IN THE COMPANY OF SOLDIERS: A Chronicle of Combat in Iraq

Rick Atkinson, Author . Holt $25 (319p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7561-8

A Pulitzer-winning Washington Post correspondent and military historian gives the best account yet to come out of the Iraq War, chronicling the unit in which the author was embedded, the 101st Airborne, or Screaming Eagles, and particularly its headquarters. This inevitably puts much emphasis on the division commander, the intense, competitive and thoroughly professional Maj. Gen. David Petraeus. But no one is left out, from General Wallace, the gifted corps commander, to a Muslim convert and the victims of his ghastly but little publicized fragging incident at the opening of the war. The narrative covers this large cast from the division's being called up for the war at Fort Campbell, Ky., through to the author's departure from the unit after the fall of Baghdad. Through the eyes of the men he associated with, we see excess loads of personal gear being lugged into Iraq and insufficient supplies of essentials like ammunition and water (the reason for the infamous "pause"). We see sandstorms and the limitations of the Apache attack helicopter, and understand the legal framework for avoiding civilian casualties and "collateral damage," and much else that went right or wrong—in a manner that is antitriumphalist, but not antimilitary. The son of an army officer and thoroughly up to date on the modern American army, the author pays an eloquent and incisive tribute to how the men and women of the 101st won their part of the war in Iraq, in a manner that bears comparison to his Pulitzer-winning WWII volume, An Army at Dawn . Superb writing and balance make this the account to beat. $150,000 ad/promo; author tour . (Mar. 15)

Reviewed on: 02/09/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-0-316-72733-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7435-3931-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7435-3735-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7435-3645-5
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-0001-0
Paperback - 322 pages - 978-0-8050-7773-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4025-7888-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-3646-2
Hardcover - 533 pages - 978-0-7862-6659-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-7031-7
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