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THE ROOT: The Marines in Beirut, August 1982February 1984 by Eric Hammel = At 6:22 A.M. on October 23, 1983, a yellow Mercedes truck raced across the parking lot of the Beirut International Airport in Lebanon. Crashing through a chain-link gate into the 24th Marine Amphibious Units headquarters compound, it drove into the open atrium lobby of a terminal building where hundreds of sleeping Americans were housed. Seconds later, 12,000 pounds of high explosives piled in the bed of the truck exploded. The four-story steel and concrete building shuddered, then collapsed. Two hundred forty-one Americans were killed and many more were injured in the attack. Soon after the 24th MAU returned to the United States in November 1983, the Marine Corps granted Eric Hammel an unprecedented opportunity to interview survivors of the bombing and those who came to their rescue. The Root is the highly charged result, a detailed narrative account of the Marines mission in Lebanon. It describes escalating involvement in largely unreported battles fought in and around the shattered city of Beirut. And it presents in detail the terrorist attack on the unit headquarters. The focus of The Root is on the nearly 200 people interviewed by the authorenlisted men and officersfor whom the shock and horror at the bombing were still fresh. Their reactions to the danger, what they survived and how they survived it, their concerns and insights, make The Root a timeless chronicle of the human spiritand as timely as todays headlines.

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