Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Review: The Heart of War: Misadventures in the Pentagon by Kathleen J. McInnis

Title: The Heart of War: Misadventures in the Pentagon
Author: Kathleen J. McInnis
Format: ARC
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Publish Date: September 25, 2018 (Today!)
Source: PR

What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Dr. Heather Reilly has been an anti-war activist since her brother died fighting the Taliban. But her crushing student loans drive her to take a job working on a peace plan for Afghanistan, in the last place on Earth she ever thought she'd be employed: the Pentagon. On her first day, however, her position is eliminated and she’s shuffled to a war-fighting office focused on combating Russian aggression. Unfortunately, she knows little about Russia and has deep moral reservations about war. Making matters worse, she’s also working for Ariane Fletcher—a woman so terrifying, she eats generals for breakfast. As Heather learns to navigate the Pentagon’s insane bureaucracy and petty power struggles, she finds that her successes come at the expense of her personal life... and that small mistakes can have major consequences in the Department of Defense.

From Washington D.C.'s corridors of power to the dusty streets of Kabul, Kathleen McInnis spins a smart, hilarious, and heartwarming tale that shines a light on the often frustrating but sometimes rewarding experience of a career in the Pentagon.  Packed with insider knowledge about one of the least-known—yet most-powerful—organizations in U.S. national security, McInnis' debut novel establishes her as a major new literary voice with a point of view we've never seen before."

My Two Cents:

In "The Heart of War," Heather gets a plum job at the Pentagon. It isn't exactly what she wants and she worries a little bit about compromising her values but it will pay the bills and so she tries to make the best of it. She quickly finds herself swept up in many directions that she could have never anticipated and she will learn a lot about herself through her adventures and many misadventures. This book started out a bit slow but hits a really nice pace and captures the trials and triumph of a life in public service.

This book is near and dear to me as it echoes some of my own experiences (I don't work at the Pentagon but am familiar with the bureaucratic rigmarole. I thought that the author did a really good job of capturing the day to day. I do wonder how interesting that might be for people outside the bureaucratic hamster wheel and how well it will be understood but the author definitely captures it true to life.

The book really picks up as Heather's life begins to take all sorts of directions she never expected and when she begins to do work that she finds both meaningful and maybe uncomfortable. I thought that the author did a really good job of capturing that inner struggle and shedding a lot of light on what makes Heather tick. Not only do we get to see Heather at work but the book also has a heavy dose of her personal life and the way that it is changed by her work at the Pentagon.

This book would be perfect for anyone looking for some political drama with a likeable character in difficult circumstances! I enjoyed it!



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