A book in which a young soldier who joined the National Guard to finance his college education and found himself experiencing a year of war in Iraq was pre-empted for Riverhead by Sean McDonald. The deal was actually done last November, but the publisher waited until author John Crawford was safely back home before reporting it. The young Floridian spent his nights while his unit was on duty in Baghdad tapping out his thoughts and experiences on the company's laptop, and an embedded journalist with the unit, intrigued, put him in touch with agent Anna Ghosh at Scovil Chichak & Galen. She soon had enough material for a book, the proposal for which was snapped up by McDonald for a substantial advance; it will be published next year. According to McDonald, Crawford's account of the fears, trials, camaraderie and everyday anguish of service in Iraq shows "a real writer" at work.