Volunteers: Growing Up in the Forever War


Product Details

$26.95  $24.79
Algonquin Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 8.9 X 1.34 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Jerad W. Alexander has written for Esquire, Rolling Stone, The Nation, Narratively, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Literary Reportage from the New York University Arthur L. Carter School of Journalism. From 1998 to 2006, he served as a U.S. Marine, deploying to the Mediterranean, East Africa, and Iraq. He grew up on military bases, from the east coast of the United States to Japan. He currently lives in New York City, but calls Atlanta home.


"Riveting and morally complex, Volunteers is not only an insider's account of war. It takes you inside the increasingly closed culture that creates our warriors. In the case of Jerad W. Alexander, that culture has also created a writer of remarkable talent."
--Elliot Ackerman, author of the National Book Award finalist Dark at the Crossing

"A beautiful and powerfully affecting portrait of a boyhood in a military family, in which contrasting and ever more complex views of America, of war, and of what it means to be a soldier lead to the decision to join the military and serve in Iraq. In that way, it's also a portrait of the stories we tell ourselves, and how those stories fare when our children grow up and try to live them."
--Phil Klay, author of Redeployment (winner of the National Book Award) and Missionaries

"With this work, Jerad W. Alexander has staked his claim as one of the most necessary voices while contributing to a necessary and overdue examination of our military culture and what it means to be an American. An absolute triumph."
--Jared Yates Sexton, author of American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World but Failed Its People

"What sets apart Volunteers from other literary treatments of modern conflict is that it understands war is not a destination but a state of being. 'The war is everywhere, ' Jerad W. Alexander writes in this beautiful, dark chronicle of an American life and lineage shaped by empire. This testament to moral and physical courage deserves all the accolades about to come its way and more. Volunteers is exceptional."
--Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood and Empire City

"A reckoning of American identity, masculinity, and exceptionalism that dissects the U.S. military ethos, while capturing the popular culture that shaped a generation of service members. An eloquent and compelling memoir, written in the language of candor, humor, and grim realism."
--Dewaine Farria, author of Revolutions of All Colors

"Volunteers is a compelling twofer. In it, Jerad Alexander recounts his coming of age in an environment that glamorized war and his own subsequent encounter with the singularly unglamorous reality of combat. Vivid, intimate, and moving, Volunteers belongs on the very top shelf of 'forever war' memoirs."
--Andrew Bacevich, author of After the Apocalypse: America's Role in a World Transformed