via The Atlantic 
Publishers gave away 122,951,031 books during World War II.
And, in the process, created a nation of readers.

via The Atlantic 

Publishers gave away 122,951,031 books during World War II.

And, in the process, created a nation of readers.

Today we’re celebrating the release of Blue-Eyed Boy and all our Marines overseas!

Today we’re celebrating the release of Blue-Eyed Boy and all our Marines overseas!

"War subjects some of its participants to more than any person can bear, and it destroys them. War makes others stronger. For most of us, it leaves a complex legacy. And though many veterans appreciate the well-meaning sentiments behind even the most misdirected pity, I can’t help feeling that all of us, especially those who are struggling, deserve a little less pity and a little more respect." —Phil Klay, author of Redeployment
(via The Wall Street Journal)

"War subjects some of its participants to more than any person can bear, and it destroys them. War makes others stronger. For most of us, it leaves a complex legacy. And though many veterans appreciate the well-meaning sentiments behind even the most misdirected pity, I can’t help feeling that all of us, especially those who are struggling, deserve a little less pity and a little more respect." —Phil Klay, author of Redeployment

(via The Wall Street Journal)

The Madness of War Told in the First Person
Review by Michiko Kakutani
 “You can’t describe it to someone who wasn’t there,” says a Marine who’s served in Iraq, “you can hardly remember how it was yourself because it makes so little sense. And to act like somebody could live and fight for months” there “and not go insane, well, that’s what’s really crazy.”
In “Redeployment,” his searing debut collection of short stories, Phil Klay — a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, who served in Iraq during the surge — gives the civilian reader a visceral feeling for what it is like to be a soldier in a combat zone, and what it is like to return home, still reeling from the dislocations of war. Gritty, unsparing and fiercely observed, these stories leave us with a harrowing sense of the war in Iraq as it was experienced, day by day, by individual soldiers; it achieves through fiction something very similar to what David Finkel’s 2009 nonfiction book “The Good Soldiers” did through tough but empathetic reporting.
There are stories of heroism and kindness here: A sergeant is killed rushing to help three of his wounded men in a narrow Iraqi city alley (“Unless It’s a Sucking Chest Wound”); a lance corporal takes responsibility for a killing he didn’t commit so that his young buddy, a kid who still plays Pokemon, won’t have to (“After Action Report”).
There are also tales of sadistic violence, demented machismo and hopelessness in the face of the surreal, “Groundhog Day”-like madness of fighting in places like Fallujah and Ramadi. “What are we doing?” a soldier asks a chaplain in “Prayer in the Furnace.” “We go down a street, get I.E.D.’d, the next day go down the same street and they’ve I.E.D.’d it again. It’s like, just keep going till you all die.”
Those who make it home face another set of challenges: coping with post-traumatic stress disorder; flashbacks of the violence they witnessed and inflicted; feelings of rage, guilt and anxiety; and problems fitting back in the civilian world.
Most people in the States, one Marine thinks in the title story, take for granted a certain level of safety — they spend “their whole lives at white” — and most will never even get close to orange. You don’t get to orange “until the first time you’re in a firefight, or the first time an I.E.D. goes off that you missed.”
Read the rest of the article here: 

The Madness of War Told in the First Person

Review by Michiko Kakutani

 “You can’t describe it to someone who wasn’t there,” says a Marine who’s served in Iraq, “you can hardly remember how it was yourself because it makes so little sense. And to act like somebody could live and fight for months” there “and not go insane, well, that’s what’s really crazy.”

In “Redeployment,” his searing debut collection of short stories, Phil Klay — a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, who served in Iraq during the surge — gives the civilian reader a visceral feeling for what it is like to be a soldier in a combat zone, and what it is like to return home, still reeling from the dislocations of war. Gritty, unsparing and fiercely observed, these stories leave us with a harrowing sense of the war in Iraq as it was experienced, day by day, by individual soldiers; it achieves through fiction something very similar to what David Finkel’s 2009 nonfiction book “The Good Soldiers” did through tough but empathetic reporting.

There are stories of heroism and kindness here: A sergeant is killed rushing to help three of his wounded men in a narrow Iraqi city alley (“Unless It’s a Sucking Chest Wound”); a lance corporal takes responsibility for a killing he didn’t commit so that his young buddy, a kid who still plays Pokemon, won’t have to (“After Action Report”).

There are also tales of sadistic violence, demented machismo and hopelessness in the face of the surreal, “Groundhog Day”-like madness of fighting in places like Fallujah and Ramadi. “What are we doing?” a soldier asks a chaplain in “Prayer in the Furnace.” “We go down a street, get I.E.D.’d, the next day go down the same street and they’ve I.E.D.’d it again. It’s like, just keep going till you all die.”

Those who make it home face another set of challenges: coping with post-traumatic stress disorder; flashbacks of the violence they witnessed and inflicted; feelings of rage, guilt and anxiety; and problems fitting back in the civilian world.

Most people in the States, one Marine thinks in the title story, take for granted a certain level of safety — they spend “their whole lives at white” — and most will never even get close to orange. You don’t get to orange “until the first time you’re in a firefight, or the first time an I.E.D. goes off that you missed.”

Read the rest of the article here

Ten Kliks South

By: Phil Klay





At the table all nine of us are smiling and laughing, still jittery with nervous excitement. I’m sitting next to Voorstadt, our number one guy, and Jewett, who’s on the ammo team with me and Bolander. Voorstadt’s got a big plate of ravioli and Pop-Tarts, and before digging in, he looks down the table and says, “It’s about time we killed someone.”
Sergeant Deetz laughs. Even I chuckle a little. We’ve been in Iraq two months, one of the few artillery units actually doing artillery, except so far we’ve only shot illumination missions. Some of the other guns in the battery had shot bad guys, but not us. Not until today. Today, the whole damn battery fired.
Jewett, who’s been pretty quiet, asks, “How many insurgents do you think we killed?”
“Platoon-sized element,” says Deetz.
“What?” says Bolander, laughing. “Platoon-sized? Sergeant, AQI don’t have platoons.”
“Why you think we needed the whole damn battery?” says Deetz, grunting out the words.
“We didn’t,” says Bolander. “Each gun only fired two rounds. I figure they just wanted us all to have gun time on an actual target. Besides, even one round of ICM would be enough to take out a platoon in open desert. No way we needed the whole battery. But it was fun.”
Deetz shakes his head slowly, his heavy shoulders hunched over the table. “Platoon-sized element,” he says again. “That’s what it was. And two rounds a gun was what we needed to take it out.”
“But,” says Jewett in a small voice, “I didn’t mean the whole battery. I meant, our gun. How many did our gun, just our gun, kill?”
“How am I supposed to know?” says Deetz.
“Platoon-sized is like, forty,” I say. “Figure, six guns, so divide and you got, six, I don’t know, six point six people per gun.”
“Yeah,” says Bolander. “We killed exactly six point six people.”
Sanchez takes out a notebook and starts doing the math. “Divide it by nine Marines on the gun, and you, personally, you’ve killed zero point seven something people today. That’s like, a torso and a head. Or maybe a torso and a leg.”
“That’s not funny,” says Jewett.
“We definitely got more,” says Deetz. “We’re the best shots in the battery.”
Bolander snorts. “We’re just firing on the quadrant and deflection the FDC gives us, Sergeant. I mean . . .”
“We’re better shots,” says Deetz. “Put a round down a rabbit hole at eighteen miles.”
“But even if we were on target . . . ,” says Jewett.
“We were on target.”
“Okay, Sergeant, we were on target. But the other guns, their rounds could have hit first. Maybe everybody was already dead.”
I can see that, the shrapnel thudding into shattered corpses, the force of it jerking the limbs this way and that.
“Look,” says Bolander, “even if their rounds hit first, it doesn’t mean everybody was dead. Maybe some insurgent had shrapnel in his chest, right, and he’s like—” Bolander sticks his tongue out and clutches his chest dramatically. “Then our round comes down, boom, blows his fucking head off. He was dying already, but we’d have finished him off.”
“Yeah, sure,” says Jewett, “I guess. But I don’t feel like I killed anybody. I think I’d know if I killed somebody.”
“Naw,” says Deetz, “you wouldn’t know. Not until you’d seen the bodies.” He shrugs. “It’s better this way.”
“Doesn’t it feel weird to you,” says Jewett, “after our first real mission, to just be eating lunch?”
Deetz scowls at him, then takes a big bite of his Salisbury steak and grins. “Gotta eat,” he says with his mouth full of food.
“Why?” Voorstadt says to Jewett. “We just killed some bad guys.”
“I don’t think I killed anybody,” says Jewett.
“Technically, I’m the one that pulled the lanyard,” says Voorstadt. “I fired the thing. You just loaded.”
“Like I couldn’t pull a lanyard,” says Jewett.
“Yeah, but you didn’t,” says Voorstadt.
“Drop it,” says Deetz. “It’s a crew-served weapon. It takes a crew.”
“If we used a howitzer to kill somebody back in the States,” I say, “I wonder what crime they’d charge us with.”
“Murder,” says Deetz. “What are you, an idiot?”
“Yeah, murder, sure,” I say, “but for each of us? In what degree? I mean, me and Bolander and Jewett loaded, right? If I loaded an M16 and handed it to Voorstadt and he shot somebody, I wouldn’t say I’d killed anyone.”
“It’s a crew-served weapon,” says Deetz. “Crew. Served. Weapon. It’s different.”
“And I loaded, but we got the ammo from the ASP,” I say. “Shouldn’t they be responsible, too, the ASP Marines?”
“Yeah,” says Jewett. “Why not the ASP?”
“Why not the factory workers who made the ammo?” says Deetz. “Or the taxpayers who paid for it? You know why not? Because that’s retarded.”
Jewett gives a little shrug. “I don’t know,” he says. “I still don’t feel like I killed anybody.”
And as dumb as Jewett’s being, it dawns on me that I don’t either. I look around the table. Jewett’s fucking it up for everybody. And he’s fucking it up for me too. So I turn to him. “It’s supposed to feel good.” I say. “It feels good.”




- See more at: http://www.pen.org/flash-fiction/ten-kliks-south#sthash.QkMmpAfY.dpuf

Ten Kliks South

At the table all nine of us are smiling and laughing, still jittery with nervous excitement. I’m sitting next to Voorstadt, our number one guy, and Jewett, who’s on the ammo team with me and Bolander. Voorstadt’s got a big plate of ravioli and Pop-Tarts, and before digging in, he looks down the table and says, “It’s about time we killed someone.”

Sergeant Deetz laughs. Even I chuckle a little. We’ve been in Iraq two months, one of the few artillery units actually doing artillery, except so far we’ve only shot illumination missions. Some of the other guns in the battery had shot bad guys, but not us. Not until today. Today, the whole damn battery fired.

Jewett, who’s been pretty quiet, asks, “How many insurgents do you think we killed?”

“Platoon-sized element,” says Deetz.

“What?” says Bolander, laughing. “Platoon-sized? Sergeant, AQI don’t have platoons.”

“Why you think we needed the whole damn battery?” says Deetz, grunting out the words.

“We didn’t,” says Bolander. “Each gun only fired two rounds. I figure they just wanted us all to have gun time on an actual target. Besides, even one round of ICM would be enough to take out a platoon in open desert. No way we needed the whole battery. But it was fun.”

Deetz shakes his head slowly, his heavy shoulders hunched over the table. “Platoon-sized element,” he says again. “That’s what it was. And two rounds a gun was what we needed to take it out.”

“But,” says Jewett in a small voice, “I didn’t mean the whole battery. I meant, our gun. How many did our gun, just our gun, kill?”

“How am I supposed to know?” says Deetz.

“Platoon-sized is like, forty,” I say. “Figure, six guns, so divide and you got, six, I don’t know, six point six people per gun.”

“Yeah,” says Bolander. “We killed exactly six point six people.”

Sanchez takes out a notebook and starts doing the math. “Divide it by nine Marines on the gun, and you, personally, you’ve killed zero point seven something people today. That’s like, a torso and a head. Or maybe a torso and a leg.”

“That’s not funny,” says Jewett.

“We definitely got more,” says Deetz. “We’re the best shots in the battery.”

Bolander snorts. “We’re just firing on the quadrant and deflection the FDC gives us, Sergeant. I mean . . .”

“We’re better shots,” says Deetz. “Put a round down a rabbit hole at eighteen miles.”

“But even if we were on target . . . ,” says Jewett.

“We were on target.”

“Okay, Sergeant, we were on target. But the other guns, their rounds could have hit first. Maybe everybody was already dead.”

I can see that, the shrapnel thudding into shattered corpses, the force of it jerking the limbs this way and that.

“Look,” says Bolander, “even if their rounds hit first, it doesn’t mean everybody was dead. Maybe some insurgent had shrapnel in his chest, right, and he’s like—” Bolander sticks his tongue out and clutches his chest dramatically. “Then our round comes down, boom, blows his fucking head off. He was dying already, but we’d have finished him off.”

“Yeah, sure,” says Jewett, “I guess. But I don’t feel like I killed anybody. I think I’d know if I killed somebody.”

“Naw,” says Deetz, “you wouldn’t know. Not until you’d seen the bodies.” He shrugs. “It’s better this way.”

“Doesn’t it feel weird to you,” says Jewett, “after our first real mission, to just be eating lunch?”

Deetz scowls at him, then takes a big bite of his Salisbury steak and grins. “Gotta eat,” he says with his mouth full of food.

“Why?” Voorstadt says to Jewett. “We just killed some bad guys.”

“I don’t think I killed anybody,” says Jewett.

“Technically, I’m the one that pulled the lanyard,” says Voorstadt. “I fired the thing. You just loaded.”

“Like I couldn’t pull a lanyard,” says Jewett.

“Yeah, but you didn’t,” says Voorstadt.

“Drop it,” says Deetz. “It’s a crew-served weapon. It takes a crew.”

“If we used a howitzer to kill somebody back in the States,” I say, “I wonder what crime they’d charge us with.”

“Murder,” says Deetz. “What are you, an idiot?”

“Yeah, murder, sure,” I say, “but for each of us? In what degree? I mean, me and Bolander and Jewett loaded, right? If I loaded an M16 and handed it to Voorstadt and he shot somebody, I wouldn’t say I’d killed anyone.”

“It’s a crew-served weapon,” says Deetz. “Crew. Served. Weapon. It’s different.”

“And I loaded, but we got the ammo from the ASP,” I say. “Shouldn’t they be responsible, too, the ASP Marines?”

“Yeah,” says Jewett. “Why not the ASP?”

“Why not the factory workers who made the ammo?” says Deetz. “Or the taxpayers who paid for it? You know why not? Because that’s retarded.”

Jewett gives a little shrug. “I don’t know,” he says. “I still don’t feel like I killed anybody.

And as dumb as Jewett’s being, it dawns on me that I don’t either. I look around the table. Jewett’s fucking it up for everybody. And he’s fucking it up for me too. So I turn to him. “It’s supposed to feel good.” I say. “It feels good.

- See more at: http://www.pen.org/flash-fiction/ten-kliks-south#sthash.QkMmpAfY.dpuf

Pandora’s Box: How American Military Aid Creates America’s Enemies by Ronan Farrow will be released from The Penguin Press in 2015

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/ronan-farrow-son-of-mia-writing-book-about-us-military-aid-due-to-come-out-in-2015/2013/10/15/722e384c-35ac-11e3-89db-8002ba99b894_story.html

Pandora’s Box: How American Military Aid Creates America’s Enemies by Ronan Farrow will be released from The Penguin Press in 2015

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/ronan-farrow-son-of-mia-writing-book-about-us-military-aid-due-to-come-out-in-2015/2013/10/15/722e384c-35ac-11e3-89db-8002ba99b894_story.html

"Klay lets us feel what life is like on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan with stories ranging from ‘Redeployment,’ about a soldier edging back into civilian life after having spent time in Fallujah shooting dogs who were eating human corpses, to ‘Money as a Weapons System,’ whose abashed hero is tasked with helping Iraqis by teaching them baseball. Important reading; pay attention."

Library Journal's pre-pub review of Redeployment by Phil Klay

Thomas Ricks, the country’ foremost military journalist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, argues Obama should not have accepted Petraeus’s resignation:

The sudden departure of General David Petraeus from the CIA probably tells us more about the state of our nation than it does about Petraeus. President Barack Obama should not have accepted his resignation.
We now seem to care more about the sex lives of our leaders than the real lives of our soldiers. We had years of failed generalship in Iraq, for example, yet left those commanders in place. Petraeus’s departure again demonstrates we are strict about intimate behavior, but extraordinarily lax about professional incompetence.
“A private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war,” Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling wrote in the Armed Forces Journal in 2007.
Americans severely judge some forms of private behavior between consenting adults, if one party is a public official. Yet we often resist weighing the professional competence of such officials ‑ even when they clearly are not doing a good job.
This is not, as some say, because we are a puritanical nation. Rather, our standards have changed in recent decades ‑ and not for the better.
Keep reading at Reuters

The Generals by Thomas Ricks, an instant New York Times bestseller, is in stores now. 

Thomas Ricks, the country’ foremost military journalist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, argues Obama should not have accepted Petraeus’s resignation:

The sudden departure of General David Petraeus from the CIA probably tells us more about the state of our nation than it does about Petraeus. President Barack Obama should not have accepted his resignation.

We now seem to care more about the sex lives of our leaders than the real lives of our soldiers. We had years of failed generalship in Iraq, for example, yet left those commanders in place. Petraeus’s departure again demonstrates we are strict about intimate behavior, but extraordinarily lax about professional incompetence.

“A private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war,” Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling wrote in the Armed Forces Journal in 2007.

Americans severely judge some forms of private behavior between consenting adults, if one party is a public official. Yet we often resist weighing the professional competence of such officials ‑ even when they clearly are not doing a good job.

This is not, as some say, because we are a puritanical nation. Rather, our standards have changed in recent decades ‑ and not for the better.

Keep reading at Reuters

The Generals by Thomas Ricks, an instant New York Times bestseller, is in stores now. 

Wolf Blitzer and Thomas E. Ricks (author of New York Times bestseller The Generals) discuss the Petraeus affair on “The Situation Room.”

(Source: youtube.com)

Breaking News: Petraeus resigns as Director of the CIA. 
This is certainly big news. More details will play out in the hours to come. In the meantime we recommend Paula Broadwell’s essay for CNN on how he got the job. (Broadwell literally wrote the book on the man.)
Additionally, Thomas E. Ricks, author of instant bestseller The Generals, will appear on Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation Room" tonight to discuss the implications of Petraeus’ resignation for the Obama administration, the intelligence community, and the military.

Breaking News: Petraeus resigns as Director of the CIA. 

This is certainly big news. More details will play out in the hours to come. In the meantime we recommend Paula Broadwell’s essay for CNN on how he got the job. (Broadwell literally wrote the book on the man.)

Additionally, Thomas E. Ricks, author of instant bestseller The Generals, will appear on Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation Room" tonight to discuss the implications of Petraeus’ resignation for the Obama administration, the intelligence community, and the military.