The War Psychology: What Actually Happens in War

After the tragic incidents of 9/11, the United States and her allies went into war against Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Islamic terrorists. Saddam and Bin Laden are killed but the war against terrorism is getting fiercer day by day.

No doubt, war is a wound on the face of the humanity, however, war also produces wonderful literature and films. Wonderful in a sense that war movies and books exactly portray the pain and suffering of people directly and indirectly involved in the war. Such kind of portrayal makes other people, who know nothing about war, aware about the consequences.

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have inspired some award winning movies and books. Restrepo, a documentary directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington and War, a book based on Restrepo, by Sebastian Junger portray what goes in the outposts in Afghanistan.

Sebastian Junger

Award winning American novelist, journalist and documentary filmmaker Sebastian Junger was born in 1962. When his first book The Perfect Storm was published in 1997, critics praised Junger as new Hemingway.

Junger is the author of War and The Perfect Storm. The Perfect Storm is a true story about the loss of a fishing boat in the coast of Nova Scotia, a peninsula in eastern Canada. The Perfect Storm was adapted for the screen in 2000 by Warner Brothers, which featured George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in the leading roles.

Sebastian Junger spent many months in Korengal Valley, in Afghanistan. His visit to the Restrepo outpost, along with Tim Hetherington, produced a wonderful documentary Restrepo. The documentary was later transcribed into a book titled War.

War tells what happens in the body and mind of soldiers during the war. War is a firsthand account of soldiers’ life in the bunkers and the reportage from the war zone. In War, Junger writes about the tension, the danger, the frustration, the boredom, and the bravery associated with war.

Sebastian Junger is also a contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine. He Junger lives with his wife in New York.

Books by Sebastian Junger

  • War (2011)
  • A Death in Belmont, 2007
  • Fire (a collection of articles), 2001
  • The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea (1997)

DocumentariesRestrepo (2009)

Which Way is the Front Line From Here? (2011)


  • National Magazine Award (2000) for “The Forensics of War,” an article published in the Vanity Fair
  • PEN/Winship award for A Death in Belmont, 2007
  • DuPont-Columbia Award for broadcast journalism (along with Tim Hetherington), 2008, for The Other War: Afghanistan
  • Leadership in Entertainment Award (2011) from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America for Restrepo

War by Sebastian Junger

Junger describes the brotherhood between the soldiers as “a friendship which is not sexual but contain much of the devotion and intensity of romance.” The “nearly narcotic” bond makes the soldiers die for each other. Junger illustrates fear, killing and love as felt by the soldiers. In War, men fight and die. “How easy it was to go from the living to the dead… lives measured in inches and seconds and deaths avoided by complete accident” writes Junger. The author explains what goes in the trenches and the mind of the soldiers. He shows wounded soldiers, dead soldiers, and explains the temperament of the survivors explaining why they become misfit in everyday life after war.

Author writes about physical and mental discomforts in the war zone. The soldiers in the Korengal valley face mundane problems such as handling feces, making a cup of coffee and grave such as heat, bug, wounds and deaths. He explains why a soldier risks his life to save his comrade. His explanation of emotional attachment amongst the combatants gives emotional touch to the war account.

While reading the book, you feel like being a witness to a deadly war, where enemies are everywhere. The only flaw that you may find in Junger’s book is the digression. The author talks too much, but in the book such as War, readers are interested in what soldiers say rather than the author’s views on war. Junger risked his life to show the real face of war in Afghanistan, however, he fails to show more because he is lost while telling.


The US government deployed Battle Company in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. During the Battle Company’s 18 months in the Korengal Valley, in 2007-2008, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger reported from the frontline several times. They created a documentary called Restrepo. Much of the combat of Battle Company took place in an outpost called Restrepo. “Restrepo” is a name of a doctor who was killed in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. Restrepo documents a combat that took place in one of the deadliest regions in Afghanistan.

Restrepo is a chronicle of the days in Restrepo outpost where troops take aerial view of Korengal Valley, sit in the bunkers waiting and run into skirmishes. Restrepo shows young but heavily armed soldiers crammed in the trenches, infected with flees and bugs, in the mountains in the Korengal Valley. When the documentary was shot, 150 soldiers were already fighting the fifth battle. By the end of Restrepo many soldiers are dead or wounded, survivors are packing and many soldiers are on the brink of mental collapse.

Sebastian Junger along with Tim Hetherington directed Restrepo. Restrepo was nominated in the Academy Awards in 2010, for the Best Documentary Feature and won the Grand Jury Prize in the Sundance Film Festival in 2010.

After Restrepo, Junger and Hetherington were planning to go to Libya. However, at the last hour Junger dropped. In March 2011, Junger received the news of the death of his friend Hetherington. Junger made a documentary “Which Way Is the Front Line? The Life and Times of Tim Hetherington.

Hetherington was a British photojournalist who also contributed to Vanity Fair magazine. He worked in war zones in East Africa, Middle East and Afghanistan and was killed in Libya by Islamic terrorists.

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