Thank You For Your Service | Penguin Random House Canada

Thank You For Your Service

Publisher: Anchor Canada

With a foreword by Roméo Dallaire and an introduction by Carol Off.

No journalist has reckoned with the psychology of war as intimately as David Finkel. In The Good Soldiers, Finkel shadowed the men of the US 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Baghdad as they carried out the grueling fifteen-month "surge" that changed them all forever. Now Finkel has followed many of the same men as they've returned home and struggled to reintegrate - both into their family lives and into society at large.

In the ironically titled Thank You for Your Service, Finkel writes with tremendous compassion not just about the soldiers but about their wives and children. Where do soldiers belong after their homecoming? Is it reasonable, or even possible, to expect them to rejoin their communities as if nothing has happened? And in moments of hardship, who can soldiers turn to if they feel alienated by the world they once lived in? These are the questions Finkel faces as he revisits the brave but shaken men of the 2-16.

More than a work of journalism, Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding -- shocking but always riveting, unflinching but deeply humane, it takes us inside the heads of those who must live the rest of their lives with the realities of war.


“David Finkel delivers one of the most morally responsible works of journalism to emerge from the post 9/11 era. . . . The author gives a clear-eyed, frightening portrayal of precisely what it is like to suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury and what it is like to have the specter of suicide whispering into your ear every day. . . . Astonishing.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Finkel is a vivid and deeply informed writer. His reporting often approaches the level of detail of great journalists like Katherine Boo and Nicholas Lemann, writers who get inside the emotional lives of their subjects without being exploitative. Ultimately, Thank You is an important piece of work, a deep dive into the psychology of a country where a poor job market and a short national memory mean there is almost nothing left but pity for the men and women returning from conflict. While the journalism leading up to the engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan was often sorely lacking, perceptive writers like Finkel have the opportunity now to make some form of amends.”
The Globe and Mail 

“Finkel's ability to embed in these trenches, recording remarkably intimate moments between husband and wife, social worker and patient, is no less valuable than when he did so near explosions less metaphorical. He bears witness, seemingly never sugarcoating or judging either the horrors these soldiers are subjected to by ghosts and guilt, or the ones they themselves inflict upon their loved ones. It is a book that every American should read.”
Los Angeles Times  

“It’s a testament to Finkel’s considerable journalistic skills that this is no sentimental or clichéd work. His vivid descriptions of the minutiae of everyday life provide a fly-on-the-wall observation without judgment. The struggles of the modern soldier that many us have heard about (and some of us have written about) are painted more vividly and intimately than we’ve experienced before.”
The StarTribune 

"If anything can spur the powers-that-be to improve the woefully inadequate services for these emotionally wounded warriors, this book is it ... a searingly intimate true chronicle of after-war life for a group of soldiers returning from Iraq. Finkel’s prose, following the rhythms of the people he shadows, is spare and riveting, and incites both compassion for the wounded and fury at the system. A remarkable, powerful and unforgettable book." 
Toronto Star

“This compassionate and moving study of the effects of war tracks the lives of battlefield survivors and exposes unexpected new conflicts they face before their fight finally ends for good. . . . Books like this aren't likely to bring an end to war anytime soon, but Thank You for Your Service should be mandatory reading, especially for young people who naively believe all those advertisements promising an exciting career in the armed forces.”
Winnipeg Free Press 

“Finkel has written an exquisite piece of journalism: he got to know his subjects well enough to plausibly inhabit them, which makes the scenes in which soldiers put shaky guns to their own heads particularly heartbreaking. . . . This is a book more about struggle than happy endings. It is unflinching, remarkable and guaranteed to further infuriate anyone who has lamented George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.”

“A searingly intimate true chronicle of after-war life for a group of soldiers returning from Iraq. . . . Finkel’s prose is spare and riveting, and incites both compassion for the wounded and fury at the system. . . . A remarkable, powerful and unforgettable book.”
Toronto Star