After Combat


After Combat

True War Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan

Marian Eide and Michael Gibler

280 pages
15 photographs


September 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart

November 2022


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2018


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2018


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Approximately 2.5 million men and women have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the service of the U.S. War on Terror. Marian Eide and Michael Gibler have collected and compiled personal combat accounts from some of these war veterans. In modern warfare no deployment meets the expectations laid down by stories of Appomattox, Ypres, Iwo Jima, or Tet. Stuck behind a desk or the wheel of a truck, many of today’s veterans feel they haven’t even been to war though they may have listened to mortars in the night or dodged improvised explosive devices during the day. When a drone is needed to verify a target’s death or bullets are sprayed like grass seed, military offensives can lack the immediacy that comes with direct contact.

After Combat bridges the gap between sensationalized media and reality by telling war’s unvarnished stories. Participating soldiers, sailors, marines, and air force personnel (retired, on leave, or at the beginning of military careers) describe combat in the ways they believe it should be understood. In this collection of interviews, veterans speak anonymously with pride about their own strengths and accomplishments, with gratitude for friendships and adventures, and also with shame, regret, and grief, while braving controversy, misunderstanding, and sanction.

In the accounts of these veterans, Eide and Gibler seek to present what Vietnam veteran and writer Tim O’Brien calls a “true war story”—one without obvious purpose or moral imputation and independent of civilian logic, propaganda goals, and even peacetime convention.


Author Bio

Marian Eide is a professor of English at Texas A&M University. Her research and teaching address twentieth-century and contemporary narrative with a particular focus on ethics and war. She is the author of Ethical Joyce​. Michael Gibler served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army for twenty-eight years. His assignments included Airborne, Air Assault, and Light and Stryker Infantry Units; he participated in Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.


"After Combat is a superb book that stands out from books with comparable concepts. This is a book that is veteran focused, superbly organized, and void of any covert or overt agendas. These qualities combine to offer a volume that will be eye-opening to those not particularly familiar with the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan and the veterans who served in them. Eide and Gibler have crafted a book that will unquestionably benefit and educate the general public."—Rick Baillergeon, Military Review

"The greatest value of After Combat is in the authors' achievement of their aims: to create a book that bridges the gap between what Hollywood and the media has presented to the public about the realities of war and the actual realities of war and combat. Without the filters of professional writers and reporters creating a narrative they can use to promote a product, including the product of war, Eide and Gibler have given the veterans' ownership of their stories to create their book. By using themes to coalesce the service members' stories and introducing each theme in context, the authors have allowed the focus to remain on the veterans' experiences while creating a structure that adds to the impact and value of the stories shared. After Combat: True War Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan should be read by anyone who wants to gain a greater understanding of what life in and after combat is really like."—Sarah E. Minnis, Journal of Veterans Studies

"After Combat is a different kind of page-turner. . . . It evokes a series of important and somewhat uncomfortable emotions, exactly its objective, as it pushes the unfiltered experience of war to a mass audience."—James Sandy, Strategy Bridge

“Marian Eide and Michael Gibler seek to construct one big narrative from interviews with thirty veterans about their experiences [in Iraq and Afghanistan]. Does this approach work? Yes, and far better than I expected. I finished this book wishing that there were companion volumes for the American Revolution and the Civil War.”—Thomas E. Ricks, New York Times Book Review

After Combat paints a picture of the messy aspects of war and their aftermath on veterans, their families, their friends, and their personal and professional lives. There are no ordinary stories of the men and women who are deployed to fight our nation’s wars. America is fortunate to have those who volunteer to wear the cloth of our country. A must-read if you care about America and its military men and women.”—Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, U.S. Army (Ret.)

“In After Combat Marian Eide and Michael Gibler capture the true essence of our generation’s defenders of freedom. From the warrior perspective After Combat highlights the emotion, the sacrifice, the anguish, and, most important, the heart of what it means to serve in combat. Once again we witness the selfless sacrifice of our nation’s greatest treasure: her sons and daughters, as they tell their stories of their time in the ‘crucible of fire.’ Where do we find men and women of such courage, patriotism, and selflessness?”—Lt. Gen. Frank Wiercinski, U.S Army (Ret.)

Table of Contents




1. Enlist/Commission                                                                                                             

2. Mission                                                                                                                               

3. Every Other Day                                                                                                                

4. In Country                                                                                                                          

5. The Best Job I Ever Had                                                                                                   

6. Explosion                                                                                                                           

7. Low Points                                                                                                                         

8. Close Call                                                                                                                           

9. Combat                                                                                                                              

10. Comrades                                                                                                                         

11. Chain of Command                                                                                                         

12. Did You Kill Anyone?                                                                                                     

13. Enemies                                                                                                                            

14. Homecoming                                                                                                                    

15. Loss                                                                                                                                  

16. Nostalgia                                                                                                                          

17. Struggling                                                                                                                        

18. Thank You for Your Service                                                                                           

19. True War Stories                                                                                                              

20. Out of Sync                                                                                                                      


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