The Long Way Home: One Mom's Journey Home From War

Jessica Scott
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My name is Jessica Scott. I am a soldier. I am a mother. I am a wife. 

In 2009, Army second lieutenant Jessica Scott deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. 

She thought deploying was the hardest thing she'd ever do. 

She was wrong. 

This is the story of a mother coming home from war and learning to be a mom again. This is the story of a lieutenant making the grade and becoming a company commander. This is the journey of a writer persevering through a hundred rejections. This is the story of a soldier learning to be a woman again. This is the story of a wife waiting for the end of a war. 

This is the journey as it happened, without commentary. This is her blog. 

There are many blogs from the Iraq war, but this one is hers. 

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About the author

 Sign up for Jessica's Newsletter to keep up with the latest information about new releases: http://www.jessicascott.net/mailing-list.html


USA Today Bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She's also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.

Most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012. Learn More at http://www.jessicascott.net
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Additional Information

Publisher
Jessica Scott
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Published on
Oct 12, 2014
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Pages
310
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ISBN
9781482642315
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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I thought I could do this. I thought I could leave the war behind. 


I was wrong. I can’t do this. I can’t go to class and pretend like everything is normal. That I’m normal. I’m not. I’ve lost everything that matters to me. But I made a promise. 


And if I’m going to keep that promise, I have to focus. I have to pretend that I belong on this southern campus that drips with old money. 


And I have to pass stats. That’s where Beth comes in. 


I’m terrified she’ll see through me. That the careful lies

and easy smile won’t be enough to convince her that everything is fine. 


That she’ll see how broken I really am.  


But there’s something about her that draws me closer. A

sadness in her eyes that am powerless to resist. 


I should walk away. Protect her from the broken, darkness in

me. 


Before we both fall into something neither of us can control 



Stay focused. Get a job. Save her father’s life.  

Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah - a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.  

Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him. 

A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both. 

Catch-22 with radiation.
Area 51 meets Dr. Strangelove.
Except it really happened.

Operation Redwing, the biggest and baddest of America's atmospheric nuclear weapons test regimes, mixed saber rattling with mad science, while overlooking the cataclysmic human, geopolitical and ecological effects. But mostly, it just messed with guys' heads. 

Major Maxwell, who put Safety First, Second and Third. Except when he didn't. 

Berko, the wise-cracking Brooklyn Dodgers fan forced to cope with the H-bomb and his mother's cookies.

Tony, who thought military spit and polish plus uncompromising willpower made him an exception.

Carl Duncan, who clung to his girlfriend's photos and a dangerous secret.

Major Vanish, who did just that.

In THE ATOMIC TIMES, Michael Harris welcomes readers into the U.S. Army's nuclear family where the F-words were Fallout and Fireball. In a distinctive narrative voice, Harris describes his H-bomb year with unforgettable imagery and insight into the ways isolation and isotopes change men for better—and for worse. 

"A gripping memoir leavened by humor, loyalty and pride of accomplishment. A tribute to the resilience, courage and patriotism of the American soldier." —Henry Kissinger

From the author:

Three-eyed fish swimming in the lagoon. Men whose toenails glow in the dark. Operation Redwing where the F words were Fallout and Fireball. In 1956, I was an army draftee sent to the Marshall Islands to watch 17 H-bomb tests. An "observer," the Army called it. In plain English: a human guinea pig.

I knew at the time that the experience could make a fascinating book, and I wrote a novel based on it while I was still there. The problem was that Eniwetok was a security post. There were signs everywhere impressing on us that the work going on (I mopped floors, typed, filed requisitions and wrote movie reviews for the island newspaper “All the news that fits we print”) was Top Secret. “What you do here, what you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here leave it here.”

I was afraid they would confiscate the manuscript if they found it but a buddy who left Eniwetok before I did concealed the pages in his luggage. When he got back to the States, he mailed those pages to my father so I had what turned out to be a very rough draft.

What was wrong with the book? Let me count the ways. I didn’t know how to write action, plot and character. I did know how to leave out everything interesting that was happening around me. Back in the States after my discharge, I thought about writing Version #2 but for ten years, I had nightmares about the H-bomb almost every night. I survived the radiation (unlike some of my friends), but the memories were also a formidable foe. I tried to forget and more or less succeeded.

My perspective gradually changed over the years and I began to remember what I had tried to forget: 
We were told we had to wear high density goggles during the tests to avoid losing our sight but the shipment of goggles never arrived—the requisition was cancelled to make room for new furniture for the colonel's house.
We were told we had to stand with our backs to the blast—again to prevent blindness. But the first H-bomb ever dropped from a plane missed its target, and the detonation took place in front of us and our unprotected eyes.
Servicemen were sent to Ground Zero wearing only shorts and sneakers and worked side by side with scientists dressed in RadSafe suits. The exposed military men developed severe radiation burns and many died.

The big breakthrough came when enough years had passed and I had overcome the anger and the self-pity resulting from the knowledge that I and the men who served with me had been used as guinea pigs in a recklessly dangerous and potentially deadly experiment. At last I had the perspective to understand my nuclear year in its many dimensions and capture the tragedy and the black humor that came along with 17 H-bomb explosions. In addition, certain significant external realities had changed.

Top Secret documents about Operation Redwing had been declassified. I learned new details about the test known as Tewa: the fallout lasted for three days and the radiation levels exceeded 3.9 Roentgens, the MPE (Maximum Permissible Exposure). Three ships were rushed to Eniwetok to evacuate personnel but were ordered back after the military raised the MPE to 7. That, they reasoned, ensured everyone's safety. 

I made contact with other atomic veterans who told me about their own experiences and in some cases sent me copies of letters written to their families during the tests. As we talked, we also laughed: about officers who claimed Eniwetok was a one year paid vacation; about the officer who guarded the political purity of the daily island newspaper by deleting "pinko propaganda," including a speech by President Eisenhower.

By now, Ruth knew the material almost as well as I did and provided crucial perspective and detailed editing expertise.

At last, I was able to pull all the strands together. After 50 years, I was able write the book I had wanted to in the beginning.

Having struggled to write a memoir for so long and having been asked for advice by others contemplating writing a memoir, I can pass along a bit of what I learned along the way.

Make sure you have enough distance from the experience to have perspective on what happened. Exposure to radiation and the resulting reactions—anger, terror, incredulity—produce powerful emotions that take time to process.
Figure out how to use (or keep away) from your own intense feelings. In the case of the H-Bomb tests, anger and self-pity were emotions to stay away from. So was the hope of somehow getting “revenge.”
Sometimes the unexpected works. For me, finding humor in a tragic situation— the abject military incompetence in planning and executing the H-Bomb tests—freed my memory and allowed me to write about horrific experiences.
Figure out (most likely by trial and error) how much or how little of yourself you want to reveal.

Keywords:   memoir, veterans, H-bomb, US Army, army, soldier, military memoir, nuclear bombs, radiation, danger, fission, fusion, fallout, danger, suspense, atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, island, South Pacific, Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, detonation, explosions

The darkness never forgets…

Caleb Gregory has spent ten years hiding in the dark, refusing to speak about the night his young life was destroyed. In his anger and his rage, he drank and fought until he drove everyone away until he had no one left. 

The light casts a long shadow…

Nalini King has devoted her post army life to her passion: using yoga to heal her fellow soldiers. In doing so, she’s worked to forget the night her life burned down around her.

An unexpected storm…

When a storm forces them into the darkness together, these two wounded souls must face the demons of their past. 


Because it is only in the darkest night that we can truly see the light.


★★★★Praise for AFTER I FALL★★★★

  

"Jessica Scott weaves raw, real emotion into every scene and sentence. AFTER I FALL was irresistible and unforgettable!" ~ Roxanne St. Claire, New York Times Bestselling Author


  

"Another masterful romance I won't soon forget." - Claudia Connor, New York Times Bestselling Author 

  

Praise for BEFORE I FALL.



★★★★One of the most read books in Library Journal's Self-e program!★★★★



"Scott (HomeFront) starts off her Falling contemporary series with a story that focuses on the troubles of returning veterans and their families...The strength of the story is the attention it pays to returning veterans' need for physical and mental support, especially for their careers and families." ~ Publisher's Weekly





"A compelling story of love and life that will break your heart, then piece it back together."

  ~ New York Times Bestselling author Gina Maxwell 


"A deeply moving story with characters who capture your heart." 

~ Carly Phillips, New York Times Bestselling Author



"Romantic and real and sexy, Before I Fall is an emotional ride that grabs hold and doesn't let go." ~ Kristen Callihan, New York Times Bestselling author of The Hookup


"Sensual. Emotional. Engrossing. Jessica Scott has delivered a romance you cannot put down." ~ Robin Covington, Bestselling author of the Nashville Nights series


"Before I Fall gives readers a glimpse of what life after a war can be....I highly recommend not only for the love story, but for a story that will keep you thankful and grounded" ~ Under the Covers


    


★★★★Praise for BREAK MY FALL★★★★



"Intense, emotional, and edgy--Break My Fall is Jessica Scott's best yet!" J Kenner, New York Times Bestselling author 


"A dark, compelling story filled with hope" - Carly Phillips, New York Times Bestselling author


"Break My Fall is pure emotion wrapped in Jessica Scott's signature wit. Josh and Abby are the kind of characters who will stay with you long after you close the book." - Farrah Rochon,  USA Today bestselling author 

   

"Jessica Scott has a gift for writing characters that I feel in my heart. Break My Fall was no exception. I was all in from the first page to the last." Claudia Connor, New York Times bestselling author of Worth The Fall


"The writing was engaging, emotional, and honest. Jessica Scott has once again touched my heart." Smut Book Junkies

  

 ★★★★Each book in the Falling series can be read as a stand alone or as part of the series.★★★★ 


Book 1: Before I Fall

Book 2: Break My Fall

Book 3: After I Fall

Book 4: Catch My Fall

Book 5: Until We Fall

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