Volunteers

Volunteers

Regular price $26.95
“A beautiful and powerfully affecting portrait of a boyhood in a military family.” —Phil Klay, author of Missionaries and the National Book Award-winning Redeployment
 

As a child, Jerad Alexander lay in bed listening to the fighter jets take off outside his window and was desperate to be airborne. As a teenager at an American base in Japan, he immersed himself in war games, war movies, and pulpy novels about Vietnam. Obsessed with all things military, he grew up playing with real guns, joined the Civil Air Patrol for the uniform, and dreamed of enlisting and playing his part in the Great American War Story. Once in Iraq as a U.S. Marine, however, he came to realize he was fighting a lost cause, enmeshed in the ongoing War on Terror that was really just a fruitless display of American might. The myths of war, the stories of violence and masculinity and heroism, the legacy of his family—everything Alexander had planned his life around—was a mirage.

Alternating scenes from childhood with skirmishes in the Iraqi desert, this original, searing, and propulsive memoir introduces a powerful new voice in the literature of war. Jerad W. Alexander—not some elite warrior, but a simple volunteer—delivers a passionate and timely reckoning with the troubled and cyclical truths of the American war machine.