On March 21, 2003, while leading a rifle platoon into combat, Marine Lieutenant Shane Childers became the first combat fatality of the Iraq War. In this gripping, beautifully written personal history, award-winning writer Rinker Buck chronicles Shane's death and his life, exploring its meaning for his family, his fellow soldiers, and the country itself. It is the story of an intelligent, gifted soldier who embodied the soul of today's all-volunteer warrior class; of the town of Powell, Wyoming, which had taken Shane into its heart; and of the Marine detail sent to deliver the news to the Childers family and the extraordinary connection that formed between them.
At once an inspiring account of commitment to the military and a moving story of family and devotion, Shane Comes Home rises above politics to capture the life of a remarkable young man who came to symbolize the heart of America during a difficult time.
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Rinker Buck is a staff writer for the Hartford Courant and a former reporter for New York magazine, Life, and many other national publications. The article that launched this book won the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award. He is the author of the acclaimed Flight of Passage and First Job and lives in northwest Connecticut.From Booklist :
*Starred Review* The author of the superb coming-of-age aviation story Flight of Passage(1997) matches its quality in this account of the first American soldier killed in combat in the present war in Iraq, Shane Childers, First Lieutenant, U.S. Marines, and his "homecoming." Childers was extraordinary--dedicated and intense about whatever he undertook as well as possessed of a vocation to be a warrior--and he became an extraordinary marine. His intensity sometimes made him rather alarming; his fiancee admitted to being a little frightened of him. And he is not the only extraordinary human being Buck portrays in the book with a genius for characterization for which many novelists would give their eyeteeth. For one, there is Captain Kevin Hutchinson, who performed far above and beyond the call of duty as a casualty assistance and calls officer, ably assisted by Sergeant Barry Morgan, a real old-line marine. Childers' family rose to what can only be called noble heights in dealing with their devastating loss, and all of Powell, Wyoming, participated in Shane's homecoming, from the funeral director outward into the rest of the community. There hasn't so far been a better portrait of the wartime American military at its best, nor one of the kind of family and community that produce a very high percentage of the men and women called to go to war. Roland Green
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