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Dominic Fredianelli and his buddies signed up for the National Guard in exchange for a signing bonus and help with college tuition. A new documentary, Where Soldiers Come From by Heather Courtney, follows their path from carefree teens in Michigan to combat veterans facing battle in Afghanistan.
Courtney spent two years with the group, which deployed in December 2008, documenting the families and the towns these young soldiers come from, their introduction to combat and disillusionment with their mission, and the problems that surface once they return home.
NPR's Neal Conan talks with Courtney and Fredianelli about the film.
The author and critic died Friday of injuries sustained in a car accident. For years, he was the voice of NPR's literature commentary — and, for many, the "guide to a very exciting world."