Books Books of War: A Failed State by Andrew Coussens Forrest Cooper June 9, 2021 Join the Conversation In reflection of the first World War, All is Quiet on the Western Front uses fiction to depict the grim reality of trench and chemical warfare at the time. In it, the ahistorical characters, who could very easily be pseudonyms for real people, drag the reader across battlefields, but more importantly, through the minds of those fighting. In A Failed State, Andrew Coussens performs a similar task for our modern conflict, diverging from the simple formula of “secret agent/operator stops bomb threat/terror attack/assassination attempt.” The antagonist is in the room the whole time. Some books are just not written for the general audience, but instead, serve as a tribute to those in the know. In this way, A Failed State is a novel written to a specific, and rarely recognized group of people who's participation in the recent conflicts rarely gets noticed. This comes out in the book as terms, titles, and norms within the pages do not hold the hand of the reader. The clarifying and reiterating components come across as reminders to those who once lived lives akin to the main character. In the same way that All is Quiet on the Western Front distinguishes itself from basic literature thought it's plot, the climax of A Failed State differs from the simple but overused trope of climactic confrontation between protagonist and antagonist. The war is the context, and the story, but not the whole picture. Interested in not only writing about the political and social reality of war in the 21st century, Coussens pulls no punches in the tension of an individual torn between two worlds. The rift between those who have seen war, and those who have only ever encountered peace seems insurmountable for some. Even in peacetime, society dreams of war in its literature and art. While we pay plenty of attention to how a nation may perceive war, its not the same for those who are in it. A Failed State takes the reader through the war-torn streets of Afghanistan, dropping subtle nods to those who have been there. It denies the reader any satisfaction of assuming over-stereotyped tropes. Aware of the geopolitics imbedded in the fictional events, a line is drawn between people who actually know, and those who think they know. There's no cheap antihero to ask morally ambiguous questions. Rather, the protagonist, with all their shortcomings, addresses the ethics of their situation and choices as a willing participant. Andrew Coussens' A Failed State belongs on bookshelves somewhere between Jack Carr's The Terminal List, and My War Gone By I Miss It So by Anthony Loyd. Technically fiction, the reader will have to sort out which parts came from personal experience, a historical account, or the imagination. And for those who've been there, that's one of the best parts. A Failed State by Andrew Coussens Pages: 189MSRP: $25 (Hardcover)URL: afailedstate.com RECOIL LIBRARY of the Books of War Books of War: Building a Library of Must Reads John Nores, author of Hidden War, and Joe Rogan Guest, speaks on his time dealing with the drug trade. To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth by Jeff Cooper War of the Flea by Robert Taber: The Classic Study of Guerrilla Warfare A Failed State: A Novel by Andrew Coussens Explore RECOILweb:First Look: Brownells BRN-4 HK 416 Clone Upper KitsFirst Look: Ed Brown M&P Shield Magazines300 Blackout Ammo Buyer's Guide2017 Registration Open at Mountain Shooting Center NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.You want this. Trust Us.