The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family by Martha Raddatz

Thousands of miles apart, the American soldiers serving in Baghdad and their families in Fort Hood, Texas awoke to what promised to be an ordinary Sunday: patrols or guard duty for some of the troops, and church services or brunch for some of the families, with the hope of emails or phone calls from overseas later in the evening.

By the end of that agonizing day, the distance between them would never feel greater.

Sadr City is a densely populated area of downtown Baghdad. In the eleven months following the invasion, it had seen comparatively little violence. However, on April 4th, 2004, a patrol from the 1st Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment was drawn into a violent ambush by followers of the influential Shi’a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and extraction attempts met with even stronger resistance. According to the ground commander, Gen. Pete Chiarelli, it was the day the war shifted “from a peacekeeping mission to a full-fledged fight against an insurgency.”

The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family recounts every moment of that day on both sides of the world. Eight soldiers would lose their lives, along with 57 wounded. Martha Raddatz has traveled to Iraq sixteen times in the last five years, and her vivid, precise descriptions of the dense urban terrain – and the experiences of the soldiers within it – place the maelstrom of that day firmly within the realm of imagination. She also explores what it means to have a husband, wife, or child deployed in Iraq, as long-married couples and newlyweds alike endure the pain of absence, the small comforts of the Internet, and the knowledge that the worst possible news could arrive with a knock on the door.

Martha Raddatz is the chief White House correspondent for ABC News and is the network’s former national security correspondent. She has won three Emmy awards for her coverage of national security and foreign policy issues, and appears regularly on “World News with Charles Gibson,” “Nightline,” and “Good Morning America”. In addition to her work for ABC News, she is a frequent guest on PBS’s “Washington Week”, “Charlie Rose”, and “Larry King Live”.

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