Books by TV journalists range from the charming to the useless, but they almost always have one thing in common–they’re about the journalist in question, the fancy people he or she has met, or the unfancy family that he or she came from. But The Long Road Home by Martha Raddatz is a simply extraordinary exception. It’s the account of a terrible fight that took place in Sadr City in April 2004–one of the bloodiest battles of this war–and it contains some of the best battlefield reporting and reconstruction I’ve ever read. Raddatz also spends significant time with the families of the soldiers back home at Fort Hood in Texas, which makes the battle all the more vivid and heartbreaking.
I’ve always thought that Raddatz was among the finest day-to-day journalists we have–both her war reporting and her more recent White House work. Now I know that she is one of our best non-fiction writers as well. Her book is especially relevant now that we’re engaged in another fight in Sadr City. It is moving and horrifying and infuriating. Perhaps the best I’ve read about Iraq.