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Book depicts the U.S. invasion of Baghdad

Mark Dulyanai

“Thunder Run” by David Zucchino

In the early days of April 2003, the U.S. soldiers of the Second Brigade of the Third Infantry Division (Mechanized) rewrote the book on mechanized warfare. In a bold move, this mechanized division thrust into the heart of Saddam Hussein’s powerbase in Baghdad. Traditionally, tanks were thought to be at a disadvantage in urban combat, but the men of Third Infantry Division would prove history wrong.

Author David Zucchino’s book “Thunder Run” is about the men on both sides of the armored thrust to take Baghdad. David Zucchino may be known to some of us as the editor of Mark Bowden’s “Black Hawk Down” newspaper serials that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Zucchino’s journalistic writing style is spartan and to the point, with few embellishments.

His account of the Thunder Run into the center of Baghdad is brutal and frank. Zucchino interviewed soldiers on both the American and Iraqi side, as well as some civilians that were caught in the crossfire of the battle.

Most importantly, “Thunder Run” is about the people involved. It took Zucchino literally hundreds of interviews to create this book, and the depth of his research shows. As an embedded reporter in the Second Brigade, he was able to freshly interview the soldiers that were involved in the battles. The bulk of the material is from the US soldier’s point of view, but there are some accounts of Iraqi soldiers and civilians. The Iraqi accounts are few and far between, and while it would have been good to have more, Zucchino does mention that it was at great risk that the Iraqis gave their accounts.

David Zucchino’s book “Thunder Run” will be one of the many documents that will be scrutinized over the next century as we determine whether we “did the right thing” in Iraq. “Thunder Run” goes nowhere near the politics of Iraq, but instead stands as a document to the men, both American and Iraqi, that fought in the early days of April 2003.

– Mark Dulyanai is a member of Friends of the Library, South Lake Tahoe branch.


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