One of the amazing things in my life this year (a year in which two of my daughters gave birth to our second and third grandchildren, and Beacon Press said they wanted to publish my book, which fits my definition of an amazing year) is that I’m not the only one in my family being published for the first time. My wife’s sister, Dr. Heidi Squier Kraft, wrote Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital. Her book was published by Little, Brown in October.

With my book not coming out until January, I freely admit to leaning on Heidi for advance warning about what is to come in my life as a published author. Having seen Heidi on CNN and PBS, listened to interviews with her on radio, and having read several articles and reviews, we’ve communicated a few times about what it’s like. But I won’t bore you with that. I simply want to encourage you to read her book.

When Heidi’s twins were 15 months old, she was deployed to Iraq. She was a clinical psychologist in the Navy at the time. She was in Iraq for close to a year. We received roughly 20 long e-mails over that time describing her experiences. She gave us an experience of war we could not otherwise have had; one I couldn’t see on television news reports. The pervasive sadness I felt about the entire Iraq War became real and personal and present in my life. I’m so pleased that Heidi wrote Rule Number Two and I highly recommend it.