Holt, 2004, 25.00, 319 pp.
As an embedded journalist with the 101st Airborne (“Band of Brothers” fame), Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent and military historian Richard Atkinson provides a deep look at the Iraq War from the perspective of the American troops. Though the concentration is more on the field grade officers, no one seems to have been left out of this effort. Readers learn how the soldier sees things whether it is equipment and supply shortages or overages (sounds contradictory, but is a big concern) or the individual and group safety in a hostile environs. Mr. Atkinson furbishes insight from the moment the division is called up to leave Fort Campbell to deploy to the desert until the capture of Baghdad when the author returns to the states.
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Military history buffs will realize that the author salutes the army for their superb efforts to win a war while fighting nature and preventing civilian casualties though not all went well. IN THE COMPANY OF SOLDIERS: A CHRONICLE OF COMBAT is clearly anti this war yet fully supportive of the soldiers that the books raves about as courageous, sincere, and capable. Mr. Atkinson condemns the administration for lack of logistical planning and for its rationale for armed combat (being revised by the winners to we did right removing an abusive dictator; if that was the cause then the administration should have taken that thesis to the American people). Rumsfeld bashing aside, Mr. Atkinson clearly congratulates the deserving 101st with a twenty-one gun salute.