From Publishers Weekly
Reporter Weisskopf, at 58, was accompanying a patrol in Baghdad in 2003 when he picked up a grenade that flew into his Humvee. This book relates the consequences, beginning with a detailed account of a medic's emergency treatment of Weisskopf's shattered hand, his speedy transport to an aid station, helicopter flight to a front-line hospital, flight to the trauma center in Germany and, finally, to amputee Ward 57 of Washington's Walter Reed Hospital. Readers quickly learn that amputees make up 3% of Iraq's wounded—twice that of previous wars—thanks to the Kevlar helmets and sturdy body armor that protect all but the soldier's limbs from otherwise fatal explosions. Besides recounting his own successful recovery from the trauma of losing a hand, Weisskopf adds stories of three American soldiers who also endured months of torment before adjusting to new lives, though they were not necessarily typical. Other patients mentioned in passing do very badly. Pain is universal; many amputees suffer numerous operations and take narcotics for years. Modern prostheses are ingenious but heavy and difficult to use. Readers with a low tolerance for inspirational stories will still find plenty of technical and medical details of one tragic, little-publicized consequence of the Iraq war. (Oct. 3)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
reporter Weisskopf went to Iraq embedded with the First Armored Division. One day he picked up a strange object from the bottom of his vehicle--and woke up with his right hand missing. His next journey was to Ward 57, the amputee ward, of Walter Reed Hospital. He skillfully depicts his own experiences and those of his wardmates, making it clear that even today amputation entails a particularly acute form of post--traumatic stress disorder, to say nothing of the physical pain involved, and having to learn all over again to use the muscles of more than the affected limb. Nor, even in an era when each casualty can be given painstaking care, is Walter Reed, the army's flagship hospital, free of red tape and personnel who--and this is putting it delicately--lack a bedside manner. This thoroughly distinguished addition to the literature on the Iraq War adds further distinction to Weisskopf's career, which he plans to continue to the best of his remaining abilities. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved