From ABC White House correspondent Martha Raddatz, the story of a brutal forty-eight-hour firefight that conveys in harrowing detail the effects of war not just on the soldiers but also on the families waiting back at home.
In April 2004, soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division were on a routine patrol in Sadr City, Iraq, when they came under surprise attack. Over the course of the next forty-eight hours, 8 Americans would be killed and more than 70 wounded. Back home, as news of the attack began filtering in, the families of these same men, neighbors in Fort Hood, Texas, feared the worst. In time, some of the women in their circle would receive "the call"-the notification that a husband or brother had been killed in action. So the families banded together in anticipation of the heartbreak that was certain to come.
The firefight in Sadr City marked the beginning of the Iraqi insurgency, and Martha Raddatz has written perhaps the most riveting account of hand-to-hand combat to emerge from the war in Iraq. This intimate portrait of the close-knit community of families Stateside-the unsung heroes of the military -distinguishes The Long Road Home from other stories of modern warfare, showing the horror, terror, bravery, and fortitude not just of the soldiers who were wounded and killed but also of the wives and children whose lives now are forever changed.
Violent resistance in post-invasion Iraq kicked into high gear on April 4, 2004, when American troops in Sadr City faced a massive assault that claimed eight soldiers' lives and wounded more than 70 others. Raddatz, an Emmy-winning correspondent for ABC News, clearly aims to equal the storytelling in Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down in her account of the battle, and hits the mark with distinction. Extensive interviews with the commanding officers of the army's 1st Cavalry division and the soldiers pinned down in the streets provide a clear narrative of how U.S. troops, prepared for "a babysitting mission," found themselves in a bloodbath, as efforts to rescue the first soldiers fired upon met with even greater resistance from Mahdi militiamen who did not hesitate to use small children as frontline attackers. Heroic moments abound, like Casey Sheehan's volunteering to take another man's place on the rescue team, which resulted in his death. Raddatz touches upon the reaction of his mother, noted antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, but this is just one of many perspectives from families on the home front. The gripping account eschews politics and focuses squarely on the soldiers and their sacrifices. (Mar. 1)
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March 01, 2007
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