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Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives Paperback – April 28, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-Janet Maslin, The New York Times
" A must-read account."
-The Wall Street Journal
" A powerful counterpoint to the impersonal statistics and verbal camouflage of military euphemisms that sanitize the true horror of war and dehumanize those who serve."
-The Washington Post Book World
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Top Customer Reviews
Through the eyes of those who have to perform the horrible task of notifying the next of kin of the death of their loved ones, the book tells the story of several soldiers, marines, and sailors who didn't make it home. One comes to know them well, and grieves for them and their families as they go through this agony. Lives interrupted, cut short. Children who will never know their fathers. Young war widows trying to survive. Parents who must bury a child. All this in the aftermath of "the knock" on the door. The pictures almost take your breath away.
This book is not about glory, not about conquest. In the end, I think it is about loss and love...the love of family members, the love of comrades in arms, the love of Country. As Memorial Day draws near, the sacrifices these people made, on both sides of "the knock" should never be forgotten. This is not an easy book, but you shouldn't miss it.
****************** "THE KNOCK" *********************
"YOU CAN ALMOST SEE THE BLOOD RUN OUT OF THEIR BODY AND THEIR HEART HIT THE FLOOR. IT'S NOT THE BLOOD AS MUCH AS THEIR SOUL. SOMETHING SINKS. I'VE NEVER SEEN THAT EXCEPT WHEN SOMEONE DIES. AND I'VE SEEN A LOT OF DEATH."
****************** MAJOR STEVE BECK *******************
This book should be read by every single American citizen. But, be warned; it is extremely emotional and you will shed tears. I am an honorably discharged Viet Nam era veteran and I consider myself to be a pretty tough guy. I have faced death and came out on the other side. When I got this book, before I actually started reading it, I went to the center portion which has twenty-four pages of color pictures that range from pictures of our fallen hero's that are depicted in this book, to their mourning families before and after "notification", to a pregnant crying wife, draping herself over the American Flag, that is draped over the coffin containing her husband, to cemeteries, to a ripped apart "last letter" home from a fallen American Hero.Read more ›
These are his accounts of the daunting job of those who bring terrible news to the "Next of Kin", and of the next of kin themselves. Such journalism is difficult to do cleanly and honestly. He does a remarkable job of not inserting himself into the chapters. He was, by the testimony of United States Marine Colonel Beck, most respectful of the fallen and of their families. Bias may be inevitable, but I find none here to cloud or distract or distort these sad events.
Each story is only as long as necessary. No editorializing. No purple embellishment. With such clarity he lays before us so that each touches us. First each alone, and then in a gradual appreciation of the both range and the commonality of them all. They are moving and enlightening.
The only time you get a sense of this author is when he bares the events where he is himself involved. After all, he really was there and in contact with the families and others. He cannot deny it by omission. But as he works through the difficulties of not being that in-your-face newsman we usually read or see, he actually further illuminates the courage of these families.
I started off by mentioning burial rituals and practices. Mr. Sheeler has a keen eye and ear. He does much to record the ceremonial side as well as the personal side. Indeed they touch profoundly in his renditions. Things sometimes vary by service. He points them out to us.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book. Quick read. Interesting stories but they felt a bit all over the place. Sometimes hard to jump around from story to story. Brave families, they have my respect.Published 6 days ago by Me
Wonderful book, highly recommended. Vendor sent it promptly, did a great job.Published 6 months ago by rotts9
An eye opener! I never considered the job of informing families of the death of their military loved one. The amount of time spent with them in order to meet their needs. Read morePublished 12 months ago by mina
I spent a dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon immersed in this book after buying it at a used-book sale. I'd read the Pulitzer-Prize winning newspaper series that led to the book, so I... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Tennessee Kim
Beautiful stories. Beautifully written. I purchase a couple every year to give as a gift.Published 12 months ago by Tiffany Murdaca
This is an amazing collection of stories. I can't imagine this being my job. The stories kinda jump around, so it's sometimes hard to keep up with each family.Published 13 months ago by Waverly M. Alley III