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A Nurse’s Journey of Service, Struggle, and War

by Susan Luz with Marcus Brotherton

Pub Date: May 4th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60714-631-5
Publisher: Kaplan Publishing

The inspiring, page-turning story of Col. Luz, a 25-year member of the Army Reserves who in 2007 was awarded a Bronze Star for her service in Iraq.

The author teams with Brotherton (We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers, 2009, etc.) to create an engrossing account of her adventurous life. In 2006, her unit was called to active duty in a combat zone. Even though she was 56 at the time, she was undaunted by the rigors of basic training. A nurse with dual specialties—public health and psychiatry—she would be caring for the wounded and establishing community health services for soldiers and Iraqi civilians. As a young woman out of college during the Vietnam War, Luz planned to become an Army nurse. However, because her father—George Luz Sr., of Band of Brothers fame—feared for her safety, she joined the Peace Corps instead. Stationed in a small Brazilian town, she enjoyed her work among the poor, until she was brutally raped and beaten. After a painful period of recovery, she finished her tour of duty, earned a graduate nursing degree and returned to Brazil to work for Project HOPE, this time in a large city. Upon arriving in the United States, she became a school nurse and worked in an inner-city school that resembled a combat zone (“changing dressings on gunshot wounds got to be routine after a while”). Because three of her nephews suffered from cystic fibrosis, she took on a second job, in a psychiatric prison hospital, to help pay their medical bills. Luz offers many fascinating stories about her often hair-raising experiences at home and abroad, and her devotion to public service is admirable and impressive.

Though the author admits to some dark memories that she chooses not to share—“some memories I’ve definitely tried to forget…this is not a ‘tell-all’ book by any means, but a slice of my life as it relates to the greater theme of service”—their omission does nothing to detract from the importance of her story.