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Thank You for Your Service
Cover of Thank You for Your Service
Thank You for Your Service

From a MacArthur Fellow and the author of The Good Soldiers, a profound look at life after war

The wars of the past decade have been covered by brave and talented reporters, but none has reckoned with the psychology of these wars as intimately as the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel. For The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel embedded with the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the infamous "surge," a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed them all forever. In Finkel's hands, readers can feel what these young men were experiencing, and his harrowing story instantly became a classic in the literature of modern war.

In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel has done something even more extraordinary. Once again, he has embedded with some of the men of the 2-16—but this time he has done it at home, here in the States, after their deployments have ended. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like—not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done.

The story Finkel tells is mesmerizing, impossible to put down. With his unparalleled ability to report a story, he climbs into the hearts and minds of those he writes about. Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding, and it offers a more complete picture than we have ever had of these two essential questions: When we ask young men and women to go to war, what are we asking of them? And when they return, what are we thanking them for?

One of Publishers Weekly's Best Nonfiction Books of 2013

One of The Washington Post's Top 10 Books of the Year

A New York Times Notable Book of 2013

An NPR Best Book of 2013

A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2013

From a MacArthur Fellow and the author of The Good Soldiers, a profound look at life after war

The wars of the past decade have been covered by brave and talented reporters, but none has reckoned with the psychology of these wars as intimately as the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel. For The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel embedded with the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the infamous "surge," a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed them all forever. In Finkel's hands, readers can feel what these young men were experiencing, and his harrowing story instantly became a classic in the literature of modern war.

In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel has done something even more extraordinary. Once again, he has embedded with some of the men of the 2-16—but this time he has done it at home, here in the States, after their deployments have ended. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like—not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done.

The story Finkel tells is mesmerizing, impossible to put down. With his unparalleled ability to report a story, he climbs into the hearts and minds of those he writes about. Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding, and it offers a more complete picture than we have ever had of these two essential questions: When we ask young men and women to go to war, what are we asking of them? And when they return, what are we thanking them for?

One of Publishers Weekly's Best Nonfiction Books of 2013

One of The Washington Post's Top 10 Books of the Year

A New York Times Notable Book of 2013

An NPR Best Book of 2013

A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2013

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About the Author-
  • David Finkel is the author of The Good Soldiers, listed a best book of 2009 by the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Slate.com, and The Boston Globe, and winner of the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. He is a staff writer for The Washington Post, and is also the leader of the Post's national reporting team. He won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2006 for a series of stories about U.S.-funded democracy efforts in Yemen, and the MacArthur "Genius" Grant in 2012. Finkel lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife and two daughters.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 15, 2013
    From April 2007 to April 2008, Finkel, a MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter with the Washington Post, spent a total of eight months embedded in eastern Iraq with the young infantrymen of the 2-16 as their battalion fought desperately to survive and to make Bush’s troop surge a success. In 2009’s The Good Soldiers (one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year), he chronicled their harrowing day-to-day experiences—as their trust in the Iraqi people eroded, their nerves and comrades were shot, and IED after IED exploded. In this incredibly moving sequel, Finkel reconnects with some of the men of the 2-16—now home on American soil—and brings their struggles powerfully to life. These soldiers have names and daughters and bad habits and hopes, and though they have left the war in Iraq, the Iraq War has not left them. Now the battle consists of readjusting to civilian and family life, and bearing the often unbearable weight of their demons. Some have physical injuries, and all suffer from crippling PTSD. And as if navigating their own mental and emotional labyrinths weren’t enough of a challenge, they must also make sense of the Dickensian bureaucracy that is the Department of Veterans Affairs. Told in crisp, unsentimental prose and supplemented with excerpts from soldiers’ diaries, medical reports, e-mails, and text messages, their stories give new meaning to the costs of service—and to giving thanks. Photos. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from February 15, 2014

    After being embedded with the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the intense surge campaign in Baghdad, Finkel produced The Good Soldiers. That critically acclaimed tale of the war in Iraq took readers into the soldiers' painful struggle to survive. Here, he follows up, staying close to the soldiers after their deployments end. In American homes and clinics, these veterans, their families, and their caregivers deal with the war's aftermath of PTSD, brain injuries, emotional shrapnel, and, in the midst of all this, spare moments of hope. Finkel's plain-spoken clarity is ably voiced by narrator Arthur Bishop. A story so moving, and so vital, has no need of pyrotechnics. VERDICT Highly recommended for all listeners.--Kelly Sinclair, Temple P.L., TX

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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