The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family

Overview

From ABC White House correspondent Martha Raddatz comes the story of a brutal forty-eight-hour firefight that conveys in harrowing detail the effects of war not just on the soldiers but also on the families waiting back at home.

In April 2004, soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division were on a routine patrol in Sadr City, Iraq, when they came under surprise attack. Over the course of the next forty-eight hours, eight Americans would be killed and more than seventy wounded. Back ...

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Overview

From ABC White House correspondent Martha Raddatz comes the story of a brutal forty-eight-hour firefight that conveys in harrowing detail the effects of war not just on the soldiers but also on the families waiting back at home.

In April 2004, soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division were on a routine patrol in Sadr City, Iraq, when they came under surprise attack. Over the course of the next forty-eight hours, eight Americans would be killed and more than seventy wounded. Back home, as news of the attack began filtering in, the families of these same men, neighbors in Fort Hood, Texas, feared the worst. In time, some of the women in their circle would receive "the call"—the notification that a husband or brother had been killed in action. So the families banded together in anticipation of the heartbreak that was certain to come.

The firefight in Sadr City marked the beginning of the Iraqi insurgency, and Martha Raddatz has written perhaps the most riveting account of hand-to-hand combat to emerge from the war in Iraq. This intimate portrait of the close-knit community of families Stateside—the unsung heroes of the military—distinguishes The Long Road Home from other stories of modern warfare, showing the horror, terror, bravery, and fortitude not just of the soldiers who were wounded and killed but also of the wives and children whose lives now are forever changed.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
War has many fronts, many of which are not on the battlefield. ABC News journalist Martha Raddatz has spent several years both in Washington as the network's chief White House correspondent and on the ground in Iraq. In The Road Home, her first book, she follows the troops of the 1st Cavalry Division as they head off on their Sadr City patrols, then picks up the stories of the mothers, spouses, and families they left behind. This first-person, split-screen approach reveals the full experience of war more realistically than either a combat narrative or a home-front memoir. Vivid; personal; timely.
Andrew Carroll
… Martha Raddatz's The Long Road Home is a masterpiece of literary nonfiction that rivals any war-related classic that has preceded it … this is a book that will last, and it will do so for the same reason that any great work endures -- because, through the strength and grace of its prose, it pulls us into a world that is simultaneously foreign and familiar and makes us care about the individuals who inhabit this place long after we have closed the covers. And because, one by one, we will pass the book along to others with the only words of praise that really matter: "Here, you've got to read this."
— The Washington Post
Seattle Times
Extraordinary...an important and profoundly moving story....Raddatz is a top-notch reporter and a masterful storyteller.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A poignant piece of work that will grab and hold you....Raddatz writes for women as well as for men... lets people tell their stories in their own words, from the choked-up phrases of the wives to the F-bombs dropped so promiscuously by the soldiers. Her dialogue just smells like cordite in combat.
Janet Maslin
Ms. Raddatz conveys who these men were (one was Specialist Casey Sheehan, whose mother, Cindy, would later become such a visible opponent of the war) and what their hellish experience was like. Her account has grit and high drama.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Violent resistance in post-invasion Iraq kicked into high gear on April 4, 2004, when American troops in Sadr City faced a massive assault that claimed eight soldiers' lives and wounded more than 70 others. Raddatz, an Emmy-winning correspondent for ABC News, clearly aims to equal the storytelling in Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Downin her account of the battle, and hits the mark with distinction. Extensive interviews with the commanding officers of the army's 1st Cavalry division and the soldiers pinned down in the streets provide a clear narrative of how U.S. troops, prepared for "a babysitting mission," found themselves in a bloodbath, as efforts to rescue the first soldiers fired upon met with even greater resistance from Mahdi militiamen who did not hesitate to use small children as frontline attackers. Heroic moments abound, like Casey Sheehan's volunteering to take another man's place on the rescue team, which resulted in his death. Raddatz touches upon the reaction of his mother, noted antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, but this is just one of many perspectives from families on the home front. The gripping account eschews politics and focuses squarely on the soldiers and their sacrifices. (Mar. 1)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Many mark April 4, 2004, as the beginning of the full-fledged Iraq insurgency. On that day, a platoon of U.S. soldiers engaged in helping the part of Baghdad called Sadr City deal with horrible sanitation problems and found themselves attacked by hundreds, if not thousands, of members of the Mahdi Militia, a creation of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The first thing the soldiers noticed was an eerie absence of people on the street. Then they began to take withering fire from rooftops, windows, and doors-seemingly from everywhere. The platoon, as it sought its way out, found that the streets were strewn with all variety of junk meant to impede their escape. The irony of the battle sank deep into the minds of the soldiers, who viewed themselves as helpers of the populace, not their enemy, and who had liberated these same Shi'ites from Saddam Hussein. As the day dragged on, the Americans were appalled when organized mobs of women and children marched down the alley from both directions, camouflaging rank upon rank of militiamen. The soldiers had no choice but to fire into the crowds. Hundreds of Iraqis died, as did eight Americans, including Casey Sheehan, whose mother, Cindy, has become one of the most prominent antiwar activists. Raddatz, a well-known journalist and an award-winning correspondent for ABC News, interweaves battle vignettes with vividly written descriptions of the people on the home front-wives, children, mothers and fathers, and fellow soldiers. The author's declarative and journalistic writing style brings a blunt, matter-of-fact passion to the descriptions of the soldiers and their families. This book is a triumph of description and horror; Raddatz studiouslyavoids any political carping, letting the events tell their own story, however one wants to interpret them. Narrator Joyce Bean is skilled and effective as well; she uses subtle changes in accent and tone to individualize the personalities as they stride across the audio landscape. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
—Don Wismer

Kirkus Reviews
The personal stories of U.S. soldiers caught in a deadly 2004 ambush in Sadr City that the author believes marked a turning point, when the war's mission shifted from peacekeeping and nation-building to battling an insurgency. ABC News Chief White House correspondent Raddatz, who has reported frequently from Iraq, displays a compassionate heart in her first book, which is also notable for its cinematic narrative structure. Chapters are short and focused. The author whisks us rapidly from Iraq to Texas to Alabama and frequently shifts her lens from the killing zone to the home front and back. Raddatz is comfortable writing about high-tech weapons and the intricacies of urban warfare. She doesn't shy away from gore, either: After a battle, soldiers clean from vehicles the remains of their comrades' brains, "soft and slippery and horrifying." She was able to coax intimate revelations from combatants, their officers, their families; she makes use of this material in italicized passages that voice the players' thoughts. Raddatz's principal interest is in the human beings caught up in the war. She tells their backstories, describes their experiences in high school, their marriages, their parents. She shows us what the wives were doing back at Fort Hood, reveals how some of them received the awful news that a husband had fallen. Her message appears to be that we are asking some sweet young people to do some awful things. Two-thirds of the way through, a surprise-the story of the death of Casey Sheehan, son of antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan. A horrifying story, clearly told, though some readers may regret that the author stays so far in the background that she is nearly invisible.
From the Publisher
"This book is a triumph.... Narrator Joyce Bean is skilled and effective as well; she uses subtle changes in accent and tone to individualize the personalities as they stride across the audio landscape." —-Library Journal Audio Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425219348
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/2/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 297,510
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author


Martha Raddatz is a senior national security correspondent at ABC.

Joyce Bean is an accomplished audiobook narrator and director. In addition to being an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, she has been nominated multiple times for a prestigious Audie Award, including for Good-bye and Amen by Beth Gutcheon.

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Great book

    Great book one of the most real war storys i have ever read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    Read it

    No other book besides "gandhi the man" has affected my life so profoundly. reading this book is something that i encourage everyone, especially in the u.s. to do.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Highly recommended!

    I found out about this book from my husband who was in the fire fight during that time. It helped me realize what he was going through with the loss of a comrade and all the others that were wounded during it. I was also able to know how he helped save people and to help get everyone out of that situation.
    I cried during it of course because you never would think it would happen to a family member. But I thank you Martha for taking the time to write this book.

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  • Posted January 18, 2010

    Hit Me Hard

    This book hit me in ways that I wasnt expecting. It told a story about a group of couragous men who put their lives on the line for their country. The way they united as one group insipred me the most. The connection they had with one and other couldn't be experienced in any other way. Guys like Troy Demony and David Mathias had families and kids that they had to worry about at the same time as they were in battle. They had to deal with the fact that they were away from their family, fighting for not only their freedom, but everyone else's. The combination of loss and sacrafice made this book more touching and every bit more real. I recommend this book 1000% because it shows the hardship that really goes on in a soldiers life and it doesnt butter it up in any way. It tells detail and is a pretty in-your-face book. It is good for people to see how things like that go, because after reading this, you begin to appreciate life more and gain so much more respect for people in the military. Definately a MUST READ!

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  • Posted January 15, 2010

    cadet

    When i first read this book i thought it would just talk about the familys but as i got into the story i reilized how badly it was and how much of a tole it took out on the solders.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2007

    Brilliant, detailed, and moving

    This is one of the books that I will never forget reading. I purchased it after hearing an interview with Ms. Raddatz. I began reading it and completed it just a few hours later. I was unable to take a break. Whether or not you believe we should have taken up the operation in Iraq (I do), politics are set aside as you become immersed in the special brotherhood of these soldiers. I'll never look at a soldier the same way again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2007

    WOW

    I am telling everyone I know to go get this book! I really do believe each and every person should read it, again and again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2007

    This book will bring tears to your eyes

    I have never ever read a book that made you feel, not just say what bravery and sacrifice is. Very emotional book to read. Our soldiers are heroes, let's not ever forget that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2007

    Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family

    I found this book to be a very thorough and accurate description of the unrelenting bravery of our military, the hell our soldiers go through during combat, and the emotional strain that the families back home endure. The Long Road Home is very well written and should appeal to a variety of audiences, both male and female. It is important for the American public to fully understand what going to war means for our military and its families, and Martha Raddatz has captured this impeccably in her book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2007

    Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family

    I found The Long Road Home to be a very thorough and accurate description of the unrelenting bravery of our military, the hell our soldiers go through during combat, and the emotional strain that the families back home endure. The book is very well written and should appeal to a variety of audiences, both male and female. It is important for the American public to fully understand what going to war means for our military and its families, and Martha Raddatz has captured this impeccably in her book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An eye opener

    This is a terrific true bird¿s eye view of life on the ground in Iraq especially starting with April 2004 Sade City bloodbath that killed eight American troops. TV journalist Martha Raddatz interviews the soldiers caught in street fighting against the Mahdi militia in what was considered a babysitting mission until all hell broke out. The author also takes the audience back to the states to meet family members who lost loved ones. There are no political spins like recent claims the bombing of the mosque last year started the insurgency. Or even a worse lie that the American people are sacrificing to bring democracy to Iraq, Ms. Raddatz makes it clear from one small concise chapter to the next that in the United States only the soldiers and their family members are sacrificing. What have I given up ¿ nothing not even taxes to pay the war costs or the subsequent reequipping bill while the military in some cases have lost their lives or limbs.--------------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted April 5, 2011

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    Posted February 28, 2009

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    Posted August 7, 2009

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    Posted October 15, 2011

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