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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 September, 2003, 04:45 GMT 05:45 UK
Private Lynch signs $1m book deal
Private Jessica Lynch
Private Lynch is said to remember little of her ordeal
The American soldier Jessica Lynch, who was rescued by US special forces after being taken prisoner in Iraq, has signed a $1m book deal with publisher Alfred A Knopf.

I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story will be co-written by former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg and detail her journey from rural West Virginia to becoming a national heroine.

"Many folks have written, expressing their support for me and for the thousands of other soldiers who serve their country," Lynch said in a statement issued by the publishers.

"I feel I owe them all this story, which will be about more than a girl going off to war and fighting alongside her fellow soldiers. It will be a story about growing up in America."

The book will have an initial print run of 500,000 and is due to be published in November.

I am walking with crutches, but my doctors tell me that as I gain strength I will be able to walk on my own again soon. I am looking forward to those first steps
Jessica Lynch
Private Lynch, 20, was captured along with six other soldiers when her convoy was ambushed by Iraqi troops near the city of Nasiriya in March.

Controversial footage of her subsequent rescue turned her into a national hero and the incident became a vital morale boost for the American people and US troops in the midst of the Iraq conflict.

Private Lynch was subsequently awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious combat service, a Prisoner of War medal and the Purple Heart medal, which is usually awarded to those wounded in combat.

Ambush inconsistencies

Following her return to the US every major news outlet and publisher was vying for her exclusive story - despite the fact that she is said to remember little about her capture.

Initial reports that she had been shot and stabbed as she fought fiercely against her attackers later turned out to be untrue.

Private Jessica Lynch after her rescue by US Special Forces
Private Lynch uttered to phrase 'I am an American soldier too' to her rescuers

A US army investigation concluded that Private Lynch's convoy had stumbled into enemy territory after their severely fatigued commander misread a map and that she was injured when her vehicle crashed into another in the convoy after being hit by a rocket propelled grenade.

An investigation by the BBC's Correspondent programme said the story of the rescue was "one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived".

But Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said any claims that the facts of Private Lynch's rescue were misrepresented by the US military were "void of all facts and absolutely ridiculous".

Road to recovery

Private Lynch, who sustained multiple broken bones in the ambush, was granted an honourable discharge from the army last week due to her injuries.

"I am feeling better every day, and all the good wishes of the many who have written have certainly kept my spirits up," Private Lynch said in her statement.

Welcome home banner
Her return was an emotional event in her home state
"I am walking with crutches, but my doctors tell me that as I gain strength I will be able to walk on my own again soon. I am looking forward to those first steps."

Sources at the publishing company said that the $1m advance will be split between the Lynch family and Mr Bragg - a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who resigned from the New York Times earlier this year amid a row over him relying too heavily on the contributions of a freelancer.

"I feel a kinship with Jessica and her family, and am thrilled at the prospect of bringing this story to the wider world," Mr Bragg said in a statement.




SEE ALSO:
CBS backs down on Lynch movie
21 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
TV giants 'fight over Private Lynch'
17 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Army 'error' led to Lynch capture
10 Jul 03  |  Americas
US rejects BBC Lynch report
20 May 03  |  Americas
Saving Private Lynch story 'flawed'
15 May 03  |  Correspondent


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