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Blood Brothers: Among the Soldiers of Ward…

Blood Brothers: Among the Soldiers of Ward 57

by Michael Weisskopf

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When Time magazine reporter Michael Weisskopf went to Iraq to do a cover story on the U.S. soldier as Time's "Person of the Year" for 2003, he came back with the story of a lifetime. Problem is, it wasn't the cover story. It was a story that came from losing his right hand to a grenade.

As the first reporter wounded in a war ever afforded the privilege of being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Weisskopf was in a unique position to view and truly understand the care and treatment provided battlefield amputees. From that position, he brings us Blood Brothers, the story of soldiers treated on Ward 57 of the hospital, the amputee ward.

Weisskopf was in a Humvee on patrol with the First Armored Division in a district of northwest Baghdad on December 10, 2003. He heard a clanking sound, thinking it was just one of the rocks youth tended to throw at the Humvees. He looked down, saw a small dark oval, picked it up and began to toss it over the side of the vehicle. "I may as well have plucked volcanic lava from a crater," he recalls. "I could feel the flesh of my palm liquefying."

Thus starts Weisskopf's journey into a world of pain, medicine, rehabilitation and courage. At Walter Reed, he comes to know a variety of soldiers who have lost one or both hands, arms, feet or legs or any combination of them. Weisskopf tells the stories of three of them as much as his own. He takes us through not only his own experiences, but the medical, rehabilitative and personal trials and tribulations of a variety of Ward 57's patients, focusing in particular on Pete Damon, Luis Rodriguez and Bobby Isaacs even after their discharge from the hospital. None of them are alone or particularly unique. By the time Weisskopf was injured, the Iraq War had produced twice the rate of amputations of every war of the 20th century, except Vietnam, for which there were no good statistics.

Read balance of review at http://prairieprogressive.com/?p=824
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805078606, Hardcover)

A powerful account of eighteen months in the lives of three soldiers and a
journalist, all patients in Ward 57, Walter Reed's amputee wing

Time magazine's Michael Weisskopf was riding through Baghdad in the back of U.S. Army Humvee, an embedded reporter alongside soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, when he heard a metallic thunk. Looking down, he saw a small, dark object rolling inches from his feet. He reached down and took it in his hand. Then everything went black.

Weisskopf lost his hand and was sent for treatment to Ward 57 at Walter Reed Medical Center, the wing of the armed forces hospital reserved for amputees. There he crossed paths with Pete Damon, Luis Rodriguez, and Bobby Isaacs, three soldiers whose stories he learned during months in the ward. Alongside these men, Weisskopf navigated the bewildering process of recovery and reentry, and began reconciling life before that day in Baghdad with everything that would follow his release.

Blood Brothers is the story of this difficult passage--for Weiss-kopf, Damon, Rodriguez, Isaacs, and hundreds of others--a story that began with healthy men heading off to a war zone, and continued through the months in Ward 57 as they prepared their minds and bodies for a different life than the one they left. A chronicle of devastation and recovery, this is a deeply affecting portrait of the private aftermath of combat casualties. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:05 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A war correspondent who lost his hand during a bombing in Iraq describes the incident that changed his life and his treatment at Ward 57 at Walter Reed Medical Center, a wing where he met soldiers and fellow amputees.

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