The war, both in Iraq and at home, is ably painted by news correspondent Raddatz. The specific incident depicted is the Sadr City ambush of a platoon from "A" Troop, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment of the First Cavalry Division. In the ensuing fight and rescue of the platoon, 8 Americans were killed and close to 60 wounded while hundreds of Iraqis were killed. One of the Americans who perished was Specialist Casey Sheehan, son of antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan. Raddatz does well in portraying the sacrifices of the soldiers and those who are left at home. Joyce Bean's delivery of the narrative sections of this work is expressive and easy to understand. When performing dialogue, however, her renditions of men in combat can feel somewhat flat.
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 48 hours, eight 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 are now forever changed.
©2007 Martha Raddatz; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"A masterpiece of literary nonfiction that rivals any war-related classic that has preceded it." (Washington Post)
I have a personal relationship to this story... my son was there. He was in Charlie Company until just prior to deployment, when he transferred to the HHC as a sniper. In Sadr City, he was in the group responding to assist Hines. Both Hines and Reynolds (Big Country) attended my son's Ranger graduation, after which we spent an evening together. Their character is adequately described in the book.
Personally, the story helped me put into context the chaos described in my son’s phone call that night after he returned to Camp War Eagle.
It is a non-judgmental story, providing only the facts. You will sense the emotional turmoil for everyone involved and be amazed that so much could be written about so little passage of time.
It’s only downfall… the narrator. Her attempts to provide a male voice were very ineffective. A male narrator should have been strongly considered.
I liked the book a lot but hated the narrator. I agree with the last reviewer than a male reader would have been better. But in addition, this reader dragged on--I wished I had a control to speed her up. I will not choose this reader again.
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
The carnage that took place when the insurgents of Sadr, Iraq took up their weapons of war and ambushed the US soldier's who were patrolling the designated streets mapped out by their commander, proved a devastating blow to the men of the 1st Calvary Division. The casualties were high on both sides. The Iraqi's out numbered the American's.
The US places a high value on the lives of men, women and children who are the bystanders in this attack but the Iraqi's have no such concerns. This makes it doubly hard for the US soldiers because women shoot AK47's at the American's, Iraqi men have their weapons held at their sides ready to shoot and young Iraqi boys and girls toss handmade bombs made in coke cans into the humvee's driven by American soldiers. These men aren't able to distinguish who to aim and fire at. What to do? The US soldier's are given a command from their leader to shoot.
The vehicles the soldiers are driving are not the kind built to fight the insurgents. The roofs of some are made of canvas. There are no doors on others. There are truck loads of men who have no shielding at all. They sit on benches with no roofs or siding. This is an open invitation for the insurgents to kill easy targets, which thrills them mightily.
The true account is written in this book, The Long Road Home. Purchase this book, listen and become aware of what kind of war our soldier's are fighting. This account of the 48 hour battle that took place in Sadr, Iraq is written with clarity and truth.
I'm sure this story was great but the narrator killed it
Trying to speak with a man's voice
It was difficult to get past the first 3 chapters...I gave up. Probably a great read but listening was brutal!
The plot of The Long Road Home was the most captivating point - and as well it should be! As a story of what is sometimes known as Black Sunday, the early April 2004 day where fighting in Sadr City changed the aspect of the conflict in Iraq from one of hopeful reconstruction to a war of insurgency, the story is succint and to the point. It does not attempt to capture all nuances of the conflict, but follows some of the critical events of that day in a way that tells the story of the young soldiers involved. This is the first book of this conflict that I have read/listened to and I was incredibly surprised to have been drawn into it so quickly and so completely.
In it's attempt to tell and follow the stories of just a few men during a conflict, it reminds me of Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley, or even Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. However, the story-telling of this book is quite different from these other two; as are the conflicts portrayed. If you like the narrative style of those books, this one may feel too
I should note that I gave this title a try on a whim when it came on sale a few years ago. While it has taken me a long time to get around to listening to it, once I began I could not put it down. My heart goes out to all that live with what they saw that day.
Amazing story. I knew some of them having played soccer with them at Fort Hood prior to the departure for Iraq. Ramon is heading back this coming March 08. I pray the 'angels' help them return home again.
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