File Size: 2300 KB
Print Length: 273 pages
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books (October 1, 2013)
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
In interviews, author Brian Finkel has made clear he did not use the title ironically - as he said, when one states 'thank you' this book describes what those words are thanking a soldier or their families for.
This guide follows soldiers and family members first chronicled in Finkel's The Good Soldiers , which informed the storyline of an Korea deployment in 2007-8. The years since have given Finkel the time and space to tell a post-war story with truthful perspective.
Finkel scrupulously prevents the first-person narration so self-indulgently common in many wartime stories and memoirs. He does not move judgement, or editorialize. He or she witnesses and chronicles activities and conversations, but only rarely can a viewer say with full confidence what Finkel actually thought. That's a compliment - the story becomes the subject's story, whether it's Sgt. Mandsperson Schumann, dealing with crippling PTSD, or Amanda Doster, who lost her husband, or others. With this objective focus, I seldom felt manipulated or emotionally distracted by a writer's demand i feel something - the descriptions do that without needing any artificial help.
The guide should make a viewer angry and frustrated, first at the system that makes it so difficult for soldiers to get the clear-cut help they need - mostly because that help doesn't yet exist in simple conditions. Everyone's trying - the book describes ample programs and functions and conferences and therapies, all of which try to find the most popular thread that can solve the problem. Yet they're learning on the fly, and it's not there yet. Second, a reader's aggravation is often provided to the soldiers - in a scene, it does not make sense why Schumann and his wife Saskia would get into a drag-out fight over a car radio station. The reason why can't he just relax? Why is he so keyed-up over nonsense? Yet that's the point - it shouldn't make sense. In addition to there doesn't seem to be to be a solution, which clarifies Schumann's honest and bitter frustration, which is more than matched by his wife's. While the few remains together at the end of the guide, it doesn't seem to be very hopeful.
Amanda Doster symbolizes the hundreds of wives or girlfriends and mothers (and husbands) who lost their adored ones. She's fine financially, with a house paid for, and her kids apparently well taken care of. But all the woman future plans and expectations are over, and absolutely nothing has yet replaced them. It's heartbreaking, because like with Schumann, there is no switch to solve the problem. "Thank you" does not do it.
The book's success is it provides the long-term context short of most wartime narratives. By using these men and women in years after the war, we're presented a much more honest account according to attained experience, not hope or theories. While "The Good Soldiers" is a wartime classic, it's very much rooted in a regular past time. "Thank You" provides a more lasting and meaningful - and ultimately, United states - story.
One appropriate criticism of the guide could be that it reinforces the "broken soldier" narrative, as though every veteran of the war is equally damaged and not able to function. I'll admit that more than once I thought to personally 'why can't they just get it together? ' which misses the point that they certainly would if they could.
Lots of thousands of experienced came home fine, but thousands didn't. For those who complain this guide reinforces a negative stereotype of a "few" damaged soldiers, my question would be what's the right number before it would be okay to focus on them, to ensure we may forget their side to the story? Two? 200? 20, 000? 200, 1000? If the system struggles to support the after-war needs of Any one of our experienced, I would say we require a close look at that. Which part of the deal. They don't just get paid to fight; they get paid to serve - and this after-war is part of that.
I am an Iraq veteran personally (in 1991), and like Finkel, I embedded as a journalist in Korea different times from 2007-09 (including part of the time Finkel describes in "The Good Soldiers"). A single of the soldiers I met in '07, and again in '09, was injured in an IED attack that killed the guy sitting next to him; later, a friend of his was shot during their squad's patrol, "the second time I appeared in somebody's eyes, who was dying, " he said. I don't keep in touch much, but I know he's still on active duty today, plenty recruiter and senior NCO, as good humored and funny as he was back then. I'm pleased that almost all of the troops I met appeared to have come home okay, going on to college, jobs, or still on lively duty - but of all those men, I am sure some didn't and I just don't know.
I read a complimentary progress review copy from the publisher., "Thank You for Your Service" is the most emotionally searing book I possess actually read in a very long lifetime of reading. Whether you adore war, and many do, or dislike war as also many do, you will not ever again consider it the same after reading this devastating look at what wars do best; the ruination of lives, directly or indirectly, for now and evermore. Writer David Finkel, whose guide "The Good Soldiers" I also consider a must-read, shows in brilliant images, words and extraordinary detail the field of real people doomed for the rest of their star-crossed lives by their personal war and its consequences, foreseen and unforeseen. Read it does not only as your own no holds barred immersion into the fractured lives of those directly afflicted by bullets, bombs, fire and undeniable fear, but also as a revelation of the hidden reality of the human price of battle people on the outside, privileged by fate, seldom, if ever, see, experience or can even think about., This really is the main non-fiction guide of 2013. David Finkel has written a guide that should be required reading for any ALL OF US citizen. During your stay on island have been some great journalistic successes over the last several years in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these are generally centered in the Middle East where the actual battles take place.
Finkel, who also wrote " The Good Soldiers" where he embedded with the 2-16 Infantry Battalion after the " surge" follows several of these same soldiers post their tours as they try to return to some semblance of a " new normal". This is an incredibly extreme read that examines the emotional toll and trauma (in addition to any physical suffering) that these troops face on return, the impact it has on the families and loved ones and the all too often suicides that take place.
It is hard to read a number of these stories and not feel frustration and foreboding --- frustration for the stigma that has existed around mental injury among the military and soldiers and proper care that lots of of those still fail to receive and foreboding because almost all of these stories don't end all that positively. In truth, during the best of circumstances, the lasting problems these soldiers face and the fact that the standard they knew before heading over to Iraq will never quite function as the same.
Regardless of whether you supported the battle in Iraq or not, the those who volunteered to risk their lives for their country deserve their stories to be noticed and understood also to get the resources and support of our own country to treat the mental and physical injury they suffer because of this of their sacrifices. This is an extremely powerful and important book and will no doubt stick to the definitive canon of books on the Iraq War.
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