At a suicide prevention center in upstate New York, America's troops and veterans are calling in for help.
And that help is needed more than ever. This past year witnessed a terrible death toll from suicide. For the first time in a decade of war, more active-duty troops have taken their own lives this year than have died fighting in Afghanistan.
It's probably not true that truth is stranger than fiction, but in the hands of a great biographer, it can be just as compelling. Novelists can create unique and unforgettable characters — there's never been anyone quite like Jane Eyre or Ignatius J. Reilly — but there's no shortage of fascinating literary protagonists who just happened to exist in real life.
Imagine going to work every day and not getting paid. Then, one day, you're told there's no work to do — so you must pay the company for the privilege of not working.
This is the daily reality facing Mrs. Kim, a petite 52-year-old North Korean. Her husband's job in a state-run steel factory requires him to build roads. She can't remember the last time he received a monthly salary. When there are no roads to build, he has to pay his company around 20 times his paltry monthly salary, she says.
Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:40 pm
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
General Norman Schwarzkopf has died. The military leader who earned the nickname Stormin' Norman was 78 years old. He became a household name in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
Joining us now is NPR's Pentagon correspondent, Tom Bowman. And, Tom, to begin, tell us a little bit about his background. How did Schwarzkopf rise through the ranks?