Live via Zoom:
Monday, November 8, 7:30 PM ET
Jerad Alexander presents Volunteers: Growing Up in the Forever War
In conversation with Jared Yates Sexton
For Jerad Alexander military life was ingrained in the very psyche of his family. Long before 9/11, he was raised on masculine fantasies of heroism and patriotism, and as soon as he was old enough, he enlisted in the Marines, eager to fight and protect when he was deployed to Iraq. Once there, however, he learned that much of what he had spent his childhood dreaming about was a mirage. In the tradition of Tim O’Brien and Tobias Wolff, Alexander dissects the mythology of war and American patriotism, the self-replicating ramifications of war on its participants, and the motivations that drive young men and women to enlist in the first place. Joined in conversation by writer and political analyst Jared Yates Sexton (American Rule), Alexander takes the (virtual) Greenlight stage to tell a war story of an untold kind.
Jerad Alexander photo credit: Denise R. Rosenhaft
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.
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.
From writer and political analyst Jared Yates Sexton comes an eye-opening journey through American history that unearths and debunks the myths we've always told ourselves.
Based on the provocative and popular New York Times op–ed, this memoir alternates between the examination of a working–class upbringing and a cultural analysis of the historical, psychological, and sociological sources that make up the roots of toxic masculinity and its impact on society.
“Sexton grapples with the Trump campaign from the perspective of the crowds reveling in the candidate’s presence and message. It is a useful vantage point given the increasingly blatant bigotry in the months since the election.” —The Washington Post