In 1998 Nathaniel was just another history student on a comfortable career trajectory of high school to college to white collar job. Then he went to a lecture by a Wall Street Journal reporter who had just published a book on the US Marines. Inspired, he passed the gruelling selection course and joined the Marine Corps on graduation. Posted to a Marine Regiment in the wake of 9/11, he took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, then led a platoon of their elite Recon Battalion during the invasion of Iraq.
This is not a book about the Iraq invasion as such: it is an articulate and deeply thoughtful young man's account of what it means to fight in the frontline, to risk not just death or injury, but psychological harm.
'Nate' took 65 men to war and came home with all 65. He proved himself an excellent officer and won promotion, but resigned in 2003 to write this book and go to Harvard.