It is the signature wound of the Iraq war: limb loss. The potency of insurgent bombs and the proficiency of U.S. lifesavers have produced this result. Of the 20,322 Americans wounded in action, 436 have been amputees--more than 2%, a figure higher than in every war of the previous century except Vietnam, for which there were no good statistics. In his book, Michael Weisskopf chronicles the recoveries of three amputees he met at Walter Reed.
Cpl. Bobby Isaacs
Isaacs was given 72 hours to live after a bomb slammed his humvee in Mosul in December 2003. He arrived at Walter Reed intact, but successive surgeries chipped away at both his legs. After returning home to Roxboro, N.C., Isaacs, 25, was invited to speak at churches and became a minor celebrity among Fundamentalist Baptists
Sgt. Pete Damon
A National Guard aviation mechanic, Damon was inflating a tire on a Black Hawk helicopter in Balad when the tire's metal rim exploded in October 2003. He lost his arms--and his partner Paul Bueche. Two months later, Damon married his longtime girlfriend Jenn, exchanging roses in place of rings. Haunted with guilt over Bueche's death, Damon, 34, began to find peace after meeting Bueche's parents, who absolved him of blame
Msgt. Luis Rodriguez
A bomb in Mosul in November 2003 took Rodriguez's right leg as well as the only job the hard-driving combat medic had ever wanted. But Rodriguez, 37, who won a Bronze Star for bravery in Iraq, found a way to stay in uniform, teaching his craft at Fort Campbell in Kentucky
To see previous coverage in TIME on the casualties of the war, go to this week's cover story on time.com