The warts-and-all memoirs of a soldier who excelled at the difficult job of being both a warrior and a healer.

MY JOURNEY AS A COMBAT MEDIC

FROM DESERT STORM TO OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM

Retired combat medic recounts his 20-year career, from the burning oilfields of the Gulf War to the treacherous outposts of Afghanistan.

With his stomach snarled in knots and sweat stinging his eyes, Thibeault jumped from the Army aircraft, the jolt of his open parachute giving way to a gentle descent back to earth. It was 1990, and he had survived his first jump at Airborne School. Less than a year later, the rookie medic would find himself in Operation Desert Storm, treating Syrian soldiers whose limbs had been blown off. Thibeault decided to leave the active Army to study nursing, but discovered he still yearned to “be green.” So he joined the Army National Guard. Now a seasoned combat medic and registered nurse, his skills would be tested when sent to Afghanistan in 2004. In rapid-fire style, the author describes helping save the life of an Afghan girl who swallowed insecticide. While in many ways a typical military autobiography, Thibeault’s account is noteworthy for the frank way he describes the grittiest aspects of his experience. Whether it’s the rotten stench of Kabul, prostitutes in Korea or eating monkey paw soup in Ecuador, the author’s honest depiction of what he encountered gives the text a high degree of authenticity. His candor reaches a painful climax in his own struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “I had a rage inside me,” he writes. “It felt like fire was constantly shooting out of my hands.” The book’s timeline is difficult to follow, but aspiring healthcare professionals will glean lessons from a man equally at home in an Army field hospital or an inner city clinic. Thibeault is sometimes critical of his military experiences, but he concludes that being a medic is “the best job in the world.” Ultimately, the book is two journeys: an insider’s account of battlefield medicine, and the author’s own catharsis as he recalls the wounds he dressed for others and the trauma he faced himself.

The warts-and-all memoirs of a soldier who excelled at the difficult job of being both a warrior and a healer.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1934922651

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • National Book Award Finalist

A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

more