No journalist is better situated to reckon with the psychology of war than David Finkel.
In The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel shadowed the men of a US infantry battalion as they carried out a gruelling 15-month tour that changed all of them forever.
Now, Finkel follows many of those same men back home, in a journey that is less about geography than of psychological terrain, undertaken by people trying to heal or at the very least survive.
In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel writes with tremendous compassion about the soldiers, and about their partners and children: the heartbroken wife who wonders privately whether her returned husband is going to get better, or kill her; and the heroic victims, with the fresh taste of a gun in their mouths, who will either make the journey back to sanity or to final ruin. Finkel takes us everywhere that the war is seeping into as it infects America: to the courtrooms that are being filled with divorce and abuse cases, and worse; to bars; and to Fort Riley, in the mental-health clinic to which the army is outsourcing its post-traumatic stress disorder cases.
Thank You for Your Service is an immense act of understanding - shocking but always riveting, unflinching but deeply humane.