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Beers and Books: The Unforgiving Minute

I can safely say that until this week I had never been to a book signing or anything to do with a book-related event at a bar. But Craig M. Mullaney (not Craig Mullaney, that's an entirely different person I found out by emailing the wrong person) is not your average author, he's not really your average anything. Mullaney, author of The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education is a former Army Ranger and Rhodes scholar -- a rare combination. He is also a New Englander. Mullaney held a book signing in the downstairs section of Tommy Doyle's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Cambridge on March 17, 2009. Why? Because he wanted to.

"I have held a handful of tradition Barnes & Nobles signings and at independent book stores," Mullaney said. "I knew people (his friends) weren't going to drive down to Rhode Island (a stop on Mullaney's national book tour and his home-state) and I didn't want to do this book signing in a classroom. . .so one of my students said he found this great place for a small fee."

Considerate Mullaney even bought his own books off Amazon to bring with him for the book signing.

"I knew people would want a signed copy, so I bought them off Amazon and brought them with me and sold them at the event," he said.
Mullaney's book chronicles his life from the time he attended West Point, beginning in 2000, through his Ranger training and his deployment to Afghanistan in 2003 as the leader of an infantry rifle platoon with the 10th Mountain Division. The book ends with him sending his brother, seven years his junior, off the war. Mullaney's book is an inspiring story on what it takes to become a man and a soldier.

"The book kind of wrote me," said Mullaney who added the book acted a catharsis for him. "There were a lot of things I wanted to communicate to my family, but I didn't know how. I didn't think about putting it all into a book. I just write things out. I was just trying to resolve my feelings."

The hardest event for Mullaney to "write out" and resolve, and one that still brings mist to his eyes today, was the death of one of his soldiers -- "a 19-year-old kid," who died when their platoon became under fire from Al-Qaeda terrorists.

"There's this sense of responsibility as a military leader when one of your soldiers is killed. Rationally, I knew there was nothing I could have done to save him, but I felt so responsible," he said.

And while Mullaney will probably never forget the sinking feeling of losing one of his own men in battle, the sense of responsibility, or how difficult it was to forgive himself, he knows deep-down he did all he could do and pays tribute to the fallen hero in this book. And in true heroic fashion, Mullaney continues to go beyond his call of duty and is now donating part of the proceeds from book sales to veteran causes. 

To read reviews and purchase the book, visit Amazon.com.
To see Mullaney on Comedy Central's Daily Show and find out more about the author and his book, visit Mullaney's Web site.

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