JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WRShe has been to Iraq often—so many times that her observations about the war have been solicited by military leaders. She covers the president, who is also a big fan of her war coverage. And she has reported from some of the world's hottest hot spots. But it wasn't until ABC's Martha Raddatz finished her gripping book about the "Black Sunday" battle on April 4, 2004, in Baghdad that she felt the anxiety reporters often have in their gut awaiting the reaction of those they cover. "Yes," says Raddatz, author of The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family: "I worried about the reaction they would have to my portrayal since it is so intimate and emotional."
Gen. George Casey, the new Army chief of staff who has known Raddatz for years, broke the ice with flowers and a joking note. "Terrific job on the book ... especially for a girl!" And Gen. David Petraeus, the new war boss in Iraq, tells us "it's a great book," and adds: "There is something very special about the membership in the 'brotherhood of the close fight.'" What's more, he says, Raddatz's book about the 24-hour firefight in Sadr City "describes very movingly the sacrifices endured by our families as the 'new greatest generation' fights the Long War." Despite the accolades, no sequel is planned. She will, though, keep returning to Iraq for ABC News. "I can see change or not change," she says. "I can't give it up; I've seen the human face of this."