The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/1/2
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ABC News’ Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz shares remarkable tales of heroism, hope, and heartbreak in her account of “Black Sunday”—a battle during one of the deadliest periods of the Iraq War.
The First Cavalry Division came under surprise attack in Sadr City on Sunday April 4, 2004. Over 7,000 miles away, their families awaited the news for forty-eight hellish hours—expecting the worst. In this powerful, unflinching account, Martha Raddatz takes readers from the streets of Baghdad to the home front and tells the story of that horrific day through the eyes of the courageous American men and women who lived it.
“A masterpiece of literary nonfiction that rivals any war-related classic that has preceded it.”—The Washington Post
Praise for The Long Road Home
“The word ‘sacrifice’ is used a lot. In The Long Road Home, Martha Raddatz shows what the word really means...Read it.”—Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco
“Grit and high drama...searingly vivid evidence of the toll U.S. soldiers pay.”—The New York Times
“A picture of American valor and unflagging commitment.”—Rocky Mountain News
“A poignant piece of work that will grab and hold you.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“[This] nervy, brilliantly reported book tells the human stories that ricocheted out from one long, brutal firefight.”—The Star Tribune
“A truly great book about men, women, and raw courage.”—Diane Sawyer, ABC News
“Raddatz’s powerful book introduces us to people we root for, and care about, and won’t soon forget.”—Nathaniel Fick, author of One Bullet Away
“An unforgettable and entirely new portrait of the American family at war.”—Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill
“[A] fast-paced narrative of how some of these soldiers struggled to survive when their routine patrol of a Baghdad slum went terribly wrong, forever changing the lives of those involved and signaling a new phase in the violent resistance to U.S. occupation of Iraq.”—Los Angeles Times
“Might well be the Black Hawk Down of the Iraq war.”—The Washington Post
“A thoroughly gripping read...There is something very special about membership in the ‘brotherhood of the close fight,’ and The Long Road Home establishes clearly that those who fought on ‘black Sunday’ earned a cherished place in that elite fraternity.”—General David Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq
Martha Raddatz is the Chief Global Affairs Correspondent for ABC News and the co-anchor of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. She has covered national security, foreign policy and politics for decades—reporting from the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, and conflict zones around the world.
For a variety of reasons, Lieutenant Aguero and his platoon were unprepared for the nightmarish ambush in which they were trapped on the very day their unit assumed responsibility for Sadr City. We often forget that in combat the enemy has a vote in the fight and is capable of planning. The Mahdi militia carefully planned the ambush by lulling the previous unit into a false sense of security which caused some Americans to put their guard. This Mahdi band of thugs also used women and children as screens. The author then graphically describes the chaos of combat at the individual level. Mistakes had been and were made at all levels as the rescue forces assembled. One clear theme was the bravery and brotherhood of these soldiers. Soldiers join the Army for a variety of reasons, some lofty and some rather mundane, but on this Black Sunday in Sadr City, they fought for the man on either side of them.
As a Vietnam veteran, “The Long Road Home” touched on me several levels. At several points, I had to put my iPad down and reflect on times when I had been in tough spots. Without going into detail, while reading the part about the “lost” platoon, I had a flashback to a terrible night in Vietnam when I was the only American for 15 miles around with about 100 Montagnards fighting off a force of VC and NVA bent on our destruction. The next morning when the smoke cleared and the sun came up, I was a young first lieutenant thankful to be alive, but that is another story.
Martha Raddatz also seamlessly switches from the fighting in Sadr City to the home front at Ft. Hood. I was moved to tears on more than one occasion by the death or serious wounding of a soldier and the uncertainty on the part of the families at Ft. Hood. It is the families who suffer the most in war. I only became fully aware a few years ago of what my wife went through while I was in Vietnam, but that is also another story. In combat, a soldier has a mission and a surrogate family (a band of brothers), but at home there is an empty seat at the table and the gnawing uncertainty about the safety of a loved one.
I challenge those of you reading this review to emulate the selflessness of these soldiers. Earn their sacrifice. God bless them and those who have died in the service of our country. We cherish their memories. God bless the men and women defending our country today. God bless the United States of America.
The only thing I wanted more of was current updates on the soldiers today. This book was written in 2008 (I think) and I had never heard of it until I saw the fictionalized show (which was incredible by the way!), which was made very recently. The show had more information about the characters (true/false/exaggerated I don't know) and I felt like that was very much missing from the book. I'm sure some of it was just to add character development, but I especially missed the more current info at the end of the show that was missing from the paragraphs at the end of the book about what happened to some of the soldiers after their experiences. However, even if I hadn't seen the show before reading the book, I would have wanted to know more since it was written 10 years ago!
All that said, The Long Road Home was very good, very hard to read, and I think everyone needs to read more about the realities of war.