For the ‘Moral Injuries’ Reading List: God Is Not Here, Consequence, Generation Kill, and Others

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Late last night I explained why I thought that Nancy Sherman’s Afterwar was an important non-fiction entry in the still-not-large-enough canon of works explaining our modern chickenhawk-era culture of war. I named a few related works, and this morning I find reminders from readers of others that certainly deserve mention too:

  • God Is Not Here: A Soldier’s Struggle with Torture, Trauma, and the Moral Injuries of War, by Bill Russell Edmonds. In Iraq Edmonds was an officer supervising prisoner-interrogation. His memoir is about the weight of that experience on the prisoners, and on him. When it appeared this past spring I wrote about why I thought it was important, brave, and admirable. A news story about one of Edmonds’s recent talks is here.
  • Consequence magazine. Consequence describes itself as an “international literary magazine focusing on the culture of war.” I am chagrined to say that I had not known about it, but at least I do now. A few days ago it published a review of God is Not Here, by Bob Shea.
  • The HBO one-season series Generation Kill, which I know about but have not seen.  I thought the original book Generation Kill, by Evan Wright, was very good.
  • The FX one-season series Over There, which I saw when it originally aired ten years ago and also admired. Its possible that it was too ahead-of-its-time, for a mainstream audience, in its darkish view of the Iraq invasion and the aftereffects.
  • Restrepo, a powerful documentary film by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington that follows a U.S. unit through a year in Afghanistan. The film came out in 2010; a year later, Hetherington was killed while covering the Libyan civil war.
  • One Bullet Away, by Nathaniel Fick. Fick was a young Marine Corps officer during the invasion of Iraq and also fought in Afghanistan. His book was one of the earliest notable memoirs of the war.

I know there are more, but that will hold us for now. Thanks for the reminders and tips.


Update The video of the Georgetown session is now online. You can find it here, or in embedded version in my preceding post.