Why this one over all the other greats that were #'s 11 and beyond? Because it accomplishes what every great cover aspires to: deep and profound emotion, without cheap tricks. It tackles a subject that no one really wants to confront, and it does so with respect to the two primary parties involved: the subject and the reader. Other magazines have put amputee veterans of the Iraq War on their covers, but none had the kind of photography and art direction that elevate this one. The placement of soldier Bryan Anderson on the floor, wearing shorts, emphasizes his lost limbs while enabling him to look spiritually intact, even cool. He's saying: I have to deal with this, and so do you. He's missing two legs and an arm, but he's got his Purple Heart, his pride and his future intact. Some day Esquire may tire of its idiosyncratic treatment of cover headlines, and here they do detract a bit. But nothing can derail the power and honesty of the photo, and the emotional credibility they give to the magazine's presentation of a difficult story.