I am a Soldier, Too : The Jessica Lynch Story

Version: Abridged
Author: Rick Bragg , Jessica Lynch
Narrator: Rick Bragg
Genres: Biography & Memoir
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Published In: November 2003
# of Units: 3 CDs
Length: 3 hours, 35 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

On March 23, 2003, Private First Class Jessica Lynch was crossing the Iraqi desert with the 507th Maintenance Company when the convoy she was traveling in was ambushed, caught in enemy crossfire. All four soldiers traveling with her died in the attack. Lynch, perhaps the most famous P.O.W. this country has ever known, was taken prisoner and held captive in an Iraqi hospital for nine days. Her rescue galvanized the nation; she became a symbol of victory, of innocence and courage, of heroism; and then, just as quickly, of deceit and manipulation. What never changed, as the nation veered wildly between these extremes of mythmaking, was her story, the events and the experiences of a nineteen-year-old girl caught up in what was and will remain the battle of her life: what she saw, what she felt, what she experienced, what she survived.

I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story is the story this country has hungered for, as told by Lynch herself to Pulitzer Prize–winning author Rick Bragg. In it, she tells what really happened in the ambush; what really happened in the hospital; what really happened, from her perspective, on the night of the rescue. More than this, the collaboration between Lynch and Bragg captures who she is and where she's from: her childhood in Palestine, West Virginia, a lovely, rugged stretch of land always referred to as the hollow, where she rode horses, played softball, and was crowned Miss Congeniality at the Wirt County Fair the same year the steer she raised took a ribbon. It reveals her relationships with her older brother, Greg Jr., also an enlisted soldier, and her younger sister, Brandi; with her father, Greg Sr., a forty-three-year-old truck driver who has at times worked construction, cut hay, cut firewood, hauled timber, hauled concrete, run a bulldozer, run a backhoe, cleaned houses, and dug graves; and with her mother, Deadra, a city girl from Parkersburg who moved to the hollow and met her future husband when he was eleven and she was nine. And it describes what happened to the Lynch family in the agony of Jessica's capture and captivity; the terror and disbelief that cascaded through an entire town at the news of her disappearance into enemy hands; the joy of her rescue; and the long work of healing and recovery that lie ahead. Jessica Lynch has won the hearts and minds of Americans. In the hands of Rick Bragg, a renowned chronicler of American lives, her tale is told at last, with grace, and care, and astonishing candor.

Reviews (1)

I am a Soldier, Too : The Jessica Lynch...abridged

Written by Pauline on October 5th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

The first disc was pretty boring. I almost stopped listening. Good thing I didn't because starting the second disc comes with touching heroic human stories of what Jessica encounters during her ordeal. God bless her.

Author Details

Author Details

Bragg, Rick

"My Grandfather on my daddy's side and my grandma on my momma's side used to try and cuss their miseries away. They could out-cuss any damn body I have ever seen. I am only an amateur cusser at best, but I inherited other things from these people who grew up on the ridges and deep in the hollows of northeastern Alabama, the foothills of the Appalachians. They taught me, on a thousand front porch nights, as a million jugs passed from hand to hand, how to tell a story.

I make my living at it now, as a national correspondent for The New York Times, based in my native South (Atlanta). It was my dream to do this someday, but some things even I was afraid to dream.

In 1996, I was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, for what the judges called ""elegantly written stories on contemporary America."" They included stories on the country sheriff who caught Susan Smith, an Alabama prison where old inmates go to die, a Mississippi washerwoman who became a national hero, and the nightmare bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. I also won the prestigious American Society of Newspaper Editor's Distinguished Writing Award, for the second time. I have won more than 40 journalism awards, including several awards that might have actually helped people.

But the best thing that happened to me in 1996 was the contract for this book (All Over But The Shoutin'), which allowed me to keep a promise I had made to my mother--a woman who picked cotton, scrubbed floors and took in washing and ironing--who went 18 years without a new dress so I could have school clothes.

With the advance from this book, I bought her a house, the first house she ever owned.

I teach writing at the Poynter Institute for media studies, at National Writers Workshops around the country. I taught some workshops at Harvard, and several newspapers have asked me to do in-house writing workshops, including The Times.

My stories are included in several ""best of"" collections of newspaper writing. I have written for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, and others.

For good or bad, I am kind of unusual for a Times man. I have been at The Times for just three years, for the first six months on Metro in New York, writing about the homeless, violence, welfare hotels, other miseries, then covered Haiti for more than two months during the worst of the killing there in the late summer and the fall of 1994. I came home to find that I had been promoted to the national desk. They sent me home, almost, to Atlanta.

Before The Times, I worked briefly at The Los Angeles Times, a failed experiment, and before that as a roving national correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times.

In 1992-93, I was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, the only real college I ever had. I think I was filling their white trash quota. I went just six months to Jacksonville State University, in Alabama, in the 1970s.

Before the Nieman, I was the St. Petersburg Times Miami Bureau Chief, covering south Florida, Haiti, the outbreak of the Gulf War, and other balmy places. Before Florida, I was a reporter in my native Alabama, at The Birmingham News, Anniston Star, Talladega Daily Home and Jacksonville News. I wrote about cockfights, speed trap towns, serial killers, George Wallace, Bear Bryant, and Richard Petty.

I was born in a small town hospital in northeastern Alabama on July 26, 1959. My momma went into labor about three-quarters of the way through the ""Ten Commandments,"" which was showing at the Midway Drive-In. I am not making this up. I think it's in Chapter Four.

Since then, I have lived in Jacksonville, Anniston and Birmingham, all in Alabama, in Clearwater, Bradenton, Miami and St. Petersburg, in Florida, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, Los Angeles, the corner of 110th and Broadway, New York City, and now Atlanta. I spend at least a quarter of the year in New Orleans, for The Times.

I am seldom at home. I am not married. If I had a dog, it would starve. "