Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation
Edited by Ellen Fitzpatrick (Ecco, $26.99)
Fitzpatrick, a professor of history at the University of New Hampshire, selected nearly 300 of what we can only guess are the most riveting letters from the 1.5 million that Jacqueline Kennedy received in the aftermath of President Kennedy’s assassination. They came from Americans of all walks of life and backgrounds, many simple gestures of prayer and grief, others reflecting on what Kennedy’s message meant in their daily lives and hopes for the future, and still others describing the very moment they learned of the president’s death. This treasure trove is now seeing the light of day after sitting undisturbed for nearly half a century.
They Fought for Each Other: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq
By Kelly Kennedy (St. Martin’s, $24.99)
The volume of frontline reportage coming out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is both astonishing in its emotional depth and terrifying in its frequency. These wars have been raging for how long? It was almost a novelty when the first ones hit bookstore shelves years back, and now they’ve become almost as routine as the updates on the wars’ progress on the evening news -- you expect to see them, and wonder when you don’t. But these stories need to be told, and Kennedy, a reporter with the Army Times, does an admirable job with this chronicle of her embedding with Charlie Company in Iraq in 2007 (culled from her award-winning series in her paper). She spares no punches in revealing the gritty and the horrific and counters it with the moments of grace. The story follows a band of soldiers that truly looked out for each other in heroic ways while trying to quell an insurgency in an Iraqi town -- which they did, but not without great sacrifice.
March 4, 2010; 5:30 AM ET
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