The Gift of Valor: A War Story

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The Gift of Valor: A War Story

by Michael M. Phillips

Crown Publishing Group | May 9, 2006 | Trade Paperback |

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Every day ordinary young Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq, with the same bravery, honor, and sense of duty that have distinguished American troops throughout history. One of these is Jason Dunham, a twenty-two-year-old Marine corporal from the one-stoplight town of Scio, New York, whose stunning story reporter Michael M. Phillips discovered while he was embedded with a Marine infantry battalion in the Iraqi desert. Corporal Dunham was on patrol near the Syrian border, on April 14, 2004, when a black-clad Iraqi leaped out of a car and grabbed him around his neck. Fighting hand-to-hand in the dirt, Dunham saw his attacker drop a grenade and made the instantaneous decision to place his own helmet over the explosive in the hope of containing the blast and protecting his men. When the smoke cleared, Dunham's helmet was in shreds, and the corporal lay face down in his own blood. The Marines beside him were seriously wounded. Dunham was subsequently nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor.

Phillips's minute-by-minute chronicle of the chaotic fighting that raged throughout the area and culminated in Dunham's injury provides a grunt's-eye view of war as it's being fought today-fear, confusion, bravery, and suffering set against a brotherhood forged in combat. His account of Dunham's eight-day journey home and of his parents' heartrending reunion with their son powerfully illustrates the cold brutality of war and the fragile humanity of those who fight it. Dunham leaves an indelible mark upon all who know his story, from the doctors and nurses who treat him, to the readers of the original Wall Street Journal article that told of his singular act of valor.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: May 9, 2006

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0767920384

ISBN - 13: 9780767920384

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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– More About This Product –

The Gift of Valor: A War Story

The Gift of Valor: A War Story

by Michael M. Phillips

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: May 9, 2006

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0767920384

ISBN - 13: 9780767920384

About the Book

This embedded reporter's coverage of the war in Iraq provides a view of fear, confusion, bravery, and suffering set against a brotherhood forged in combat. He focuses on the actions of Jason Dunham, a 22-year-old Marine corporal, who became the first serviceman in Iraq nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Read from the Book

I  |  Kilo Company Husaybah, Iraq Corporal Dunham didn''t play head games. Life for the new Marines, the young guys still in shock from boot camp, was already tough enough, and Dunham didn''t see the point of making them even more miserable just for kicks. But Jason''s was a minority view, and it was a time-honored practice in the Marine Corps for senior enlisted men to mess with the minds of the boots, as the new guys were called. Marine commanders had in recent years tried to eliminate dangerous hazing rituals and had prohibited, among others, practices referred to in Marine Corps rules as wetting down, flopping, psychological sit-ups, pink bellies, thrashing, ordnance kisses, and Beretta bites. Commanders had also restricted the tradition of forcing Marines to do push-ups or run if they erred in small ways--calling a corporal a lance corporal, for instance, or dropping a magazine full of bullets. A senior Marine could order such punishment only if he himself did the same exercise at the same time. Nonetheless, most men in Dunham''s battalion--Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, or 3/7 for short--would automatically drop and do thirty-seven push-ups if they let their rifle fall to the ground, even if nobody told them to do so. That was a matter of simple integrity, in the Marines'' view. Captain Trent Gibson, Kilo Company''s commander, and Lieutenant Bull Robinson, Corporal Dunham''s platoon commander, did push-ups if they slipped up on the names of any of t
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From the Publisher

Every day ordinary young Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq, with the same bravery, honor, and sense of duty that have distinguished American troops throughout history. One of these is Jason Dunham, a twenty-two-year-old Marine corporal from the one-stoplight town of Scio, New York, whose stunning story reporter Michael M. Phillips discovered while he was embedded with a Marine infantry battalion in the Iraqi desert. Corporal Dunham was on patrol near the Syrian border, on April 14, 2004, when a black-clad Iraqi leaped out of a car and grabbed him around his neck. Fighting hand-to-hand in the dirt, Dunham saw his attacker drop a grenade and made the instantaneous decision to place his own helmet over the explosive in the hope of containing the blast and protecting his men. When the smoke cleared, Dunham's helmet was in shreds, and the corporal lay face down in his own blood. The Marines beside him were seriously wounded. Dunham was subsequently nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor.

Phillips's minute-by-minute chronicle of the chaotic fighting that raged throughout the area and culminated in Dunham's injury provides a grunt's-eye view of war as it's being fought today-fear, confusion, bravery, and suffering set against a brotherhood forged in combat. His account of Dunham's eight-day journey home and of his parents' heartrending reunion with their son powerfully illustrates the cold brutality of war and the fragile humanity of those who fight it. Dunham leaves an indelible mark upon all who know his story, from the doctors and nurses who treat him, to the readers of the original Wall Street Journal article that told of his singular act of valor.

From the Jacket

"One of the first great books to be spawned by the war in Iraq . . . Phillips has captured the fear, bravery and confusion of the war." -Tucson Citizen

"Affecting . . . moving." -New York Times Book Review


"The story of extraordinary valor on the part of a brave marine."
-H. Norman Schwarzkopf, General, U.S. Army, Retired


"Stands head and shoulders above previous Iraq books."
-Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute

About the Author

MICHAEL M. PHILLIPS, a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, has done four tours in Iraq with the Third Battalion, Seventh Marines. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children.

Editorial Reviews

"One of the first great books to be spawned by the war in Iraq . . . Phillips has captured the fear, bravery and confusion of the war." -Tucson Citizen

"Affecting . . . moving." -New York Times Book Review


"The story of extraordinary valor on the part of a brave marine."
-H. Norman Schwarzkopf, General, U.S. Army, Retired


"Stands head and shoulders above previous Iraq books."
-Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute
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