The Free Library of Philadelphia's One Book, One Philadelphia selection for 2014 is The Yellow Birds, written by Kevin Powers, an Iraq War veteran. He says he didn't set out to write a sweeping epic about the war, but rather tried to create a complete picture of the psychological, emotional, and physical experience the war has on 21-year-old Private Bartle.
Powers, who also writes poetry, says he wanted to express the difficulty of not only being in combat, but also coming home, where the danger is of a different variety...but no less threatening.
He says his novel is about desperately wanting to do good, but feeling as if you’ve failed and then overcoming that. Through Bartle, his friend and fellow soldier Private Murphy, and their protector Sergeant Sterling he asks essential questions about what makes us human beings.