What happens to members of the United States Armed Forces after they die? Why do soldiers endanger their lives to recover the remains of their comrades? Why does the military spend enormous resources and risk further fatalities to recover the bodies of the fallen, even decades after the cessation of hostilities? Soldier Dead is the first book to fully address the complicated physical, social, religious, economic, and political issues concerning the remains of men and women who die while serving their country. Why does recovering the remains of servicepeople matter? Soldier Dead examines this question and provides a thorough analysis of the processes of recovery, identification, return, burial, and remembrance of the dead. The author relates the treatment of enemy dead to our own protocols and shows how unresolved issues regarding the handling of enemy dead continue to affect U.S. foreign relations in wartime. Skillfully incorporating excerpts from interviews, personal correspondence and diaries, military records and journalistic accounts - as well as never-before-published photographs and his own reflections - Michael Sledge presents a clear, concise, and compassionate story about what the dead mean to the living and how the living strive to find balance in a new life without the physical presence of a comrade, father, mother, brother, sister, son, or daughter. Throughout Soldier Dead, the voices of the dead are heard, as are those of family members and military personnel responsible for the dead before final disposition. At times disturbing and at other times encouraging, they are always powerful as they speak of danger, duty, courage, commitment, and care.