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From a MacArthur Fellow and the author of The Good Soldiers, a profound look at life after war
No journalist has reckoned with the psychology of war as intimately as David Finkel. In The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel shadowed the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion as they carried out the infamous surge, a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed all of them forever. Now Finkel has followed many of those same men as they’ve returned home and struggled to reintegrate - both into their family lives and into American society at large.
In the ironically named Thank You for Your Service, Finkel writes with tremendous compassion not just about the soldiers but about their wives and children. Where do soldiers belong after their homecoming? Is it possible, or even reasonable, to expect them to rejoin their communities as if nothing has happened? And in moments of hardship, who are soldiers expected to turn to if they feel alienated by the world they once lived in? These are the questions Finkel faces as he revisits the brave but shaken men of the 2-16.
More than a work of journalism, Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding - shocking but always riveting, unflinching but deeply humane, it takes us inside the heads of those who must live the rest of their lives with the chilling realities of war.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Scott on 01-03-14
Would you consider the audio edition of Thank You for Your Service to be better than the print version?
Haven't read the print version.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
Not every book is a pleasant read but some are important reads and this certainly fits that category. The narrative follows a handful of servicemen who served in the Iraq war and their families. Their stories are interconnected by time, place, and experiences with a tragic incident in the Iraq war as the unifier. The book illustrates both the obvious and hidden costs to those who served - loss of comrades, survivors guilt, physical injury, PTSD, an uncertain post war life, families who can't quite be what the soldiers need them to be, despite their best efforts. What is both tragic and compelling is that the reader - like the servicemen and their families - can never quite be certain what the outcome for each person would be but that is the point.
What about Arthur Bishop’s performance did you like?
Very good. Far from a dry performance, the listener feels as though he is hearing firsthand the subjects speaking to him.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
How a comment made to a soldier meant to be a compliment was interpreted as a criticism that eventually leads to a multitude of problems and guilt for that soldier. Tragic.
Any additional comments?
For anyone who wants to better understand what it means to return home and move on from war, this is probably as close as a non combatant will ever get to it. Thank you for your service and just as importantly, thank you for your sacrifice.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By James Guidry on 11-07-17
The narration of the book was great, it really brought the feelings across. From a veteran that has seen his share of horrors this is a great look at what our men & women are going threw on a daily basis. What we will live with for the rest of our lives, and that little piece of hope, hope that one day soon we will all be normal again.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful