The Gift of Valor

  • by Michael M. Phillips
  • Narrated by John Bedford Lloyd
  • 4 hrs and 1 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Every day ordinary young Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq, with the same bravery, honor, and sense of duty that have distinguished American troops throughout history. One of these is Jason Dunham, a 22-year-old Marine corporal from the one-stoplight town of Scio, New York, whose stunning story reporter Michael M. Phillips discovered while he was embedded with a Marine infantry battalion in the Iraqi desert. Corporal Dunham was on patrol near the Syrian border on April 14, 2004, when a black-clad Iraqi leaped out of a car and grabbed him around his neck. Fighting hand-to-hand in the dirt, Dunham saw his attacker drop a grenade and made the instantaneous decision to place his own helmet over the explosive in the hope of containing the blast and protecting his men. When the smoke cleared, Dunham's helmet was in shreds, and the corporal lay face down in his own blood. The Marines beside him were seriously wounded. Dunham was subsequently nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor.
Phillips's minute-by-minute chronicle of the chaotic fighting that raged throughout the area and culminated in Dunham's injury provides a grunt's-eye view of war as it's being fought today; fear, confusion, bravery, and suffering set against a brotherhood forged in combat. His account of Dunham's eight-day journey home and of his parents' heartrending reunion with their son powerfully illustrates the cold brutality of war and the fragile humanity of those who fight it. Dunham leaves an indelible mark upon all who know his story, from the doctors and nurses who treat him, to the readers of the original Wall Street Journal article that told of his singular act of valor.


What the Critics Say

"Phillips' nearly shot-by-shot recap of the day's bloody and chaotic combat is one of the most vivid depictions of the American side of the Iraqi insurgency." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very Moving

In my opinion this is an award winner. It is a heroic story, well written and very moving. This book made me think of the sacrafices being made every day by the young people of todays Military. Its a tear jerker and easly becomes a movie in your mind when listening to it. If you download this, put some time away for yourself because you wont be able to stop listening.
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- Mark

True Heroism, Above and Beyond

This is the story of an American kid who gets it in his mind to join the Marines and test his own mettle. From there, he becomes a true hero and achieves honor, recognition and standing among his peers, themselves members of an elite. Issues of the politics of the war aside, this is an incredibly moving account of men at war. We see Corporal Dunham exhibiting a model of personal leadership that is distinct from the brute force command style championed by a rival in his platoon. Dunham leads along side his men, earning their trust and affection to the point that his men *wanted* to do what he instructed them to do. Dunham was such a sacrificial leader that when an enemy grenade threatened the safety of his men, he took the blow himself and saved their lives. This story was not only fascinating, but inspiring and moving. I found myself choking back tears at several points in the story. Powerfully written, deeply detailed, and striking to the core. Maybe the finest personal war story that I've read. Semper Fi and rest in peace, Cpl. Jason Dunham.
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- Kevin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-27-2005
  • Publisher: Random House Audio