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I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story Hardcover – November 11, 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Private First Class Jessica Lynch's capture and rescue during the 2003 war in Iraq captured the attention and captivated the emotions of millions of Americans. Accounts of the actual events surrounding Lynch were wildly varied as some took her to be a symbol of American righteousness while others made her out to be a pawn of the US military. But the Lynch that emerges in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg's portrayal is an ordinary young woman caught up in an extraordinary series of events. Bragg, who had the cooperation of Lynch and her family in writing I Am a Soldier, Too intersperses her war story with a detailed portrait of the diminutive kid from Palestine, West Virginia who enlisted to see the world. What's truly remarkable about Lynch is how relatively unremarkable she is. She had a normal working class childhood, did fine in high school, performed capably in basic training, made some good friends, met a guy, and, like thousands of her contemporaries, was sent off to a war zone in the Middle East. But the story takes a sharp turn when her vehicle loses the convoy it was following near Nasiriyah, her four fellow soldiers are killed in the subsequent fighting, and Lynch is badly wounded and taken prisoner. Blacking out for three hours, she awakes in an Iraqi hospital where the tensions of war coupled with a lack of resources and a language and culture barrier make for a harrowing stay even as numerous medical personnel defy their own military to protect her and save her life. Finally, American troops captured Nasiriyah, kicked down the hospital doors (even as hospital workers tried to give them a master key) and airlifted Lynch out. Bragg also tells the story of the blue collar West Virginia town of Palestine and the Lynch family who the world watches, first as Jessica goes missing, then when she is rescued, and finally when she returns amid much fanfare. Bragg keeps the story telling pretty simple, avoiding an analysis of how the story was spun or the politics behind the war itself. In the end, Jessica Lynch is not, by her own insistence, a hero. Rather, she is a soldier with a remarkable story of survival to tell. Thankfully, she has now had the opportunity to tell it herself. --John Moe


“Riveting. . . . The straight story on Lynch’s remarkable ordeal.” --Entertainment Weekly

“Finely wrought. . . . A vivid portrait of a young woman who fled the familiar and fell into a situation beyond her control.” —New York Daily News

“Deftly, respectfully, movingly, Bragg has written Lynch’s story with extraordinary powerÉ. Brave, convincing and wonderfully sweet.” --The Baltimore Sun

“Bragg brilliantly paints a portrait. . . . Lynch’s voice is heard, and through her eyes, we learn the importance of what it means to be an American.” —The Oklahoman

“Rick Bragg . . . deftly separates fact from conjecture. . . . A convincing record . . . a minor miracle. --Winston Salem Journal

“Bragg is a gifted wordsmith. He crafts wonderful sentences. . . . He writes lovingly and beautifully about the hills of West Virginia where Lynch was born and raised.” --San Francisco Chronicle

“Bragg tells the story as Jessica lived it . . . [and] in the telling, her story illuminates the stories of countless others.” --San Antonio Express-News

“There is probably more truth--sweet, human, undeniable truth--in Rick Bragg’s fine book, I Am A Soldier, Too than we have seen in anything about her experience so far--including the nightly news. For here, captured in Bragg’s distinctive prose, his appreciation of working people and their hardships, Jessica Lynch’s story comes into its full surround as a quintessentially American journey.” --The New Orleans Times-Picayune

I Am a Soldier, Too does Jessica Lynch’s story justice without contributing to the distortion that has plagued it.” --The Plain Dealer

“A compelling story.” --Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Lyrical. . . . Bragg is a storyteller. . . . He knows how to use palpable detail to put us inside the emotions of his characters.” --Orlando Sentinel

“Bragg . . . gives a cinematic account of the desperate firefight that mortally wounded Lynch’s Army buddy, Lori Piestewa, and 10 others. . . . Lynch’s painful recovery . . . is vividly described.” --The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Lynch is a true hero in the best tradition of a nation that intuitively prefers modest honesty to grandstanding bravado.” --Los Angeles Times

“There is a modesty about Lynch in the book . . . that is at odds with the months-long media ruckus over her ordeal.” --The Wall Street Journal

“A gripping account of the fight that engulfed Lynch and 32 fellow members of the 507th Maintenance Company. . . . This book is a survival narrative, a story of fighting against fear and pain and isolation and trying desperately to sustain hope.” --Houston Chronicle

“Bragg skillfully gives the story depth and immediacy.” --Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400042577
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400042579
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The comments about this book and Pvt. Lynch are unbelievable. When the convoy was ambushed it had become lost and entered a kill zone. The Officer leading the convoy got lost because he did not read the map correctly. When the ambush occurred the crap hit the fan. With RPG's, mortars and small arms fire going off the dark night lit up and metal was flying everywhere. In the middle of this her vehicle was hit and crashed during which she was severely injured, not wounded but injured. The initial firing was chaotic and with all troops who were still able trying to return fire the confusion grew. She stated her weapon became inoperative and while trying to clear it the crash occurred. Now I don't how many of you have ever tried to do ANYTHING while taking incoming rounds but the pucker factor joins Murphy's law and everything seems to go down hill very fast. Something as simple as a loose magazine can cause the person to go nuts trying to figure out what is wrong when people are shooting at you. Don't believe me, try it sometimes. Her injuries prevented any further action on her part and she was subsequently captured. The press release was done prior to any rescue of her or the other captives so details were either scarce or at least very limited.

Did Pvt. Jessica Lynch stand up and say she was a hero Heck NO. So get off her back. If anything I can guess that survivors said SOMEONE from either the vehicle she was in or one near it had put up a heck of a fight. With so many known dead assumptions were made in error. Only a guess. The people talking to the press were making comments based on what little info they had. Was it wrong, probably because that is the confusion of war.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading Jessica Lynch's book, and I enjoyed reading about her side of the story and about her family. The book has 200+ pages, and I finished it in three days. It was just too good to put down!
If you're really into politics, then this probably isn't for you. If you want to read about an intriguing young woman's life, how she was miraculously rescued (if she had been rescued even a few days later, she would have died), and how she's adjusting to her current life, I think you will find this book a worthwhile investment.
Jessica Lynch has been through alot in her short life, and I don't believe any of us have a right to be critical of her. She is a very courageous young woman. It takes a strong person to survive on such little hope, but by the grace of God and with many prayers lifting her up, she did, and she deserves our respect, not our critism.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one of the best I have ever read. I just couldn't put it down. I have read the Introduction in this book several times and I get choked up every time. Jessica Lynch, to me, is a hero simply because she denies being a hero. Like Rick Bragg has said, anyone who gets behind the wheel of a truck and drives into a war zone is a hero. She was the only survivor of the 5 people in the Humvee she was in when it was attacked so she could have claimed she went down with guns blazing, but she didn't. Instead, she was honest and admitted her M-16 jammed. Even her sergeant sitting in front of her couldn't get it unjammed. I gave this book to my daughter for Christmas the year it came out and she called it a great read. I totally agree
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought it was very well written. It was a very sad true story. I couldn't put the book down. It was noted in the book how the news media tried to beef up Jessica's fight in the attack. She stated she was in the back seat between 2 other soldiers, and put her head in her lap and prayed, because that is all she could do, because the dust jammed her gun, along with many other soldiers guns, despite how many times the guns were cleaned. She came from a wonderful patriotic family, and town. A lot of the young people joined the military in her town, due to there were not very many opportunities for employment, and many were promised education's in the military, and also many like Jessica and her Brother, Greg who also joined the same day as her, just wanted to see the world. This book kept me interested from beginning until the end. The only thing I wish was, the pictures that were shown on my Kindle were very small, I wish they were about 4 times larger. God Bless Jessica and her family and all the people who came to the family's aid in such a wonderful way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rick Bragg says that he often writes about people who step in front of a moving train. That analogy certainly works for his just released book about Jessica Lynch. I can think of no writer more qualified to tell Jessica's story than Bragg. He is a first class journalist, having won the Pulitzer, and comes from a region of the country, rural Alabama, not unlike the West Virginia where Lynch grew up. (Since I grew up in rural East Tennessee, I'll take the temerity to make that judgment.)
Although Bragg had to have written this book quickly, it does not suffer from haste or sloppy writing. Bragg doesn't waste words-- and while I miss his humor, I understand that what he is about here is serious business. His account of the ambush of the now famous ill-fated convoy from the 507th Maintenance Company captures the immediacy and horror of battle. It's as good writing about the awfulness of war as you'll read.
The narrative is slim. That's as it should be. The event in Lynch's life that the world wants to know about is her capture and what happened to her while she was a POW. There is little of that information available and we may know now most of what we'll ever know. Bragg also discusses Lynch's growing up in West Virginia as well as her immediate and extended families. Her appeal is obvious: she is hardly more than a teenager, blonde, green-eyed, fragile and, from everything Bragg says, honest. She is our daugher, sister, cousin, and rightly or wrongly, hers is the face the public most associates with the American soldier in Iraq.
Jessica Lynch does not consider herself a hero. (I'm reminded that Senator John McCain, another famous American POW, said that there was nothing heroic about getting captured by the enemy.
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