From Publishers Weekly
Veteran war correspondent Schultheis (Night Letters: Inside Wartime Afghanistan
) spent six months in Iraq with an Army Civil Affairs Team, a highly trained, elite unit whose primary objective is rebuilding war-torn regions. Despite the overwhelming need for such soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the army has only a single active-duty Civil Affairs Battalion, and the overwhelming majority of the 5,000 Civil Affairs soldiers are in the army reserves. The dedicated professionals of Civil Affairs Team A-13 featured here are a disparate group of civilian soldiers. Led by a former Special Forces major, the team includes an ex–Peace Corps volunteer, a California surfer girl, a former Marine sniper with a heart of gold and "Fat Larry," an accountant from middle America. Civil Affairs soldiers never initiate combat, but it finds them often enough. As they go about rebuilding schools, repairing sewers and setting up mobile walk-in medical clinics, they also must dodge roadside bombs, snipers and mortars. Schultheis quickly bonds with Team A-13 and celebrates their small victories against difficult odds in a surreal environment, delivering warm character studies and tense highway encounters. And he ends up making a terrific case for a full update of the Marshall Plan. (June)
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About the Author
Rob Schultheis is the author of four previous books, including the acclaimed Night Letters: Inside Wartime Afghanistan
. His screenplay credits include Seven Years in Tibet
, and his articles have appeared in Time, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post
, and Smithsonian
. He is also a dedicated aid worker and human-rights investigator.