At Home with Literati: Jerad Alexander & David Abrams

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 7:00pm

We're pleased to welcome Jerad Alexander to our At Home with Literati Series in support of Volunteers. He'll be in conversation with David Abrams.

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About the book: In this provocative, impassioned memoir, Jerad W. Alexander reveals what it was like to be raised on war, vividly recreating the masculine fantasies of American heroism and patriotism that animated his childhood--and at the same time brilliantly dismantling those myths.

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.

David Abrams’ debut novel about the Iraq War, Fobbit, was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2012 and a Best Book of 2012 by Paste Magazine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Barnes and Noble. It was also featured as part of B&N's Discover Great New Writers program. One of his short stories, "Roll Call," was included in the anthology Fire and Forget (Da Capo Press, 2013). His short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in Esquire, Narrative, Electric Literature, Consequence, Salamander, The Literarian, Connecticut Review, The Greensboro Review, Five Chapters, The Missouri Review, and many other places. His work has also appeared in the New York Times and Salon.

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

Fobbit Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802120328
Availability: Usually Available in Several Days
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - September 4th, 2012

Brave Deeds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802126863
Availability: Usually Available in Several Days
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - August 1st, 2017