It was one small hilltop in a small, unnamed war in the late 1990s, but it would send out ripples still felt worldwide today. The hill, in Lebanon, was called the Pumpkin; ‘flowers’ was the military code word for casualties. Award-winning writer Matti Friedman re-creates the harrowing, otherworldly experiences of a band of young men, plucked by conscription from westernised boyhoods, and charged with holding this remote outpost - a pointless task that changed them forever and foreshadowed the unwinnable conflicts the United States would soon confront in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Part memoir, part reportage, part elegy for lost youth, this powerful narrative captures the birth of today’s chaotic Middle East and the rise of a 21st century type of war in which there is never a clear victor, and innocence is not the only casualty.
Raw and beautifully rendered, Pumpkin flowers will take its place among classic war narratives by George Orwell, Philip Caputo, Vasily Grossman and Micahel Herr. It is an unflinching look at the way we conduct war today
About the Author
Matti Friedman's work as a reporter has taken him from Lebanon to Morocco, Cairo, Moscow and Washington, D.C., and to conflicts in Israel and the Caucasus. He has been a correspondent for the Associated Press, where he specialized in religion and archaeology in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and for the Jerusalem Report, and currently writes for the Times of Israel. He grew up in Toronto and lives in Jerusalem.
The Aleppo Codex , his first book, was published in May 2012 by Algonquin Books.
Editions have been published or are pending in Israel, Australia, Holland, France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Korea.
‘Throughout, the author grapples with questions regarding both Israeli aggression and the nature of the state's survival. In a chilling final section, he chronicles his travels as a Canadian tourist to his former combat zone in Lebanon, encountering friendly residents in thrall to Hezbollah and seething with anti-Semitism. A haunting yet wry tale of young people at war, cursed by political forces beyond their control, that can stand alongside the best narrative nonfiction coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq.’ Kirkus Review