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Volunteers: Growing Up in the Forever War



by
Jerad W. Alexander

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
Imprint
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
ISBN
9781616209964
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes , Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War
$24.10   $20.08
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“Riveting and morally complex, Volunteers is not only an insider’s account of war. It takes you inside the increasingly closed culture that creates our warriors.” —Elliot Ackerman, author of the National Book Award finalist Dark at the Crossing.

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 guns, joined the Civil Air Patrol for the uniform, and reveled in the closed and safe life “inside the castle,” within the embrace of the armed forces, the only world he knew or could imagine. Most of all, he dreamed of enlisting—like his mother, father, stepfather, and grandfather before him—and playing his part in the Great American War Story.

He joined the US Marines straight out of high school, eager for action. Once in Iraq, 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.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes , Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

320

Trim Size

9" x 6"

Dewey

B

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Jun 2022

Book Genres

Narrative Nonfiction, Memoir

Topics

Jerad W. Alexander (1980– ). US Marine Corps. Iraq War (2003–2011). Children of US military personnel. Military life. Miliary socialization. Militarism. Coming of age.

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Praise & Reviews

The Horn Book

Alexander grew up in and among U.S. military families and always expected to join the military (like his father and stepfather, as well as his friends' parents). In this poignant debut memoir, Alexander recalls that his ambitions and the surroundings of his childhood impelled him to enlist in the Marines in 1998. Alexander movingly writes that growing up on a base was fun for him, if in retrospect limiting, and he never spared a thought for another life. The military was his world and provided an encompassing sense of familiarity, safety, and support. His memoir is a reminiscence on growing up and embracing the reality of service, and occasionally combat, as a Marine. The author writes particularly evocatively of the fantasies of heroism and patriotism that exist in American culture and the mainstream reverence for the military. VERDICT An absorbing if dreamlike apologia for the way Alexander grew up, and a firsthand look at a closed culture that some Americans never get to see. Especially recommended for libraries with a significant military clientele.-Edwin Burgess, Kansas City, KS

Praise & Reviews

The Horn Book

Alexander grew up in and among U.S. military families and always expected to join the military (like his father and stepfather, as well as his friends' parents). In this poignant debut memoir, Alexander recalls that his ambitions and the surroundings of his childhood impelled him to enlist in the Marines in 1998. Alexander movingly writes that growing up on a base was fun for him, if in retrospect limiting, and he never spared a thought for another life. The military was his world and provided an encompassing sense of familiarity, safety, and support. His memoir is a reminiscence on growing up and embracing the reality of service, and occasionally combat, as a Marine. The author writes particularly evocatively of the fantasies of heroism and patriotism that exist in American culture and the mainstream reverence for the military. VERDICT An absorbing if dreamlike apologia for the way Alexander grew up, and a firsthand look at a closed culture that some Americans never get to see. Especially recommended for libraries with a significant military clientele.-Edwin Burgess, Kansas City, KS

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