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A Soldier's Reckoning of Our Longest War

Erik Edstrom



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Bloomsbury USA
04 August 2020
A powerful manifesto and memoir about America's unchallenged war machine, from a West Point graduate and veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Erik Edstrom was a member of a striving middle class family in Massachusetts when he enrolled in West Point. Four years later, he was deployed as a Lieutenant to Afghanistan, where he saw atrocities and experienced violence that led him to question America's mission and the need for war in general.

Blending his own doubt, his sense of moral complicity in an unjust war, and a searing examination of America and Americans at war, Edstrom lays out the stakes and the true cost of war: the death of young people on both sides of the battlefield and the wasted resources that could have been applied instead toward solving world problems.

For readers of The Forever War and It Happened on the Way to War, Un-American is a manifesto that bridges the gap between Edstrom's own terrifying experience as a soldier and the behemoth of America's shortsighted, self-destructive warmongering.
By:   Erik Edstrom
Imprint:   Bloomsbury USA
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   584g
ISBN:   9781635573749
ISBN 10:   1635573742
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   04 August 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Erik Edstrom graduated from West Point in 2007. He was then deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as infantry platoon leader. Erik spent the remainder of his military service as the Presidential Escort Platoon Leader during the Obama administration. He is a graduate of U.S. Army Ranger school, was selected for the U.S. Special Forces (SFAS), and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. After the military, Erik went on to earn an MBA and Master of Science at Oxford University. He lives in Boston.

Reviews for Un-American: A Soldier's Reckoning of Our Longest War

A decade of reflection culminated in this well-researched meditation on a basic question: Why is it so difficult for Americans to reckon with the reasons, costs, and impact of our wars? . . . Edstrom's bracing inquiry should be at the forefront of the debate about our national perspective on patriotism, the military, defense spending, and, most challenging, our lack of courage to question these crucial issues. --Booklist, starred review Exceptional . . . Un-American is most extraordinary because even after the indoctrination of West Point, Edstrom dared to question some of the decisions and the presence of US military as invaders not saviors. For a real look at the marketing of and true cost of war, this is a must-read. --New York Journal of Books A blistering indictment of the American militarist economy and its much-vaunted war on terror. But it isn't Edstrom's anger that gives Un-American its staggering power-although there's plenty of that-but rather the profound thoughtfulness and perception of his observations, earned at such awful cost. Every chickenhawk president, politician and pundit who has had a hand in blithely casting American soldiers into our futile wars should be made to read this book-and to then seek forgiveness. --Scott Anderson, author of LAWRENCE IN ARABIA: WAR, DECEIT, IMPERIAL FOLLY AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST [A] bright-eyed, scathing indictment of not only the systemic governmental failures that led to our GWOT quagmires but also of an American culture that still somehow deifies the insanity of dying in a pointless war. Required reading for the voting public, particularly anyone who's ever used the phrase 'Support our troops.' --Matt Young, author of EAT THE APPLE Above all, Un-American is an act of significant patriotism and civic courage. One needn't agree with all of Erik Edstrom's conclusions to admire his commitment to moral truth-telling regarding America's endless terror wars. This is a fierce, ferocious debut, a book anyone who seeks to be an engaged citizen should read today. --Matt Gallagher, author of EMPIRE CITY and YOUNGBLOOD An insider's you-are-there look at modern war. Veterans will love it or hate it, but there will be few in between. --Kirkus Reviews A searing indictment of American militarism . . . this outraged, well-informed jeremiad will galvanize readers who agree with Edstrom's assessment that the 'war on terror' is 'self-perpetuating, self-defeating, and immoral. --Publishers Weekly Unflinching and powerful. --Library Journal Edstrom illuminates his personal experiences with apropos quotes from a wide range of sources and contextualizes anecdotes with supporting data. It is deeply, profoundly uncomfortable to go on the mental journey from enthusiastic cadet to fully awakened cynic with Edstrom. [Un-American] forces acknowledgment of our shared culpability in an ongoing if slow-moving tragedy, which is painful - but deeply necessary if we are to learn any lessons about how - and whether - to wage war. --Kayla Williams, director of the Military, Veterans and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security and author of PLENTY OF TIME WHEN WE GET HOME: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War

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