The Gift of Valor
Michael M. Phillips. New York: Broadway Books, 2005. 192 pp. $19.95.
Reviewed by David J. Danelo
During the past fifteen years of conflict involving Iraq, two books by or about Marines emerged that American popular culture christened as particularly authentic: Anthony Swofford's Jarhead and Evan Wright's Generation Kill. Although these works are impressive, Swofford's self-loathing portrayal of his post-warrior life can be distasteful and Wright's emphasis on the seamier details of officer-enlisted clashes emerges as garish. In contrast, The Gift of Valor by Michael M. Phillips, a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, stands head and shoulders above previous Iraq books, and will also quickly assimilate into the mainstream as a "must read."