The Chords of War – a Review

What would inspire you to join the military in a time of war? Would anything?

The Chords of War opens on 9/11, the same date that the Twin Towers were bombed. Max was ready to do away with himself because everything he held precious in his life had gone down the tubes. His band, the band he had started—the Mad Suburbans—kicked him out, and that wasn’t the only bad thing that happened that day. He was also thrown out of the room he is renting.

Instead of killing himself, he decides to join the Army. He figured that being a member of the military would teach him who he was and build his character. The Army turned out to be worse than he expected yet better than he expected. There, he found some true friends.

Music was a huge part of Max’s life. When his iPod slipped out of his hands and fell down into the dark and stinky depths of a portable toilet—what would life be like in this unimaginable heat without his music?—he discovered that others were willing to help him out and that there were those who truly cared about him.

PTSD, flickr

One day, a fellow soldier mistakenly fired on a car full of civilians that backfired, making him think they are in danger It was an accident, yes, but it also demonstrates how jumpy a person can be when surrounded by people who want to kill you.

Seeing a comrade blown to bits right in front of your eyes definitely wouldn’t help that uneasiness any. How could a person be a person and then so quickly not? Is it any wonder that many vets return home with PTSD?

Music and friends help take such events off his mind a little, but those and other horrific experiences showed that they were fighting an enemy that didn’t wear uniforms, one that didn’t fight fair or care how many people were killed.

Rather than reading like a dull history textbook, The Chords of War gives one an up-close and personal look at what the men and women who fought in Iraq experienced from the eyes of one who was there. It shows how their strong friendships and the distraction of music helped them to escape for just a short time the horrors they saw each day.

I was sent an advance reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you would like your own copy of The Chords of War, I’ve provided an Amazon link below.

Amazon Link: The Chords of War

Recommended Articles:
Vietnam and Iraq – Guest Post by Christopher Meeks
Blood Drama – a Review
A Death in Vegas – a Review
The Middle-Aged Man & the Sea – a Review

open up to imagination,

Favorite Sentences:
The sentences below were taken from an advance reader’s copy of the book. They may or may not appear differently in the final version.

This war, this meat grinder, devoured young soldiers by the day.

How the hell had I ever thought war might be exciting and character-shaping?

Yet not far from the fields, sections of road blew up all the time the way popcorn did when meeting hot oil.

Why couldn’t people around the world just get into the music, any music, and forget people’s differences?

New Words Learned:
berm – In fortification, a horizontal surface between the exterior slope of a rampart and the moat.

camel spider – Instead of defining what a camel spider is, I’ve provided a link to an informative article about camel spiders, and below that, a video to watch.

15 Arachnophobic Facts About Camel Spiders

medevac – a helicopter for evacuating the wounded from a battlefield. I pride myself on being an excellent speller, but I thought this word was spelled “medivac.” That is my own fault since I never bothered to take the time and look the word up in a dictionary.

pawl – a pivoted bar adapted to engage with the teeth of a ratchet wheel or the like so as to prevent movement or to impart motion

About the Authors:
Christopher Meeks has had stories published in several literary journals, and he has two collections of stories, Months and Seasons and The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea. His novel The Brightest Moon of the Century made the list of three book critics’ Ten Best Books of 2009. His novel Love at Absolute Zero, also made three Best Books lists of 2011, as well as earning a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Finalist award.

His two crime novels, Blood Drama and A Death in Vegas have earned much praise.

Check out his website at Follow him on Facebook at or He is also on Twitter at

Samuel Gonzalez Jr. is an Emmy-nominated and award-winning filmmaker who was born in the Bronx and raised in South Florida. He joined the United States Army in 2006 and was quickly deployed overseas during the height of the Iraq War as a military police officer. While there, in response to the stop-loss, he formed a punk rock band at Camp Warhorse, who then played several shows that raised morale for their fellow soldiers during the time of the surge.

In 2007, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for combat heroism. Since his return to the States, Gonzalez has received his B.F.A in Film from the prestigious Art Center College of Design and his Master’s Degree in Screenwriting from the New York Film Academy.

His feature film directorial debut Railway Spine, a coming-of-age period war and crime drama about the real psychological disease that is PTSD, won the Golden Eagle Award for “Best Military Film” at the 2016 San Diego International Film Festival and several other awards including “Best Screenplay”. He lives in Los Angeles where he is currently in development on The Chords of War as an eight-part television mini-series. To see more of his work, visit alezjr.


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