New York, Sept. 2 (Reuters): Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch has signed a $1 million agreement with Alfred A. Knopf, giving the injured former army private the chance to tell her own story, the publisher said today.
The book, I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story, will be written by former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg. Sources familiar with the book said it will tell the tale of a small town girl who goes to war and becomes a national hero, recognition she does not feel she deserves.
Sources at Knopf said the publisher will pay $1 million to Bragg and the Lynch family. Bragg will be paid a flat fee for producing the book while the Lynch family will receive part of the advance and all of the royalties.
”I have been heartened by the hope and faith of the American people and by the tireless effort of the U.S. Armed Forces,” Lynch said in a statement issued by the publisher.
Lynch said many Americans had written offering their support to her.“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.
Lynch was granted an honorable military discharge last week due to her injuries. An army private, she became a symbol of American patriotism during the war, which generated controversy as accounts of her rescue in Iraq varied.
A source familiar with the book said it will tell,“what she saw and what she remembers” of the Iraq ordeal. The source said the book would tell the story of,“a kid from the back woods who goes to war and becomes this national hero who doesn't really feel as though she is a hero.”
The 20-year-old supply clerk was captured by Iraqi forces on March 23 near the city of Nassiriya. Eleven other U.S. soldiers were killed and nine wounded in the incident.
U.S. commandos rescued Lynch from an Iraqi hospital on April 1. An early media report quoted unnamed U.S. officials saying she fought fiercely before being captured. But the Army later concluded she was injured when her Humvee crashed into another vehicle in the convoy after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Their report said a tired company commander misread his map and took a wrong turn.
Lynch was given a hero's welcome when she returned to her hometown of Palestine, West Virginia, on July 22. But the full details of her story have yet to be told since Lynch said she suffered a loss of memory after her capture.
She was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War medal.
Pulitzer-Prize winner Bragg resigned from The New York Times earlier this year after allegations that he relied too heavily on the work of a freelancer.
Knopf is a unit of Random House, which is owned by Bertelsmann AG .