Consequence: A Memoir


Product Details

Henry Holt & Company
Publish Date
6.4 X 1.0 X 9.4 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

Eric Fair, an Army veteran, worked in Iraq as a contract interrogator in 2004. He won a Pushcart prize for his 2012 essay Consequence, which was published first in Ploughshares and then in Harper's Magazine. His op-eds on interrogation have also been published in The Washington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania


"Important. . .candid and chilling. . .At once an agonized confession of [Fair's] own complicity as an interrogator at Abu Ghraib and an indictment of the system that enabled and tried to justify torture.. . .here the sense of the absurd is infused with real horror and injustice. . .[a] profoundly unsettling book." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Essential reading. . .An overdue reckoning. . .[Fair] never shirks responsibility or offers excuses...he gives us simply a record of what happened. . .[CONSEQUENCE's] pages comprise an atrocity measured in maimed Muslim bodies and minds -- and the associated moral injuries to U.S. service members. Scars of the soul do not easily heal. Nor perhaps should they. No other book guides readers so honestly and so succinctly through this grim chapter in U.S. history." --Kael Weston, The Washington Post

"Brave, chilling, necessary. No one is absolved." --Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal

"[Fair's] decision to assemble [his experiences] into a memoir isn't necessarily heroic, but his self-lacerating moral clarity might be. Fair's journey from Pennsylvania to the army, the police, government-contract work, a Christian seminary, and a heart transplant--all narrated in staccato present tense--fills out the picture of a good soldier doing bad work in a terrible war." --Vulture's "8 Books You Need to Read"

"An act of incredible bravery. If we, as a country, are ever to fully account for the past decade of war and what it meant, we need those who participated to have the courage to tell us what was done in our name. Eric Fair does not speak in euphemisms. He does not justify or condemn. He merely tells us what happened. And that is something we desperately need to hear." --Phil Klay

"Harrowing. . . .Fair is a gifted writer, and his capacity for self-examination makes this work both deeply insightful and moving." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Startling...Affecting...Candid and deeply unsettling...Eschewing abstract discussions of torture and the war, the author offers a beguiling personal narrative that forces readers to share his pain and uncertainty over his circumstances....Told against the background of his failing heart (he required a transplant), his failing hometown (Bethlehem Steel went bankrupt), and his war-strained marriage....[Fair's story] points up the larger failures of interrogators like himself to prevent abusive acts and of the country to end its endorsement of torture."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"It takes a lot of courage to write honestly about one's own mistakes, and even more courage to write about the mistakes of one's country. Eric Fair has done both. This remarkable book is both an agonized confession and a chilling exposΓ© of one of the darkest interludes of the War on Terror. Only this kind of courage and honesty can bring America back to the democratic values that we are so rightfully proud of." --Sebastian Junger

"I don't think Eric Fair writes so we might laud him for courage or artistry. The complex reckoning within these pages mirrors our wars, which have been fought in a similar, gray morality. So this book deserves that singular and highest of compliments: It is honest." --Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue

"A glimpse into the inner workings of someone who has been at the center of some of the most vexing issues of the past decade...Artful, understated, surprising...We have read a lot about war lately, but we have never read anything like this." --Nick Flynn

"Eric Fair writes hauntingly and sparingly...This book is an important step for our country, in coming to terms with the reality of what we did, and what Eric and others did in our name." --Scott Cooper, National Security Outreach Director at Human Rights First

"In Eric Fair's earth-shaking memoir, Consequence, we hear a profoundly courageous, essential voice of personal and national accountability." --Kelle Groom, author of I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl

"The story of Eric Fair's headlong plunge into this 'nightmare in Iraq' and its aftermath remains with the reader long after the last page, as we consider the ethical consequences not only for Eric's own life but for all citizens with any sort of conscience."--Kelly Denton-Borhaug, Ph.D., author of U.S. War-Culture, Sacrifice and Salvation