Thank You for Your Service
By David Finkel
(Sarah Crichton Books, Hardcover, 9780374180669, 272pp.)
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
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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
David Finkel is the author of The Good Soldiers, the bestselling, critically acclaimed account of the U.S. “surge” during the Iraq war and a New York Times Best Book of the Year.
An editor and writer for The Washington Post, Finkel has reported from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, and across the United States, and has covered wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Among Finkel’s honors are a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 2012. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.
AMAZON 2013 BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
Praise for Thank You for Your Service
“This is not—nor should it be—an easy book. But it is an essential one.” —Elizabeth D. Samet, The New York Times Book Review“Embedded with the veterans, their families, their friends, and their counselors, Finkel lights up the lives of these struggling souls, who often compound their real problems by convincing themselves they’re ‘weak’ for ‘abandoning’ their buddies and seeking treatment… Vivid, compelling, heartrending.” —Jeff Stein, Bookforum
“Together with its masterful prequel The Good Soldiers, [Thank You for Your Service] measures the wages of the war in Iraq—the wages of war, period—as well as anything I’ve read . . . [Finkel] atones for our scant attention by paying meticulous heed.” —Frank Bruni, The New York Times
“I’m urging everyone I know to give Thank You for Your Service just a few pages, a few minutes out of their busy lives. The families honored in this urgent, important book will take it from there.” —Katherine Boo, National Book Award–winning author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers
“Thank You for Your Service is one of the best and truest books I have ever read. David Finkel cuts through all the spin, the excuses, the blowhard politics and mind-deadening metrics to discover the cost of war for the soldiers who fight it and the families they come home to. This extraordinary book will piss you off and break your heart. It will shame you and lift you up. It will bend your mind to the reality of an American war that is now well into its second decade.” —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and finalist for the National Book Award
“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 . . . 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.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In a series of interconnected stories, Finkel follows a handful of soldiers and their spouses through the painful, sometimes-fatal process of reintegration into American society. The author gives a clear-eyed, frightening portrayal of precisely what it is like to suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury and what it is like to have the specter of suicide whispering into your ear every day.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Praise for The Good Soldiers
“Finkel has made art out of a defining moment in history.” —Doug Stanton, The New York Times Book Review
“The Good Soldiers by David Finkel is the most honest, most painful, and most brilliantly rendered account of modern war I’ve ever read.” —Daniel Okrent, Fortune