A powerful account of eighteen months in the lives of three soldiers and
a journalist, all patients in Ward 57, Walter Reeds amputee wing
Time magazines Michael Weisskopf was riding through Baghdad in the back of U.S. Army Humvee, an embedded reporter alongside soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, when he heard a metallic thunk. Looking down, he saw a small, dark object rolling inches from his feet. He reached down and took it in his hand. Then everything went black.
Weisskopf lost his hand and was sent for treatment to Ward 57 at Walter Reed Medical Center, the wing of the armed forces hospital reserved for amputees. There he crossed paths with Pete Damon, Luis Rodriguez, and Bobby Isaacs, three soldiers whose stories he learned during months in the ward. Alongside these men, Weisskopf navigated the bewildering process of recovery and reentry, and began reconciling life before that day in Baghdad with everything that would follow his release.
Blood Brothers is the story of this difficult passagefor Weisskopf, Damon, Rodriguez, Isaacs, and hundreds of othersa story that began with healthy men heading off to a war zone, and continued through the months in Ward 57 as they prepared their minds and bodies for a different life than the one they left. A chronicle of devastation and recovery, this is a deeply affecting portrait of the private aftermath of combat casualties.
The army convoy rattled through Al-Adhamiya like a carnival roller coaster, each turn as blind as the next. Not that the soldiers could see much anyway. Night had fallen on the old Baghdad quarter, a byzantine maze lit only by kerosene lamps flickering from rugged stone houses. We moved warily in the darkness, patrolling for insurgents in blind alleys custom-made for ambushes and narrow passages perfect for concealing roadside bombs. Only the piercing wail of a minarets call to prayer broke the silence. It was anyones bet who faced a more dire risk, the hunted in terrorist cells or the hunters in Humvees, along with whom I was riding under a half moon this December 10, 2003.
I was in Iraq to profile the American soldier as Person of the Year for Time magazine. It was a dream assignment, a chance to escape Washington and work in exotic environs on a big story. I had teamed up with another reporter, Romesh Ratnesar, and set out three weeks ...
If you're looking for a gung ho story of military heroism, or a polemic on the Iraqi War, Blood Brothers is not for you - this is not a political book (at least not overtly) and while there are heroes aplenty in its pages, Blood Brothers focuses on what happens to the soldiers who return from the front a fraction of their former selves, and how they, and their families, learn to live with horrific and life altering injuries long after the media, and most likely the military, has lost interest in them.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (1060 words).
Michael Weisskopf is a senior correspondent for Time magazine,
working out of Washington D.C. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner
of a number of awards for journalism including the Daniel Pearl Award for
Courage and Integrity in Journalism. As an investigative reporter for the nation
section. he has scored many scoops, including the smoking-gun letter of FBI
whistle-blower Coleen Rowley and broke stories on Arthur Andersen's shredding of
Enron documents, President Bill Clinton's deal with prosecutors and several
Monica Lewinsky stories.
In addition to Blood Brothers, he is co-author of two books: Truth At Any Cost, a book on the Kenneth Starr probe published in April of 2000, and Tell Newt to Shut Up, a book ...
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