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In April 2004, 22-year-old Marine corporal Jason Dunham was leading a patrol in far western Iraq when he encountered a convoy of cars. Jason rushed to the third car to check for weapons, and a struggle with the driver ensued. Suddenly, as Jason's comrades hurried over to assist him, the insurgent dropped a grenade. In that moment, Corporal Dunham made a decision that would change his life and the lives of his men forever; he clamped his Kevlar helmet over the grenade.
The Gift of Valor chronicles the events that brought Jason to that fateful patrol, and the second half of this engrossing book is a minute account of that awful day, Jason's journey through the military medical system, and his struggle to survive. Phillips, an embedded reporter for The Wall Street Journal, immerses readers in the everyday lives of the brave young Marines serving in Iraq with the chaos of combat around them. A remarkable tale of heroism, selfless sacrifice, and leadership, The Gift of Valor is a sobering story of a small-town boy who became the first American nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor in over a decade. This brave young solider had a profound affect on all who met him, and his story, so ably told by Phillips, cannot help but affect readers, too. (Fall 2005 Selection)