Thank You for Your Service

David Finkel


The wars of the past decade have been covered by brave and talented reporters, but none has reckoned with the psychology of these wars as intimately as the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel. For The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel embedded with the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the infamous “surge,” a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed them all forever. In Finkel’s hands, readers can feel what these young men were experiencing, and his harrowing story instantly became a classic in the literature of modern war.

In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel has done something even more extraordinary. Once again, he has embedded with some of the men of the 2-16—but this time he has done it at home, here in the States, after their deployments have ended. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like—not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done.

The story Finkel tells is mesmerizing, impossible to put down. With his unparalleled ability to report a story, he climbs into the hearts and minds of those he writes about. Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding, and it offers a more complete picture than we have ever had of these two essential questions: When we ask young men and women to go to war, what are we asking of them? And when they return, what are we thanking them for?


Read an Excerpt

Two years later: Adam drops the baby.
The baby, who is four days old, is his son, and there is a moment as he is falling that this house he has come home to seems like the most peaceful place in the world. Outside is the cold dead of 3:00 a.m. on a late-November night in Kansas, but inside is lamplight, the warm smell of a newborn, and Adam’s wife, Saskia, beautiful Saskia, who a few minutes before had asked her husband if he could watch the baby so she could get a little sleep. “I got it,” he had said. “I got it. Get some rest.” She curled



  • Thank You For Your Service - Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to an excerpt from the audio book edition of Thank You For Your Service.

  • The Leonard Lopate Show, Interview with David Finkel

    Soldiers at War and at Home

  • David Finkel on the Colbert Report

    The Washington Post's David Finkel shares his book about the mental wounds of veterans, "Thank You for Your Service."

  • Morning Joe Book Club

    Morning Joe Book Club introduces second book



Praise for Thank You for Your Service

Praise for Thank You for Your Service:

“Incredible—a stunning, moving, subdued masterpiece of a book.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“The stories of the soldiers and their families portrayed in Thank You for Your Service possess a visceral and deeply affecting power on their own that will haunt readers long after they have finished this book.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Finkel sketches a panoramic view of postwar life....A book that every American should read.”—Jake Tapper, Los Angeles Times

“His reporting is astonishingly intimate yet utterly respectful, taking us inside the hearts and minds of these men and their families.”—Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

“This is not—nor should it be—an easy book. But it is an essential one.”—Elizabeth D. Samet, The New York Times Book Review

“Embedded with the veterans, their families, their friends, and their counselors, Finkel lights up the lives of these struggling souls, who often compound their real problems by convincing themselves they’re ‘weak’ for ‘abandoning’ their buddies and seeking treatment…Vivid, compelling, heartrending.”—Jeff Stein, Bookforum

“Together with its masterful prequel The Good Soldiers, [Thank You for Your Service] measures the wages of the war in Iraq—the wages of war, period—as well as anything I’ve read...[Finkel] atones for our scant attention by paying meticulous heed.”—Frank Bruni, The New York Times

“I’m urging everyone I know to give Thank You for Your Service just a few pages, a few minutes out of their busy lives. The families honored in this urgent, important book will take it from there.”—Katherine Boo, National Book Award–winning author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Thank You for Your Service is one of the best and truest books I have ever read. David Finkel cuts through all the spin, the excuses, the blowhard politics and mind-deadening metrics to discover the cost of war for the soldiers who fight it and the families they come home to. This extraordinary book will piss you off and break your heart. It will shame you and lift you up. It will bend your mind to the reality of an American war that is now well into its second decade.”—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and finalist for the National Book Award

“In this incredibly moving sequel, Finkel reconnects with some of the men of the 2-16—now home on American soil—and brings their struggles powerfully to life...Told in crisp, unsentimental prose and supplemented with excerpts from soldiers’ diaries, medical reports, e-mails, and text messages, their stories give new meaning to the costs of service—and to giving thanks.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“In a series of interconnected stories, Finkel follows a handful of soldiers and their spouses through the painful, sometimes-fatal process of reintegration into American society. The author gives a clear-eyed, frightening portrayal of precisely what it is like to suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury and what it is like to have the specter of suicide whispering into your ear every day.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Praise for The Good Soldiers:

“Finkel has made art out of a defining moment in history.”—Doug Stanton, The New York Times Book Review

The Good Soldiers by David Finkel is the most honest, most painful, and most brilliantly rendered account of modern war I’ve ever read.”—Daniel Okrent, Fortune

In the Press

'Thank You for Your Service,' by David Finkel - NYTimes.com
"Thank You for Your Service" is David Finkel's account of how soldiers scarred by war try to adjust to civilian life.
- The New York Times
David Finkel's 'Thank You for Your Service' - NYTimes.com
Soldiers interviewed by David Finkel faced their greatest challenges once they came home.
- The New York Times
'Thank You For Your Service' follows soldiers after battles are over - latimes.com
Book review: David Finkel's 'Thank You For Your Service' is about post-war American soldiers (and their families) as they struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
- Los Angeles Times
Book review: ‘Thank You for Your Service’ by David Finkel - The Washington Post
Once home, veterans’ battles continue.
- The Washington Post

Reviews from Goodreads



  • David Finkel

  • David Finkel is the award-winning author of The Good Soldiers. A staff writer for The Washington Post, he is also the leader of the Post’s national reporting team. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting in 2006, and the MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 2012. Finkel lives in Maryland, with his wife and two daughters.

  • David Finkel © Lucian Perkins
    David Finkel







    Download PDF



    Go to website


    Sign Up


    Available Formats and Book Details

    Thank You for Your Service

    David Finkel

    Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, Amazon.com Best Books of the Year, Chapters Indigo Best of the Year, Washington Post Best Books of the Year, New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year, Christian Science Monitor Best Books of the Year, The Globe Books 100, NPR Best Book of the Year, Chicago Tribune Best Books of the Year, The Economist Magazine Books of the Year, Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year, Minneapolis Star Tribune Holiday Book Recommendations, USA Today Best Books of the Year, Seattle Times Best Books of the Year, Barnes and Noble Best New Books of the Year, Apple iBooks Best of the Year, National Book Critics Circle Awards - Nominee, Helen Bernstein Book Award - Nominee, L.A. Times Book Prize - Finalist, Carla Furstenberg Cohen Literary Prize, National Book Critics Circle Awards - Nominee, Helen Bernstein Book Award - Nominee, L.A. Times Book Prize - Finalist