Ghosts of War
Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI
Ghosts of War
Ryan Smithson
In this extraordinary and harrowing memoir, follow one GI’s tour of duty as Ryan Smithson brings readers inside a world that few understand. This is no ordinary teenager’s story. Instead of opting for college life, Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer.His story—and the stories of thousands of other soldiers—is nothing like what you see on CNN or read about in the New York Times. This unforgettable story about combat, friendship, fear, and a soldier’s commitment to his country peels back the curtain on the realities of war in a story all Americans should read.

Book Details


  • Historical Nonfiction
  • Nonfiction

Age Level: 

  • 12 and up
Profile Picture

Ryan Smithson was impacted by the event of 911. He was impacted so much that he joined the Army Reserve at seventeen years old. "If I don't do something, who will?" was his belief. Basic training is a time when the fresh recruits go through a process that Ryan describes in three phases: the red phase, then the white phase, and lastly the blue phase. The Army tears recruits down, builds them up, and tears them down again to transform them into strong people. When Ryan turned nineteen, he was deployed to Iraq.

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