Every year around this time I find a book on Canadian military history to read and help me reflect. This year I got Christie Blatchford's Fifteen Days. It did not disappoint. Blatchford spent a few months embedded in ROTO 1 and 2 in 2006.
Each chapter is a different day that she found significant, usually a death. But she goes forward and backward, from Canada to Afghanistan to set each soldier's death in context. The reader gets to know them, their platoon mates and their families all much better than a dry recitation of the event would allow. During the course of this narrative she paints a better picture of the mission in Kandahar and what our soldiers were succeeding at, something that the press was always slow to report at the time.
Many chapters were very moving but she saved the best for last as she describes the veterans of Task Force Orion being sent across the country in the fall of 2006 to Remembrance Day ceremonies in all the communities their fallen are buried in, allowing them to grieve some more and meet with the families to help both heal.
Every wargame project I start, I always try to read some social background too in order to give some life to my metal figures. This book didn't disappoint in that regard, as well as filling in some other details, like TF Orion's fighting in Helmand province and the use of Bisons as ambulances (no red cross, it would attract RPG fire).
Her writing is very good and you can feel her emotional connection in every line. Highly recommended.