Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War

David and Nancy French. Hachette/Center Street, $14.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-931722-90-2
This husband-and-wife account of a year in wartime Iraq (2007–2008) artfully captures the mixed emotions that can accompany a loved one's decision to enlist and illustrates that friendship, hope, and humor are vital to survival. David was 37 when, inspired by a New York Times article about a soldier his age, he thought, "Why not me?" and told Nancy he wanted to put aside his job as head of a free-speech nonprofit organization to become a military reservist. His marching orders: a year-long stint as a judge advocate (JAG) officer with a combat regiment in Iraq. David's chapters offer a look at his daily life, from making friends to grieving for them, living in a tent and missing his family. Nancy writes of coming to terms with her new single mother status and self-improvement campaign: "I wanted David to return not just to an intact family, but to a better family." Religion and politics are prominently featured, whether David's thoughts on the image versus reality of the American military or Nancy's efforts to persuade fellow Christians to vote for Mitt Romney, a Mormon. Ultimately, she writes, the experience made them "less skittish about duty, and even a tad more in love." An earnest and engaging read that prompts a closer look at patriotism and citizenship, on battlefields and at home. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
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