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The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time: A Doonesbury Book

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Overview

On a road outside Fallujah, an RPG blows apart a Humvee and upends the life of a former football star. As a medevac chopper swoops down, the wounded Guardsman hears "Not your time, bro. Not today," and his remarkable healing journey begins.

Thousands of U.S. soldiers have suffered grievous wounds in Iraq, but only one of them is a Doonesbury character. The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time chronicles seven months of cutting-edge cartooning, during which B.D.-and readers of the ...

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The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time

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Overview

On a road outside Fallujah, an RPG blows apart a Humvee and upends the life of a former football star. As a medevac chopper swoops down, the wounded Guardsman hears "Not your time, bro. Not today," and his remarkable healing journey begins.

Thousands of U.S. soldiers have suffered grievous wounds in Iraq, but only one of them is a Doonesbury character. The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time chronicles seven months of cutting-edge cartooning, during which B.D.-and readers of the strip-got an up-close schooling in a kind of personal transformation no one seeks.

Deprived not only of leg but also his ubiquitous trademark helmet, B.D. survives first-response Baghdad triage, evacuation to Landstuhl's surgeon-rich environment, and visits by innumerable morale-boosting celebs, both red and blue in hue. He's awed in turn by morphine, take-no-guff nurses, his fellow amps, and his family, including the daughter who hand-delivers succor, one aspirin at a time.

Transferred stateside to Walter Reed's Ward 57, B.D. is inspired by the wisdom of physiatrists, warmed by the dedicated ministrations of real-life fellow-amp heroes like Jim the Milkshake Man, and dazzled by high-tech prostheses that cost more than luxury cars. He's annoyed by his own bouts with self-pity, by the bedside awkwardness of friends more comfortable regarding his stump from e-mail distance, and by Zonk's unwavering commitment to supplementing his care with organic meds.

As their journey continues, B.D. and Boopsie are cared for by Fisher House, a home-next-door-to-the-hospital for families whose lives revolve around therapy. B.D. finds himself painfully engaged in building his future, one sadistically difficult physical therapy session at a time. "To Lash, Helga, and the Marquis!" toast the band of differently limbed brethren, raising their glasses to their PT masters as they prepare for reentry into the ambulatory world.

From rebuilding tissue to rebuilding social skills to rebuilding lives, B.D's inspiring, insightful, and darkly humorous story confirms that it can take a village, or at least a ward, to raise a soldier when he's gone down. "Thank you for getting blown up," offers one of B.D.'s visiting players. Replies the coach, "Just doing my job."

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Editorial Reviews

Kurt Andersen
The Long Road Home, given its absence of any explicit ideological line, reminded me why ''Doonesbury'' has managed to endure so long and to be so fine so much of the time. Trudeau is a great comic writer whose devotion to politics and capacity for moral outrage are apparently undiminished after 37 years, but he is a great comic writer first, with the intellectual honesty that implies … Garry Trudeau, who by all rights should be phoning it in by now, still takes his responsibilities to the strip and his audience seriously, and in service to them still takes large and interesting risks.
— The New York Times
KLIATT
B.D., the Doonesbury character who never takes off his helmet, is wounded in combat in Iraq, and his leg is amputated above the knee; The Long Road Home chronicles the stages of his rehabilitation and eventual return home. This graphic novel is pretty much apolitical, which is a relief, and instead focuses on B.D. and his family—Boopsie (wife), Sam (daughter) and Zonker (nanny). However one feels about Doonesbury (to me, it stopped being funny years ago), The Long Road Home is powerful stuff about a timely issue. Trudeau does a fine job of juxtaposing humor and seriousness; he doesn't preach or get sappy; and he is donating the proceeds from the book to a good cause: Fisher House, an organization that aids families of patients receiving medical care at military and VA medical centers. I also admire the fact that Trudeau is not afraid to let his characters age, change and even die. The Long Road Home contains the aftermath of one combat sequence, and is highly recommended for libraries with graphic novel collections. KLIATT Codes: JSA*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2005, Andrews McMeel, 93p. illus., Ages 12 to adult.
—George Galuschak
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780740753855
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Series: Doonesbury Series
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 516,168
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

G. B. Trudeau has been drawing his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip for more than forty years. In addition to cartooning, Trudeau has worked in theater, film, and television. He also has been a contributing columnist for the New York Times op-ed page and later an essayist for Time magazine. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jane Pauley. They have three grown children.

Trudeau maintains a vivid online presence at www.doonesbury.com and offers deployed troops a forum via his milblog The Sandbox.

Online:
www.doonesbury.com

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