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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
"Were you ready?" a young cadet asks Mullaney, a history teacher at the Naval Academy. Is any soldier prepared for the unforgiving minutes they'll face in combat? July 1, 1996, was stamped on Mullaney's military records with an authoritative finality, the date of his entrance to West Point and the beginning of his education as a soldier. West Point grad, Army Ranger, and Rhodes scholar -- years later, his training and preparation land him in Afghanistan. Was the sum of his experience and education sufficient to face the life-changing test before him?
Mullaney was born and raised in Rhode Island, the son of working-class parents, and his story is the extraordinary account of an amazing journey. Eager for the physical and mental challenges of West Point, his plebe's-eye view is at once hilarious and harrowing. The rigors of Army Ranger School readied him for a military career, and the louche pub crawls and intellectual tests at Oxford provided a two-year respite. Deployed to Afghanistan, Mullaney and his platoon face a deadly firefight with Al-Qaeda fighters in which one of his men is killed, forcing Mullaney to question his years of dogged and relentless preparation.
Now, as he watches his younger brother chart a similar course, he recounts his life path, examining his own unforgiving minutes. In the process, Mullaney tells a remarkable story. (Spring 2009 Selection)