Sunrise Over Fallujah books –

A powerful new novel about the heroics and horror of war from Walter Dean Myers, whose bestselling book FALLEN ANGELS celebrates its 20th anniversary.Operation Iraqi Freedom, that s the code name But the young men and women in the military s Civil Affairs Battalion have a simpler name for it WAR.In this new novel, Walter Dean Myers looks at a contemporary war with the same power and searing insight he brought to the Vietnam war of his classic, FALLEN ANGELS He creates memorable characters like the book s narrator, Birdy, a young recruit from Harlem who s questioning why he even enlisted Marla, a blond, tough talking, wisecracking gunner Jonesy, a guitar playing bluesman who just wants to make it back to Georgia and open a club

10 thoughts on “Sunrise Over Fallujah

  1. Aaron Aaron says:

    Myers has introduced the realities of war with a book that could be considered a sequel or companion to his popular novel, Fallen Angels, which presented the story of one soldier s service during the Vietnam Conflict Instead, this newer work brings readers to Operation Iraqi feeling along with Robin aka Birdy , an African American who was influenced by his reaction to 9 11 to surpass college for now and join the Army.As he arrives in Kuwait just prior to the American invasion, Birdy has been assigned to a Civil Affairs unit, which is assigned with trying to win over the hearts of the soon to be liberated Iraqis While this means he and his companions are not on the front lines, they still find themselves in a number of very dangerous situations as they talk to be people after civilians are mistakenly killed, work with Iraqis to rebuild damaged infrastructure, and try to provide a positive image for Americans.Birdy s role as narrator allows readers to experience the challenging mixture of excitement, patriotism, naivite, and horror as they become enmesshed in the difficult actions and sights they experience during battles and in between In fact, Birdy is shocked by the fact that he probably has killed people, but the fact that his weapon shoots at such a distance protects him from the reality until he ends up shooting an enemy combatent at close range In the process, his youthful innocences evolves in to a darkened adult hood that we hear so many of our soldiers now experiencing.Myers has created a novel that highlights the issues of both going to war and what happened during the fighting while still staying a bit objective, allowing the reader to make his own opinions He is able to do that because of Birdy s perspective as an 18 year old young man who believes what he is doing, at least at the start.The only flaw I really see in this novel is I found myself really wanting an Author s Note at the end of the work to explain why Myers made certain choices when including historical events and designing characters It is also difficult to tell which characters are real historical figures versus characters created to push forward the story Even with that, this book is an extremely moving and interesting tale that will keep the readers engaged, particularly male readers I know I have a lot of teen guy readers who eat up Vietnam novels, and I think this will fill a niche and bring the tale closer to something they know about.

  2. Philip Philip says:

    There s a blurb in the front of this book that I really agreed with Given the paucity of works on this war, this is an important volume, covering much ground and offering much insight Kirkus Review, starred review.That s the biggest reason I bought it and put it on my goodreads shelf, my physical shelf, and my student shelf I ve kept it pretty high on my to read list, but there are just so many books out there.There are a lot of war books out there both for YA readers, and readers in general A LOT of European Theater WWII books A lot of Holocaust books But there aren t a lot of high quality Iraq books Vietnam books WWII Pacific Theater books.There are also not nearly enough non racial YA black books out there There are plenty of books where a black protagonist is dealing with the effects of Jim Crow, or escaping slavery, or being the first baseball player, basketball team Etc And there is an honored place for those books, but if the opportunity cost is displacing stories where people of color are dealing with conflicts other than those of color, we have a problem If we re only reading stories of one type of experience by a collective group, it pigeonholes the group into that experience.So the book gets double bonus points an under represented war, an under represented protagonist.Going into this, I didn t realize that Walter Dean Myers was black And I didn t realize that the protagonist was, either I read him as white for a good portion of the book I had actually conflated Myers with Roland Smith, probably because of the book Elephant Run Like a good author, Myers wasn t overly descriptive in dealing with the physical appearance of his characters, but he left pointed clues here and there For instance, when Birdie was frisking some Iraqis, I didn t like searching people I had been stopped on 136th Street once, just outside the Countee Cullen Library, but two plainclothes cops who had searched me I knew what it felt like Embarassed that I had to stand there with my hands in the air while strangers patted me down and went through my pockets, humiliated because they were assuming power over me and I couldn t do a thing about it There s quite a bit that ties in with my 7th grade social studies class Maybe than other books I ve thought about reading.We study The Middle East modern and ancient Mesopotamia gets brought up here Ziggurats 9 11 It s interesting how the book hints at WMDs, and 9 11 being not pretense but part of the conversation The Tigris and Euphrates Modern political conflicts Democracies and dictatorships.I ve almost convinced myself to get a classroom set with that last paragraph.

  3. Josiah Josiah says:

    It s hard to be brave when you can stumble across a world of hurt around any corner Sunrise Over Fallujah, P 125 This book really is tremendously impactful, and the story has reverberated in my mind long after I turned the final page The war action did not seem as intense as in its predecessor Fallen Angels, but all in all I thought that Sunrise Over Fallujah was a better story It also taught me a great deal about the ins and outs of what is happening to our soldiers over there on the streets of Iraq In many ways, I would say that Sunrise Over Fallujah is vintage Walter Dean Myers A fast paced, fast moving story with unexpected pockets of emotional resonance to really bring the events home hard Spectacular Maybe you have to be a hero type to deal with the bigger things that happen to you At least you have to be bigger than life to fit all the things inside you that you didn t know you could absorb before Robin Perry, Sunrise Over Fallujah, P 280

  4. Carolyn Carolyn says:

    I really liked this.Middle school appropriate Really gets at both the camaraderie and the confusion of war Rang true to all the many adult war memoirs and stories I have read Thumbs up.

  5. Ari Ari says:

    There is little camaraderie in this novel Birdy talks about the members of his battalion but I never got the impression that he was that chummy with anyone, except Jonesy Jonesy was a well developed character but everyone else mentioned Captain Miller, Major Sessions, Ahmed, Marla remained one dimensional I wanted interaction between characters and to get a grasp for their personalities They all remained very closed off and I don t think everyone in the army is tight lipped, there has to be than one fun loving Blues man like Jonesy in a battalion It was also really hard keeping everyone s rank straight but that s not the author s fault, it s my own slow brain The story did seem a bit predictable to me concerning the death of a character, obviously a character is going to die and I thought who it was going to be was clear I also didn t like the one sided letters Birdy told us what his mom said in emails but we only read his letters I think it would have been interesting to read his uncle s responses to his letters, especially as a war veteran Further I wanted to know about his father who was against Birdy entering the army This is odd because it s a novel about war but I found it dull at parts which was unfortunate The story is exciting though even when no action is occurring It s exciting and saddening to read Birdy s thoughts on war, exciting because he never really THOUGHT about what being in a war meant so it s nice to see him try and sort out his many different feelings but it s sad because it s WAR Birdy asks good questions When I was a kid, maybe eight or nine I wondered why God mad the insides of people Why not just make solid people that could do the same things we did instead of all the little parts, veins, arteries, hearts and things that could go so wrong Why didn t God just keep it simple pg 117 , ones that I don t believe answers exist The author does an excellent job of explaining what was going on in the early, tumultuous days of the Iraq War through the ideas of CA soldiers well I think it s accurate but I wasn t there This is vital for teen readers because most of us are too young to understand and remember the beginning of the United States invasion of Iraq Sunrise Over Fallujah offers look at a war that has only recently ended and some may argue is still going on in a thoughtful, intriguing manner The author remains satisfyingly neutral, simply reporting the facts, representing various perspectives through the group of soldiers we briefly meet The only message the author has is that soldiers are courageous and deserve the utmost respect which no one would argue against I also appreciated that the author shows how quick the enemy can change, it s not always obvious who what is the enemy as much as the two sides going to war want to make it seem clear cut The story didn t always hold my interest, especially at the beginning and the ending wasn t that great either but the middle kept a steady pace that held my attention I would have liked well I don t think I could like a book about war to better understand the backgrounds and motives of the characters, even the main character was a mystery which isn t interesting Overall I just had a meh reaction to this book and it s hard for me to explain why, and for that I apologize.

  6. Ethan Benson Ethan Benson says:

    Many novels seem to describe war and its effects on those who participate in the exact same way, by showing that war is simply bloody and brutal, while not actually giving any thought to how it changes people over the course of the story Then there are those that offer insight to the emotions and thoughts of the participants themselves, often evolving throughout Sunrise over Fallujah, for the most part, falls into the latter category This novel is considered to be the tie in and companion, if not a sequel, to Walter Dean Myer s Fallen Angels Despite this, Sunrise over Fallujah distances itself from that novel in the sense that it takes place in a very different war.Robin Perry is a young man from Harlem who, after the events of September 11th, 2001, enlists in the United States Army Robin, who is soon dubbed Birdy by his fellow soldiers, finds himself in Iraq during the events of of Operation Iraqi Freedom The story starts off innocently, as Robin is assigned to a civil affairs unit, not a front line unit that will participate actively in combat It is soon revealed that simply helping civilians is not as simple as one would guess The conflict soon reaches Robin s unit and they end up seeing a fair amount it.The novel shows a fair amount of evolution in the protagonist over the course of the story, which proves to be an admirable quality that most readers would enjoy Robin arrives in Iraq, overly curious as to what war is really like This curiosity could have been created by his uncle s own tour of duty decades earlier in Vietnam, which provided the basis of the plot in Fallen Angels The evolution of Robin is showed by the numerous letters within the story that he wrote to various family members After a period of time, curiosity is replaced sheer terror while knowing that, in war, no one is truly safe As a whole, Sunrise over Fallujah proved to be an interesting read The story did combine moments of boredom of boredom with those of conflict and violence, as Robin is involved in numerous fights, all seemingly unexpected The story shows how war can both create and destroy relationships A few likeable characters were also introduced along the way, such as Jonesy, the strange blues musician turned soldier Apart from the few main characters, the rest seem to lack the evolution of other characters, such as the protagonist It seems almost as some people were completely unchanged by their own experiences Overall, Sunrise over Fallujah is relatively enjoyable, despite its shortcomings.

  7. Sandy Sandy says:

    Robin Birdy Perry feels compelled to leave Harlem, forego college, and join the Army in the aftermath of 9 11 He does just that without his father s support In Sunrise over Fallujah, the 2008 young adult novel by acclaim writer Walter Dean Myers, Birdy finds himself in Iraq and attached to a Civil Affairs unit, a group of soldiers assigned the dubious honor of testing the waters in various hearts and mind situations with local Iraqis conceived by higher ups who say they are intent on establishing peace and building democracy Birdy soon learns the people he can trust are the men and women soldiering right alongside them Beyond this small group, nothing s for sure.Because soliders who participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom had not only to defeat an enemy but also to build relationships with locals whose loyalties might by lie with the old regime or with some other religious faction or with some other tribe, knowing where to point the gun and when to soot becomes a nightmarish challenge The Rules of Engagement change from day to day Nothing is clear Nobody can be trusted Everyone has an agenda And some lies are very convincing.Myers s novel takes the reader on a journey through the desert, the streets of Baghdad, and other parts of Iraq that are as mysterious as they are ancient and sometimes incomprehensible to the young man from Harlem and his friends a tough gunner who bounced around in foster care, a wannabe blues musician, a dad in uniform Moving forward from day to day with limited information to do job after job on which depends the future of a war ravaged country about as unlike the US as a country could be turns Birdy and his friends into adults who understand the power and eloquence of silence to speak for the soul from that place deep down where words have no place.As I turned the pages of this novel about teenagers at war, I found myself muttering, No way, no way, no way because I liked the kids in this story I could see the students in my classroom becoming these soldiers and hopefully knowing before it s too late that life is about the person alongside you and the only moment you have is right now.

  8. Lon Lon says:

    I read this book for two reasons First, Meyers is an influential Young Adult author, and I wanted to know if and how to recommend this book to any of my middle school students interested in war Second, I admit that, after 8 years and counting of military involvement in Iraq, it s all too easy to allow the societal, moral, and political ramifications of the war recede in my consciousness The novel helps humanize the issues and evokes in me of an emotional response than I get from the periodic news updates.No novel can possess all virtues, since some are mutually exclusive This novel trades the intimacy of being in a character s head for the objectivity of seeing everything around that character without any authorial intrusions The author kind of straps up a video camera to the head of the 1st person narrator That point of view character doesn t ever let us see himself, though Like viewing a family photo album in which we never see the dad, because he s holding the camera Ironically, this main character is the person we end up knowing the least and caring about the least If the protagonist experiences a change across the novel, it s very understated maybe a loss of innocence The up shot is that there wasn t much editorializing or sentimentality, just a panoramic view of a military detachment s experiences.No attempt is made to glamorize war This is not a jingoistic treatment Nor does the author seem to have an agenda in delegitimizing the war, either It seems like a pretty even handed perspective No one is demonized in the book, neither Americans nor Iraqis, and the author tries to show the multi layered complexities of the situation The author lost a brother in Vietnam, where he himself also served, so when a character dies in this story, there s an interesting blend of reverence for the sacrifice, but also questioning the premises upon which the rationale for the war is founded, as well as existential questions Overall, not a heavy book, but Meyers gives the subject the gravitas it deserves.

  9. Kasey Kasey says:

    I m not going to lie to you, fellow reader, I struggled through this book The language is in no way elevated, the plot is not at all complicated, and yet, I struggled I had such a hard time reading this book, especially towards the end Myers is writing through an adolescent voice, and I wonder if that is why the writing is so adolescent I also wonder how this book would have been if Myers had focused on just a few tragic events instead of SO MANY The book was so fast paced, and the hits just kept coming, there was no time to recover, no time to connect to the characters in times of peace Too many things happened in this book, that I honestly can t remember what happened I know the general idea a young man from Harlem joined the army and went to Iraq as part of mission Iraqi Freedom Beyond that general idea, I can t name any of the finer plot points I think that if Myers had spent time on certain scenes in the book, I would have been able to connect better to the characters, and I would have better understood what was going on in the book I enjoyed Myers writing style, and would have loved if the tragic scenes were further expanded on so that I could been further exposed to his writing style I really wish I had to say about this book I went into this book wanting so desperately to like it, I ve been meaning to read this one for years Unfortunately, I was completely underwhelmed by this book I did everything I could to avoid reading it, and I actually skimmed the last 30 pages If you haven t read this book, proceed with caution.

  10. Sara Sara says:

    For some reason, Myers chose not to have someone edit this book, and that offends me There are direct contradictions in action and thought within single paragraphs, not to mention descriptions, explanations, and dialogue that are repeated within just a few pages of each other It s sloppy writing and nonexistant editing, and for someone who wrote something as good as Monster, it s inexcusable There are good things about the book The main character and his unit are alternately funny, terrifying, and sad The story points out the hypocrisy and willing naivete that accompanies American involvement not only in the Middle East, but in all other countries The Iraquis are shown in a multi focal, well rounded way that in no way insults their culture or integrity The American military personnel are shown as human beings instead of robots There s a soccer game between some of the soldiers and a group of Iraqui village boys that is so well written, it can make you laugh and groan from irony at the same time.On the other hand, there s a lot of meaningless intermediary waffling, then no real ending to the book Myers sets up a situation between the main character and his father that is never resolved The unit completes a poorly described, confusing undercover assignment, then are split up and reassigned for no apparent reason And that s the end It s OK in a way, though, because there was no plot or narrative structure to begin with.