Remember the Iliad? That crusty epic poem no one wanted to read in high school? It's back, only this time it's wrested from the hands of be-tweeded classics professors and rendered in simple prose, with all the gore, sex, and dark humor thrust into the limelight. In other words, it's in a form your teenage self might have actually stood a chance at finishing. The storyteller, John Dolan, is a marginal poet and failed academic (I mean those as compliments) who has found a cult following as the self-styled War Nerd. And his version of the Iliad feels like a pretty good distillation of what draws people to his War Nerd persona. It's astute and searching where others would be lazy and cliched, relentlessly self-deprecating and pessimistic, and doesn't shy away the sentimental or nostalgic when needed - it is Greek myth, after all.
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We recognize the names: Achilles, Odysseus, Zeus, and Apollo. We're taught that The Iliad is a foundational text of civilization. But who has really read the text? Until now, The Iliad was hijacked by academics and used to bludgeon schoolchildren as a boring-yet- mandatory reading.
Poet, novelist, essayist, and former teacher John Dolan revisits this ancient tale and restores it to its ancient glory. The Greeks and Trojans are still fighting. The gods are still interfering. But in Dolan's version, you'll be amazed at how funny, raw, and terrifying this doomed world of war really is. He strips away clunky, archaic language to reveal the true meaning and themes that animate this tale of war and futility.
John Dolan's work under the nom de guerre "Gary Brecher The War Nerd" has been met with both acclaim and controversy. Dolan's version of The Iliad is sapped of the usual saccharine romance attributed to "heroes" and lets the action tell the story. Regardless of attributed name, Dolan/Brecher is an astute observer of modern warfare who now turns that keen analysis to the most classical of documented battles, The Iliad.
John Dolan now works with Mark Ames (of eXile fame) to produce the Radio War Nerd weekly podcast on military matters. Born in Denver, Colorado, Dolan currently lives in Macedonia.
About the Author
The War Nerd, Gary Brecher, is the nom de guerre of John Dolan, a poet, novelist, essayist and former academic. Dolan now works with Mark Ames (of eXile fame) to produce the Radio War Nerd weekly podcast on military matters. Born in Denver, Colorado, Dolan currently lives in Macedonia.