(Mat Best, $28, Hardcover, 210 pgs)
As the mainstream media casts them, members of our armed forces are unwitting victims. They have to endure long deployments in hostile lands away from their families. When they come back—if they come back—they’re damaged goods rife with PTSD.
All of that has a touch of truth in it, of course. But the best lies do. The men and women who fight and die for us, and for foreign peoples, are warriors who’ve volunteered to play an important heroic role, but they are not victims. As Greg Stube, author of Conquer Anything—A Green Beret’s Guide to Building Your A-Team, puts it: “Soldiers are volunteers and volunteers by definition can’t be victims.” Reading Thank You For My Service brings to mind Stube’s Special Forces’ viewpoint on heroism.
It’s also a rollickingly fun book. Page after page, Best gives a clear and honest view. He explains that members of the military’s special operations branches, in particular, love their jobs. As this book’s press material puts it: “They relish the opportunity to fight. They are thankful for it, even, and hopeful that maybe, possibly, they’ll also get to kill a bunch of bad guys while they’re at it. You don’t necessarily need to thank them for their service—the pleasure is all theirs.”
Best is a former U.S. Army Ranger. His book is an insider’s tale plainly and directly spoken. It reads like the linked-together stories a good, smart and self-effacing friend you haven’t seen in years might tell after a reunion.