From Publishers Weekly
Johnson gained national attention as America's first black female prisoner of war. She was in the 507th Maintenance Company convoy ambushed on March 23, 2003, in Nasiriyah, and captured with five other soldiers including Jessica Lynch. One might call Johnson's presence in a firefight a compound accident. She was a cook who had enlisted in 1998 hoping to earn money for her education and perhaps meet a nice guy, and was a cook with the 507th, which existed to maintain Patriot missiles. But she was sent with the convoy, and the bullets Johnson took in both ankles did not ask for her military occupational specialty. Though objectively treated well enough by her Iraqi captors, she was wounded, female, and black: three reasons for being afraid. Rescued three weeks later in a daring raid, Johnson emerged with a Bronze Star, a case of post-traumatic stress disorder, and an unwanted celebrity status sufficiently resented by the system that she left the army. Johnson endured her captivity with courage and emerged with honor. With the help of former army reservist Doyle, she vividly, simply, and unpretentiously tells her tale . (Feb.)
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Johnson had the experience of being the first African-American woman held as a POW. This was almost as unpleasant as it was unsought, for she was badly wounded in the leg, and Iraqi medical treatment left the impression that the Iraqis didn’t know what they were doing. On the other hand, the way Americans presented the incident in which Johnson, along with the more celebrated Jessica Ryan, was captured made Johnson doubt her fellow Americans, at least until the U.S. Marines rescued the POWs. A single mother now raising her daughter, Johnson, with the aid of expert co-writer Doyle, has told a story that adds substantially to our knowledge of the black military experience and of the Iraq War. --Roland Green
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