but have expressed curiosity in understanding military culture.
This book swallowed me whole like an indignant sea as I was overcome by a cascade of emotions. Ben’s book discusses the bad, the good, and the severely ugly, awhile sparing not a single salutary detail. We forget the ultimate sacrifices other makes to ensure we have our freedom. Where Cowards Go to Die is an absolute must read.
Where Cowards Go to Die is a vivid and heart-breaking story, about war, terror, bravery, loss, and sacrifice. God bless our men and women at the tip of the spear. Ben Sledge was there, and you will be as well.
Well s**t—THAT was intense! Where Cowards Go to Die is an intensely personal plunge down the rabbit hole of the Global War on Terror.
War is hell. Ben graphically takes us into the raw, gritty reality of war with a story of redemption in the hell of what so many return to fight—divorce, PTSD, and a search to find meaning after combat. Society and churches need to understand the psychology of war that Ben uncovers, so we can ensure our soldiers are cared for and don’t come back wishing they hadn’t.