This is a gripping and poignant account of newsman Bob Woodruff’s brain injury and recovery. He was injured in Iraq by a roadside bomb on January 29, 2006, shortly after being named co-anchor for ABC’s World News Tonight. A public figure—even a celebrity—his injury and recovery were well publicized, bringing to light the injuries of many kinds suffered by soldiers (not to mention civilians) in war-torn Iraq. Woodruff received every benefit American military medicine could offer and had impressive support of ABC and various luminaries. He made a spectacular recovery against all odds.

The book is mostly told by Lee Woodruff, Bob’s wife, who flew to Germany on a moment’s notice to see him at the Landstuhl Military Hospital, who waited 36 days for him to wake up, who saw the CT scan with rocks embedded in his head, who managed their four children and household during the long recovery time, and who writes vividly and personably. There are also flashbacks about the lives of Lee and Bob, truly a remarkable couple: their courtship, their time in China and London, their decision to use a surrogate mother to have their second two children.

Bob himself contributes pages, before and long after the accident. Thirty-one photos, both black and white and in color, enliven the text. One photo shows the interior of a critical Care Air Transport Team, a C-17 cargo plane outfitted like an ICU to transport wounded soldiers.  Throughout, the costs of warfare on people, society, materials, and land (not to mention dollars) is dramatically evident.


This is a vivid and moving book. Both authors write clearly and well, and both share the emotions of their lives, in the happy past and in the grueling time of Bob's injury and slow recovery. The role of family in dealing with a devastating injury can be crucial; Lee demonstrates the power of an intelligent, caring wife and also the cost to her over the ordeal.

While the US administration has kept hidden pictures of caskets of American soldiers returning to America and minimized (and underfunded) the physical and mental wounds of Americans in Iraq, this book--because of a celebrity civilian's injury--shows what many soldiers have endured. Bob Woodruff returned to National Naval Medical Center, where he was treated, to report on soldiers with similar injuries. Because of their high status in society, the Woodruffs had support not available to many people, but they also relied on religious faith.


Random House

Place Published

New York



Page Count