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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Non-Fiction, 2014

From a MacArthur Fellow and the author of The Good Soldiers, a profound look at life after war

No journalist has reckoned with the psychology of war as intimately as David Finkel. In The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel shadowed the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion as they carried out the infamous surge, a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed all of them forever. Now Finkel has followed many of those same men as they’ve returned home and struggled to reintegrate - both into their family lives and into American society at large.

In the ironically named Thank You for Your Service, Finkel writes with tremendous compassion not just about the soldiers but about their wives and children. Where do soldiers belong after their homecoming? Is it possible, or even reasonable, to expect them to rejoin their communities as if nothing has happened? And in moments of hardship, who are soldiers expected to turn to if they feel alienated by the world they once lived in? These are the questions Finkel faces as he revisits the brave but shaken men of the 2-16.

More than a work of journalism, Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding - shocking but always riveting, unflinching but deeply humane, it takes us inside the heads of those who must live the rest of their lives with the chilling realities of war.

©2013 David Finkel (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Scott
  • Scarborough, ON, Canada
  • 01-03-14

Wrenching

Would you consider the audio edition of Thank You for Your Service to be better than the print version?

Haven't read the print version.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Not every book is a pleasant read but some are important reads and this certainly fits that category. The narrative follows a handful of servicemen who served in the Iraq war and their families. Their stories are interconnected by time, place, and experiences with a tragic incident in the Iraq war as the unifier. The book illustrates both the obvious and hidden costs to those who served - loss of comrades, survivors guilt, physical injury, PTSD, an uncertain post war life, families who can't quite be what the soldiers need them to be, despite their best efforts. What is both tragic and compelling is that the reader - like the servicemen and their families - can never quite be certain what the outcome for each person would be but that is the point.

What about Arthur Bishop’s performance did you like?

Very good. Far from a dry performance, the listener feels as though he is hearing firsthand the subjects speaking to him.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

How a comment made to a soldier meant to be a compliment was interpreted as a criticism that eventually leads to a multitude of problems and guilt for that soldier. Tragic.

Any additional comments?

For anyone who wants to better understand what it means to return home and move on from war, this is probably as close as a non combatant will ever get to it. Thank you for your service and just as importantly, thank you for your sacrifice.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Thankful Veteran

The narration of the book was great, it really brought the feelings across. From a veteran that has seen his share of horrors this is a great look at what our men & women are going threw on a daily basis. What we will live with for the rest of our lives, and that little piece of hope, hope that one day soon we will all be normal again.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • camilla
  • Spruce Head, ME, United States
  • 12-21-13

Miraculous reporting beautifully read

What did you like best about this story?

The book reveals what most of us never know about the costs of war on the soldiers who do the fighting and the families they come back to. Heartbreaking sometimes, gripping throughout.

Any additional comments?

The reader's performance is as good as it gets. He sounds like one of the guys, not some performer, yet his delivery is clear, beautifully timed, and incredibly insightful. Let's have him read more books!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Sad reality

As a military member with deployments, this book Tells the story of truth. tells the story of suicide in the military and how it is such a big problem. a problem we don’t want to have a problem. we don’t want to see but it is there and people do struggle. Story is not a light read. Many stories within one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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truly a good book

I thought they were taking a chapter from my life. many of the feelings experiences we're the same as mine. it almost made me seek help, almost.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Powerful psychological study of War Effects

A very powerful trip into the minds of our wounded warriors and their families. Important reading for all, especially for the wounded warriors themselves and their loved ones.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Impact

This book provides incredible insight to the struggles our service members and their families encounter after their deployments to a combat zone.

I like how there were several stories following different people with different approaches to their recovery without taking away from the struggles struggles of family members.

Depending on where a person is at in their recovery process, they may want to consider postponing this book or reading it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Better in site!

The book gives you a better in site on what soldiers go through when they come home.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Must Be Required Reading for Counselors!

I read the first installment to this saga, "The Good Soldiers", about the 2/16 Infantry's time in the sand box. If you are reading this review, you you may have seen it first with the review of his first book, as my sentiments are the same. IF I were back in command, I would have both of these on the required reading list for ALL of my officers, NCOs, AND enlisted troops. As it is now, in my civilian role as mentor and nursing leader, as well as therapist, this is required reading along with David Wood and others for anyone who is under my mentorship.

I spent over 23 years in the Army as a commissioned officer- most of that in the Nurse Corps as a Psychiatric Nurse, with my own military-related PTSD issues. My journey in the mental health field began well before we knew about things like moral injury and the like. PTSD had only been a buzz word for about 15 years before my time, and I have seen the rapid growth of treatment for PTSD in the active military, as well as in the VA, into today's mental health agenda. I recently had a young rehab (medical) patient who had served in this very place just before the 2/16 came in to take over, and he was the one who told me I had to read this book, as he knew I would understand exactly what he was talking about once I read the story. Myself a combat veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I was already very familiar with life in the sand box, yet, this story held my brain from the first sentence of the first chapter, and did not let go until I had DEROS'd with the unit!

I began studying and following the phenomenon of "moral injury" for at least a decade before it became the new invisible wound along side PTSD, only much, much deeper and damaging in most cases. I have read several books and articles on the topic over the years, including some of David Wood's tremendous work- Pulitzer Prize Winning "Beyond the Battlefield" and his most recent book "What Have We Done: Moral Injury in Today's Longest Wars"- to name a couple. I have been retired since 2005; however, I still work with the VA, and care for young and older veterans, all of whom have been through combat and come home with the same stuff going on in their minds and souls.

David Finkel's treatment of the experience of the Infantry soldiers in the midst of Hell and Doom is respectful and honest, down to the last F-bomb dropped. He was able to get even Officers to share their emotions and struggles- and we all know how us Officers do NOT do that! The narrator was quite capable of putting vivid scenes into my head as if I were there. I appreciate that the book was not a truck-load of chapters to trudge through, as with some books about these topics. He did not get bogged down in politics or irrelevant details outside of what needed to be referred to in order for the scene to make sense. I enjoyed the “sandwiching” technique of his writing- going back and forth between past and present with each chapter.


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Great Read!

The Narrator was great and The Book was Phenomenal just wish the book was longer I honestly didn't want it to end.