Walk in My Combat Boots: True Stories from America’s Bravest Warriors

Little, Brown. Feb. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780316429092. $30. BIOG
Best-selling author Patterson (Deadly Cross) and retired army First Sergeant Matt Eversmann (coeditor, The Battle for Mogadishu), with Chris Mooney (creative writing, Harvard Univ.; Blood World), conducted numerous interviews with veterans of the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for this volume of engaging remembrances. Each interview is approximately four to eight pages, and includes insight into military life and those who chose this path. Several stories include women who, in addition to experiencing basic and advanced training challenges, endured sexual harassment and prejudice. Despite this, the interviews are affirming as the women thrive and become respected noncommissioned and commissioned officers. Throughout, common threads emerge, including always prevalent threats of sudden death from snipers and improvised explosive devices, calls to serve inspired by family members who were veterans, and how 9/11 kindled patriotism. Most of these vets suffer degrees of post-traumatic stress that sometimes destroyed marriages and lives. One interviewee founded Stop Soldier Suicide because more vets were dying by suicide than from enemy killings. Among some of the most poignant interviews are with members of the National Guard who served near Ground Zero on 9/11.
VERDICT Readers of military service accounts will be absorbed.
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