The Gift of Valor: A War Story by Michael M. Phillips

If you are interested in reading a heart-gripping tale of the sacrifices made by men in combat, pick up Michael M. Phillips’s The Gift of Valor. The book is a no holds barred story of Lance Corporal Jason Dunham – a squad leader who made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting his men.

The first half of the book covers Dunham’s upbringing in Scio, New York and his subsequent career in the Marines. This part of the book includes a detailed account of the combat that occurred on April 14, 2004 in Husaybah, Iraq – the day that Dunham was severely wounded by covering a grenade with his helmet and body to protect his infantry squad. The second half of the book details Dunham’s journey through the various levels of medical care that he received in Iraq and beyond.

This illustrates how hard the Marines, soldiers, and airmen are fighting in Iraq. Phillips does a superb job describing the type of men and women who have volunteered for our armed forces. Phillips easily conveys the hardships and sacrifices that the Marines in Husaybah made to fight the insurgents in Iraq. Although some reviewers have criticized Phillips for not addressing the purpose of their sacrifices, I do not think that it was necessary for him to do so – he was simply telling the story of the heroic actions of one Marine in Iraq.

Through the telling of Dunham’s story, I think Phillips dispels the myth by older Americans that this generation is weak and irresponsible. As Phillips amply describes, Dunham and his comrades are more than up to the task of bringing peace to Iraq through their courageous actions to fight insurgents and protect Iraqi civilians and themselves.

Phillips’s book is an excellent tribute to the life of Lance Corporal Jason Dunham and the ultimate sacrifice he made for his comrades in arms. I highly recommend this book to anyone who doubts the resolve and courage of our troops in the armed forces.

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