Recently author Brian Van Reet and I had a long chat about art, war, life–pretty much everything. In Part I of our conversation we discussed, among other things, the process of literary creation, the military-civilian divide, and feasibility of reinstating the draft. The continuation of our conversation is below. EPC: I think it can be hard […]Read more "My Chat with Veteran and Author Brian Van Reet About Literary Creation and Military Service, Part II"
As I work on my research about, and prepare for my class on, contemporary war writing, a number of authors and translators have graciously agreed to talk to me. A couple of weeks ago I posted my chat with British veteran and author Andy Owen; this time it’s American Brian Van Reet, author of Spoils, […]Read more "My Chat with Veteran and Author Brian Van Reet About Literary Creation and Military Service"
The New Literary War Hero of Chechnya, Iraq, and Afghanistan Image from “Ninth Company,” dir. Fyodor Bondarchuk When I began reading and writing about contemporary Russian war prose, especially connected to the Chechen wars, I thought that the Russian/Chechen experience, and the literature coming out of it, was unique. And of course the Chechen wars […]Read more "My Chat with Veteran and Author Andy Owen about War, Literature, and PTSD, Part II"
The New Literary War Hero in the Age of the Global War on Terror (Image from the film “Captive,” dir. Aleksey Uchitel) While this blog was originally focused mainly on my side hustle job of writing and reviewing fantasy, readers may have noticed a certain focus on matters military in recent posts, as in my […]Read more "My Chat with Andy Owen About War, Literature, and PTSD, Part I"
Asne Seierstad was a freelance journalist in Moscow when the first Chechen war broke out. Acting under a poorly-understood compulsion to find out what was really going on there, she sweet-talked her way onto a military transport plane and ended up in Grozny. She spent several months during the first war, and again during the […]Read more "“The Angel of Grozny” by Åsne Seierstad"
While any Politkovskaya book is an emotionally intense experience, this one is particularly wrenching: it begins with articles she wrote during the final years of her life, including the articles that may have led to her murder, and ends with tributes–some heartfelt, some grudging–paid to her after her death by her friends, admirers, and enemies […]Read more "“Is Journalism Worth Dying For?” by Anna Politkovskaya"
In “A Small Corner of Hell,” Anna Politkovskaya continues her reportage of the Second Chechen War. While “A Dirty War,” the first collection of her articles, conveys them in more or less their original form, “A Small Corner of Hell,” while still divided into individual reports, is a more coherent, book-like narrative, with large sections […]Read more "“A Small Corner of Hell” by Anna Politkovskaya"
Zakhar Prilepin represents much of what is confusing and contradictory about contemporary Russia. And on the other hand, it’s all absolutely simple. He’s a pro-Stalinist member of the anti-Putin opposition, a writer who exposes the dark side of modern Russian life while volunteering in the army of the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic. Western readers […]Read more "“Sin” by Zakhar Prilepin"
Anyone tempted to say that heroes no longer exist need look no further than opposition Russian journalists to be proven wrong. Although there are many heroes and martyrs amongst that group, the name Anna Politkovskaya is particularly sacred. A furious truth-teller, Politkovskay always had the courage of her convictions, descending into chaos, corruption, and the […]Read more "“A Dirty War” by Anna Politkovskaya"
Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present A compelling survey of irregular warfare from the pre-Christian era to the present, “Invisible Armies” covers both guerrilla fighting, which Boot calls “the oldest form of warfare,” and terrorism, which he considers “strikingly modern.” While exhaustively researched, this is not a […]Read more "“Invisible Armies” by Max Boot"