Chris Coppola is the kind of guy you want to have serving your country: a dutiful, sincere husband, father, surgeon and soldier. If everyone involved in the war machine were like him, there would be no war. In this memoir, Coppola makes his way through two tours in Iraqi. He lives in a base station right outside Bagdad and works first tour in a tent, later in a high-tech facility, where he patches together bodies–many children’s–who have been riddled with shrapnel, burned, blown apart, bulging entrails, and missing faces. His story recounts, in detail, his encounters with the teetering of life and death of both Americans and the Iraqi enemies who depend care. Rather than a spiritual or psychological journey, it’s a dairy-like story told in day-to-day events. Coppola lets us know he does not necessarily believe in the war, or understand why America is involved, but he does not expound on his views. I was struck by how much blood is needed and wasted. Lieutenant Colonel Coppola, his fellow doctors, translators, and family members make up the book’s cast of characters. There are no surprises; some pictures and drawings. Anyone employed in the health profession will surely enjoy the camaraderie and feel right at home in the pages of this book; all of us who wonder about the fate of war casualties and the devotion of doctors will be grateful to read this book; everyone who needs confirmation about the resiliency of life in the face of war would do good to pick Chris Coppola: a Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq.
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