Thursday, May 29, 2008

Upcoming Review: Final Salute

I have just had half of my wisdom teeth removed and am taking a break from eating Jello and icing my right cheek to give a quick recommendation for a new book. Several years ago, Jim Sheeler and Todd Heisler followed several casualty assistance officers in the Marines to watch as these men had the daunting and unenviable task of telling families the worst news possible. Their experiences became the basis for the article "Final Salute," which was published in the Rocky Mountain News, won a number of recognitions and awards, including well-deserved Pulitzer Prize. Now Jim Sheeler has written a book called Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives that includes his experiences with Major Steve Beck and other CAOs. I just picked up the book today and am already halfway through it. I hope to finish it by this weekend so that I can get a review up on Monday.

For those of you who haven't read the original article, I strongly recommend that you do so. Although the article is about the Marines who died in the war, it is surprisingly apolitical and does not have a hidden agenda. The Rocky Mountain News site also has several slide shows narrated by Major Steve Beck and Katherine Cathey, whose husband died in Iraq. Just a quick warning: read it when you have plenty of time (it is a little lengthy).