On September 9, 2010, while embedded with an Army unit and talking with locals in a small village in eastern Afghanistan, journalist Carmen Gentile was struck in the face by a rocket-propelled grenade. Inexplicably, the grenade did not explode and Gentile survived, albeit with the right side of his face shattered and blinded in one eye. Making matters worse, his engagement was on the ropes and his fiancée absent from his bedside.
Blindsided by the Taliban chronicles the author’s numerous missteps and shortcomings while coming to terms with injury and a lost love. Inventive and unprecedented surgeries would ultimately save Gentile’s face and eyesight, but the depression and trauma that followed his physical and emotional injuries proved a much harder recovery. Ultimately, Gentile would find that returning to the front lines and continuing the work he loved was the only way to become whole again.
Gentile recounts the physical and mental recovery which included a month of staring only at the ground on doctors’ orders, a battle with opiate-induced constipation and a history of drug addiction, night terrors born of post-traumatic stress, the Jedi-like powers of General David Petraeus, and finding normalcy under falling mortars in an Afghan valley. The result is an unapologetic, self-deprecating, occasionally cringeworthy, and always candid account of loss and redemption.
Blindsided by the Taliban also features the author’s photos from the field that depict the realities of life in Afghanistan for soldiers and civilians alike.#KissedbytheTaliban
SubtitleA Journalists Story of War, Trauma, Love, and Loss
AuthorBy Carmen Gentile
Published6 March 2018
Dimensions6.00 x 9.00in.
About the author
Carmen Gentile is a journalist who has written for some of the world’s leading publications, including the New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, USA Today, and many others. He has covered both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, embedding with soldiers on the front line. His work has also taken him to Nigeria, where he reported on the continuing unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta. He began his international reporting career in the late 1990s when he was based in Cairo, Egypt.
"This book is an honest portrayal of how difficult it is not only to be a freelance journalist, but to be one in a war zone. It is a must-read for those who romanticize the work, as well as those who want to be journalists."—Krishnadev Calamur, senior editor atThe Atlantic
"Blindsided by the Taliban is a genuinely gripping and intense tale of warfare, injury, and recovery seen through the eyes of a seasoned war journalist. Carmen Gentile's journey captures the human courage and resilience so essential to survival in the aftermath of modern conflict, reminiscent of Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down and Sebastian Junger's War. Blindsided by the Taliban is equal parts wrenching war drama and probing soul-searching: an incredible, captivating story of the fragile nature of humanity rarely found in war literature today." —Steve Leonard, creator of Doctrine Man
"Blindsided by the Taliban is a rollicking journey that starts with what should have been a fatal event. Instead, Gentile takes the reader along on a physical and emotional recovery from problems that actually get worse before they get better. His dysfunctional relationships, gut-wrenching descriptions of constipation and living conditions on remote combat outposts, and sexual misadventures with a parade of “friends” offering an escape, are vivid painfully honest and hilarious. He eventually finds normalcy and comfort back in Afghanistan’s war zone and realizes that he’s one of the “fortunate people.” Yet this book provides a rare look at the personal cost of delivering the news from the world’s hell holes to our living rooms."—Oren Dorell, foreign affairs and breaking news reporter at the USA Today