By Major Paul Smyth
Front Line Bloggers and the Helmand Blog (now combined as UK Forces Afghanistan) were set up by the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) to allow British armed forces personnel to tell the public back home what they were doing there, in their own words.
Personnel of all ranks from all three services, representing a wide variety of trades - infantry, signals, logistics, aviation, medical - as well as civilians, contributed their thoughts and experiences on everything from what it's like to take on the Taliban in a firefight to the challenges of trying to cook a meal at a patrol base.
Taking the six-month deployment of Operation Herrick 11, the codename for the British campaign, as illustrative of British involvement in Helmand, these personal accounts give a picture of the conflict at ground level, the details of daily life that usually do not make the news, as well as individuals' perspectives on major events. With the conflict in Afghanistan in the public eye almost constantly, this is a timely book that tells the real story of what it's like for those men and women serving their country in a far-away land.