a battlefield it matters little whether you fight for a right cause
or a wrong one; whether you are decorated with a Purple Heart or
a Silver Star; whether you are a proud officer or a humble soldier.
When a bomb explodes near your feet, when hostile forces loose hell
over your head; when you breath nothing but blood, perspiration
and uncertainty, you are shattered inside, unrecoverably. You are
at war with yourself. You fail to contemplate the causes and the
ethics. You simply refuse to reason. You smile at your enemy and
raise your rifle.
...Sounds rung in our ears, sharp, like the blade of grass.
The pores of our skin took in the air, searching for sour unwashed
uniforms, mingled with gun oil, and the greasy, oily stink of
a German. I could hear the heartbeat of a cricket...
is less about battlefield than about the psychology of war. The
book guides you through the varied 'contributions' of war—the
structured disarrangement, the shattered pieces of human anatomies,
the plights of the soldiers (very often victims themselves) and
the physical and mental scars that once realized will be borne
throughout their lives.
The author, Ms.
Karon G. Booth, herself a teacher and an active educationist,
takes up the challenge of raising fundamental questions about
...A war that made life stale as you dragged one foot in front
of the other from nowhere to nowhere. Where every wall was broken,
every window smashed, every green or fresh thing booby-trapped...
It all begins
with World War II, when Lieutenant Morgan and his band of brothers
arrive behind the enemy lines with a mission to detect and deter
'The Screecher' from firing on the Allied forces. Their search
leads them on series of misadventures, traumas and uncertainities,
which form the heart of Cover Fire. The story grips the
imagination from the start. Ms. Booth's construction of simple
and short sentences aptly suits the subject
...I sneezed again, annoying me. Moved my little finger up,
then down. Gasping air trapped between our helmets, I set forth
the theory—I was alive. Life brought terror—lost in
the dark, buried in the ground, alive in a grave with a corpse
on top of me. I screamed out, but only in mind...
Much to its
horror, the crew discovers Sergeant Randall buried alive, suffering
undescribable cruelties, retaining nothing but the brutal remnants
of war life. "Dragon, there's a dragon in the cave"
was all that Randall could whisper. Well, where is the dragon?
Where is its cave? The answers are however not forthcoming. Morgan,
realising the helplessness of the situation, transcends to the
role of a psychoanalyst and explores Randall's dispirited psyche
to arrive at a "solution".
...The wind from the trigger blew my hair. Each time I wanted
it to be the bullet that killed me, and every time I prayed to
live just one more second...
The dragon has
multiple lives. It never accepts defeat and rejuvenates itself
after every downslope. This is not an imaginary beast or a mythological
symbol of power, but something that breathes flames of fire and
hatred in our midst, blatently. It is hidden from vision, awaiting
opportune moment to emerge and strike. Its effects are devastating,
and never operate on a smaller scale. It is but a predator in
the wildest form, posing serious threat to peaceful co-existence.
We need more analytical and reflective works like Cover Fire
to identify and slay such a dragon.
...There were limits to what you could do to a man, even
in war. This was outside the limits of what humanity, the Geneva
Convention and God had agreed upon...
When taken at
face value the book is an excellent, action-packed war thriller.
If we weigh the plot and its treatment, however, the work is revealed
as a penetrating examination of war and its consequences. In
Cover Fire, Ms. Booth has succeeded in uncovering a seldom
explored side of war—that which bears a haunting human face.