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Living with Honor: A Memoir Hardcover – December 4, 2012
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"Candid, confessional...a simply told account that reminds us of the awesome weight accompanying this signal honor." (Kirkus Reviews)
"An adept observer of human nature, Giunta's portraits of his comrades-in-arms are full of wit and warmth about their foibles and admiration for their combat skills...With clarity and maturity, Giunta shows he understands the complexities of contemporary Afghan society." (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
Salvatore A. Giunta retired from active duty in 2011. Prior to that, he was responsible for the health, welfare, morale, training, and accountability of the soldiers in his company in the Army, working to ensure all unit family members were well taken care of while their spouses were deployed in Afghanistan. He is one of the few living persons to ever be awarded the Medal of Honor, and he was presented the award by President Obama in a White House ceremony on November 16, 2010. Giunta has also received numerous other commendations, including the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and the Purple Heart. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Jen, and their daughter.
Joe Layden has authored or coauthored more than thirty books, including multiple New York Times bestsellers.
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Top customer reviews
This book is not an "action" book, but the story of someone who served our country, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, and was designated for the highest honor that can be awarded to a serviceman in the military. It's about the person and his journey from his youth, to the military, events in Afghanistan, to falling in love. It's about his love of country and the loss of people who he loved - who he would give his life for and theirs for him. It is a relationship that only they can experience and understand. It is like none other that exists.
I have read numerous books lately by men who have served in Afghanistan. They all speak of their reasons for joining the military and the common thread is they love their country. Some serve for that purpose only and others serve for that reason as well as some very personal reasons - many having a need to find themselves, had a troubled past, knew that they needed structure and order to their life.
The more I read the more heartbreaking I find these stories on the one hand, on the other, I am proud to be am American and have the world's greatest military protecting my rights and freedom. This book speaks of the conditions that they serve under and the length of time they can be asked to serve. I came to learn through Sal that when you volunteer to join for 4 years, 4 years can turn into 8 years, 4 years tacked on involuntarily. How meaningful the care packages from home are. These aren't presents, they are treasures to them. When they are home how much it means when someone acknowledges their service with a "thank you". How they feel this country has abandoned them.
Read this book and you will realize, what many have, that they are doing the impossible. In my opinion, they are being asked to go beyond serving their country and find themselves at times serving the enemy. They are asked to take on tasks that are not military; our military was not designed to nation build but to fight and protect the United States of America. It is evident to these men who had boots on the ground that this war is not to be won; not in this century at least.
I personally don't support the US going about nation building or when war is used as a disguise for a hidden government agenda, nor do I understand why this country continues to put Americans in harms way because it is so stubborn about pulling out of Afghanistan and finding a way to gracefully withdraw with the appearance of not having lost. In spite of that, I will ALWAYS support the enlisted men and women and non-military of all branches of military service that are willing to serve this country. I will ALWAYS support those who serve in the military who undertake whatever mission they are ordered to carry out. And I don't forget, for even a day, that there are thousands who are willing to give their life for this country, nor do I forget those who have.
Sal has also reminded me that the 4th of July is not just a day to celebrate our rights and freedom, but it is also a day to take time out and thank those, maybe offer up a small prayer, for those that fought to protect those rights and freedom.
Sal Giunta decided to join the Army almost on a whim. He became a paratrooper assigned to the famous 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed in Italy. He served two tours in Afghanistan the last in the ill-fated venture into the Korengal Valley. His description of the day-to-day existence during both tours and his insights into the frustration of fighting a war we seem to have no chance of winning illustrates why this war is different than any other our military has fought. The "grunts" who are the tip of the spear for up to 15 months (Marines' tours are for 6-8 months and the Air Force is as little as 4) experience combat day after day unlike earlier wars in which even infantrymen got a break after a relatively few days of fighting. Read this and you'll understand why PTSD is experienced by about half of all those who are in combat units.
Giunta describes the action for which he was awarded the MOH in a matter-of-fact manner. Afterwards, when his company commander tells him that he is putting him in for the "Blue Max" Giunta responds "F-you". (Warning; the "F-bomb" is dropped a lot in this book.) Three years later he receives a phone call from President Obama telling him he will be the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. During the ceremony in the White House, when he looks out at the eight living recipients he will join and the families of his comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice Sal Giunta realizes what the MOH represents.