Live Stream Reader Meet Writer: Volunteers: Growing Up in the Forever War with Jerad W. Alexander

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We're pleased to be part of the Reader Meet Writer series of online events hosted by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. 

This event is free but registration is required. Click here to RSVP. Prior to the event we will send an email with the link required to complete your registration and attend on Zoom. 


To many outsiders, joining the military can be a path out of a difficult life, a chance to acquire vocational training, a college scholarship, a patriotic career. But to those, like Alexander, whose parents, stepfather, and grandparents served, and who grew up on American military bases around the world, enlisting was a way of life. The only way. Young Jerad’s obsession with all things military—from guns to war games to the trappings of uniforms, medals, and the movies and books of Vietnam—was bottomless, and as soon as he was able, he joined the US Marines. Only then, on the ground in Iraq, part of the same war his parents had fought before him—a war we are still embroiled in today, years later—did he begin to question all that he had taken on faith.

With courage and raw power, Alexander brings to the fore vital questions: Is America in fact exceptional? Are the “bad guys” actually easy to identify? And most important, are our causes always just?

This powerful debut joins the canon of essential war literature—books like Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead or Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried—helping readers understand the violent and self-replicating mythology of American patriotism, from the eloquent perspective of an enlisted man—not some elite warrior, but a simple volunteer.

Jerad W. Alexander has written for Esquire, Rolling Stone, The Nation, Narratively, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Literary Reportage from the New York University Arthur L. Carter School of Journalism. From 1998 to 2006, he served as a U.S. Marine, deploying to the Mediterranean, East Africa, and Iraq. He grew up on military bases, from the east coast of the United States to Japan. He currently lives in New York City, but calls Atlanta home.

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Volunteers: Growing Up in the Forever War Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781616209964
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - November 9th, 2021