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Shadow of the Sword: A Marine's Journey of War, Heroism, and Redemption [Kindle Edition]

Jeremiah Workman , John Bruning
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $10.99
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry under fire, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Workman is one of the Marine Corps’ best-known contemporary combat veterans. In this searing and inspiring memoir, he tells an unforgettable story of his service overseas–and of the emotional wars that continue to rage long after our fighting men come home.

Raised in a tiny blue-collar town in Ohio, Jeremiah Workman was a handsome and athletic high achiever. Having excelled on the sporting field, he believed that the Marine Corps would be the perfect way to harness his physical and professional drives.

In the Iraqi city of Fallujah in December 2004, Workman faced the challenge that would change his life. He and his platoon were searching for hidden caches of weapons and mopping up die-hard insurgent cells when they came upon a building in which a team of fanatical insurgents had their fellow Marines trapped. Leading repeated assaults on that building, Workman killed more than twenty of the enemy in a ferocious firefight that left three of his own men dead.

But Workman’s most difficult fight lay ahead of him–in the battlefield of his mind. Burying his guilt about the deaths of his men, he returned stateside, where he was decorated for valor and then found himself assigned to the Marine base at Parris Island as a “Kill Hat”: a drill instructor with the least seniority and the most brutal responsibilities. He was instructed, only half in jest, to push his untested recruits to the brink of suicide. Haunted by the thought that he had failed his men overseas, Workman cracked, suffering a psychological breakdown in front of the men he was charged with leading and preparing for war.

In Shadow of the Sword, a memoir that brilliantly captures both wartime courage and its lifelong consequences, Workman candidly reveals the ordeal of post-traumatic stress disorder: the therapy and drug treatments that deadened his mind even as they eased his pain, the overwhelming stress that pushed his marriage to the brink, and the confrontations with anger and self-blame that he had internalized for years.

Having fought through the worst of his trials–and now the father of a young son–Workman has found not perfection or a panacea but a way to accommodate his traumas and to move forward toward hope, love, and reconciliation.


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A raw, heartfelt story of how a man of valor lost his bearings and eventually found the courage to share his story. Shadow of the Sword leaves you hoping and cheering for the happy ending that Workman deserves."—Bing West, author of The Strongest Tribe

"In writing this moving and incredibly honest book, Workman shows at least as much courage as he did in Fallujah. His story gives hope to anyone who struggles that they, too, can overcome if they just keep fighting—one day at a time, one battle at a time, one victory at a time."—Donovan Campbell, author of Joker One

"Workman shows unflinching honesty and gut twisting bravery by sharing with us his complicated journey to normalcy after his seemingly endless battle through hell. This may be the most important book of our Warrior generation and proves that Workman deserves to be in a separate class of American hero." —David Bellavia, author of House to House

"A searing account…In its depiction of combat, Shadow of the Sword ranks with Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor."—Wall Street Journal


"This superior addition to the literature on the Iraq War is an exceptionally vivid account of combat and its aftermath…[Workman] provides a harrowing level of detail about the combat…Workman's testimony gives hope that those suffering the nightmare of PTSD can free themselves sufficiently to avoid becoming additional casualties of the current war."—Booklist


From the Hardcover edition.

Review

"A raw, heartfelt story of how a man of valor lost his bearings and eventually found the courage to share his story. Shadow of the Sword leaves you hoping and cheering for the happy ending that Workman deserves."—Bing West, author of The Strongest Tribe

"In writing this moving and incredibly honest book, Workman shows at least as much courage as he did in Fallujah. His story gives hope to anyone who struggles that they, too, can overcome if they just keep fighting—one day at a time, one battle at a time, one victory at a time."—Donovan Campbell, author of Joker One

"Workman shows unflinching honesty and gut twisting bravery by sharing with us his complicated journey to normalcy after his seemingly endless battle through hell. This may be the most important book of our Warrior generation and proves that Workman deserves to be in a separate class of American hero." —David Bellavia, author of House to House

"A searing account…In its depiction of combat, Shadow of the Sword ranks with Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor."—Wall Street Journal


"This superior addition to the literature on the Iraq War is an exceptionally vivid account of combat and its aftermath…[Workman] provides a harrowing level of detail about the combat…Workman's testimony gives hope that those suffering the nightmare of PTSD can free themselves sufficiently to avoid becoming additional casualties of the current war."—Booklist


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1573 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (September 4, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002NXOQGG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,500 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crisp, sharp, harrowing --- and heroic August 24, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This non-fiction account of Sgt. Jeremiah Workman, an Ohioan Marine veteran of the Iraq war and the Dec. 23, 2004 battle in Fallujah, is one of the most impressive and yet harrowing accounts of war I've ever read. With able assistance from John R. Bruning, Workman brings to life the terror and heroic responses of U.S. Marines in current-day battle and honors through retelling many dramatic historic events and traditions of past generations, who died fighting some of America's most brutal enemies.

Meanwhile, Workman weaves in his encounters with personal demons born in Fallujah. For his heroism in that grisly battle against Jihadists, Workman received the Navy Cross for heroism --- "the highest award for bravery" the U.S. gives to servicemen, and second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor. It was awarded to only 18 men since 9/11, most of them posthumously.

Like all survivors of trauma that killed family or friends, however, Workman felt unworthy. He felt that in reality, his deceased best friends, fallen in Fallujah --- Montana cut-up Raleigh Smith, Hoosier Lance Cpl. Eric Hillenburg and fellow Mustang-lover James Phillips --- had earned the medal given to him. So had the other surviving Marines --- Bronx-born Phillip Levine (who lost family on 9/11), Cpl. Steve Snell, Lance Cpl. Jason Flannery, Sgt, Sam Gardiola, Smith's best friend Jerrad Hebert, and Sergeant Jarrett Kraft (a non-commissioned officer whose WWII and FBI veteran grandfather blessed the returning Workman in Navajo "for protecting my grandson"), and others.

As heroic as were Workman's battlefield efforts, all the more so are his descriptions of the causes, effects and difficulties of recovering from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Combat and PTSD August 7, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it is one of the effects of having been in, and survived combat. People who have experienced combat situations can experience it as a result of the immense tension and stress of combat. Because you are doing things and seeing things that are violent, gory, and very intense, your brain reacts to the shock and fatigue with this reaction. I do not like the use of the term disorder, because it has very negative implications about the sufferers, but there are significant implications to the people who are affected by PTSD and their families and friends.

This book is about the PTSD that affected one particular solider. He is a marine who fought in the tough urban environment of Fallujah in Iraq. As a Corporal, he commanded a section of Marines as they were engaged in house clearing operations in that city. On one of their patrols, his platoon ran into an intense fire fight that lasted over three hours and resulted in three of his mates being killed. Corporal Workman's heroism during the fire fight was astounding and resulted in him being awarded the Navy Cross which is the second highest medal given for heroism under fire, second only to the Medal of Honor. While Workman did all that he could possibly do, three Marines died and he suffered from PTSD as a result.

This entire book is written as a first person account of what PTSD feels like to one of its victims. The chapters are short and they bounce around between events in Workman's life after he comes back from Iraq, and flashbacks to those three hours of the battle. It actually starts with a nightmare sequence that Workman has when he is already in the States as a way to set the stage. The writing style is perfectly suited to the story it tells.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Searing and Noble Autobiography August 2, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Co-written with John Bruning, Jeremiah Workman's autobiographical account of his combat duty in Iraq - and his subsequent personal battle against the devastating effects of war-induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - is a riveting tale of one man's struggle against an enemy without, that breeds an even more dangerous enemy within. Shifting back and forth between his service with the Marines in Fallujah and his desperate attempts to put his life back together upon his return to the U.S., Workman writes with uncommon candor, honesty and insight about his harrowing experiences, turbulent emotions and damaged psyche. Workman's ordeal is deeply affecting, all the more so because - as he makes abundantly clear - he is but one of tens of thousands of brave soldiers who risked their lives and have sacrificed their psychological well-being for the love and safety of their country.

I highly recommend this book without reservation to any and all readers who wish to gain a better understanding about the true nature of modern day combat, and of the dedicated men and women who choose to serve in the armed forces. "Shadow of the Sword" could not have been an easy book for Workman to write, and he is to be congratulated on a difficult and important job very well performed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pain. August 26, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There are a million "cold steel and hot lead" memiors out there. This is one of the very few books that deals directly with both battle, which often lasts mere hours, and its aftermath, which lasts lifetimes.

Superficially put, SHADOW OF THE SWORD is about the events that led to Marine S/Sgt. Jeremiah Workman being awarded the Navy Cross after his return from Iraq. In reality, however, it is two stories: what really happened that day in Fajullah, when his squad bumped into 40 heavily armed and coked-up insurgents ready to fight to the death; and how Workman deals with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), called in other wars "shell shock", "battle fatigue" or, most notoriously, "lack of moral fibre." The reader will perhaps be a bit surprised (or maybe not) to know that while the military does the utmost to prepare its troops for combat, until very recently, it had neither understanding nor any particular interest in preparing them for the mental and emotional aftermath. So perhaps you could say SHADOW is three stories:

1. The fight against the insurgents.
2. The fight against PTSD.
3. The fight to educated the military and the general public about PTSD.

All three of Workman's battles are brutal and difficult to read about. The chaotic firefight in Iraq goes on and on in a hell of deafening noise and confusion. The terrible physical and mental effects of PTSD wreck Workman's marriage and push him to the brink of suicide. And the struggle to get the hypermasculinzed culture of the Marine Corps to acknowledge that even the toughest devil-dog may be driven to his knees by psychological stress...that may be the toughest one of all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars War.
Jeremiah is a good man. War changes people. We met before the combat. I wish him and his family the best.
Published 3 months ago by Robert G. San Socie
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as most first-person combat recollections go
As good as most first-person combat recollections go. Too much dwelling on PTSD for my taste as someone carrying a 80% disability rating from combat injuries as a Marine in Vietnam
Published 3 months ago by Edward Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
totally satisfied
Published 4 months ago by Angelia S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring book
This is a must read book that is an eye opener into a life of a marine. It truly helped me to understand what they go through each and everyday. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nikki
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, expect reality!!
I more than liked the extreme lengths taken by the majority of the Marines to face death for one another. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Another aspect of a true warrior
It's deep look into another burden those that put everything on the line for us carry. Totally ignored as an issue for too long we know realize PTSD is real and traumatic
Published 12 months ago by James Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book by one of our American Heroes.
Great story of courage and honor. Our returning heroes deserve so much more than they are getting. Jeremiah has shown tremendous grace in his post-active duty life.
Published 15 months ago by Lynn Breaux
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!
I know Jeremiah, and this book is a must read for those wondering what today's wars are all about. It's an easy read, and you probably won't put it down until you're finished.
Published 15 months ago by Richard Brock
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
This book is written by my cousin, and talks about were I grew up as well. The school I went to is talked about as well
Published 16 months ago by Melissa Chilcote
4.0 out of 5 stars The real impact of war
Powerful personal narrative about a Marine who is dealing with PTSD after intense fighting in Iraq. Very topical given recent discussion about vet benefits for disabilities that... Read more
Published 17 months ago by SF Soldier
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