03 April 2013

Author Attempts to Kickstart Second Book on Iraq War

Nathan Webster, an Iraq War veteran, photojournalist, mil-blogger, and author of "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Change and Conflict," has launched a Kickstarter funding project to repurpose and update his work.

Webster was featured previously featured on the Red Bull Rising blog here.

"Those stories are only a few of the dozens of moments I captured during my three reporting trips," Webster writes now. "Often, these brief moments existed only within the brief second of the shutter click, and taking up space only as few megabytes of digital memory. But they were all stories waiting to be told. My new project expands on that idea."

Webster proposes to follow up with the soldiers he covered over the course of those three summers, in a manner similar to his recent contributions to The New York Times' "A Soldier Writes" blog. He further describes that work here:
  • "From the Battlefields of Iraq to a Fight in Congo’s National Parks" focused on Spec. William Coppeler, a sniper on Capt. Chris Loftis' "personal security detachment." Out of the Army, he is trying to organize a trip to the Congolese National Parks, to help outgunned park rangers protect themselves against poachers, to better protect endangered gorillas.
  • "In War, Moments Worth Remembering" was published on the Aug. 2 anniversary of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, that began all the conflict that followed. It offers present day reflections from Kris Vasquez, a California college student, and Chad SeBour, a Baltimore private investigator. Despite all the violence, there were a few good memories from Iraq, too—like Rip-It drinks and Honey Buns.
Through his Kickstarter efforts, Webster is attempting to raise just $950 to produce a photo-intensive book, one that will complement his current volume and explore in-depth some 25 to 30 of his best images. The proposed title of the new work? "Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory."

Webster, also a voracious reader and prolific book reviewer, regularly files blog-posts at War on Terror News (W.O.T.N.). His recent criticism of Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" (1987) and the Gustav Hasford's"The Short Timers," the novel on which the movie was based, for example, provided any number of meaty insights for consumers of war narrative. He brings observations of similar weight and quality to his own war writing.
My motivation for "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory" remains the same as when I produced my first book:

When soldiers return from overseas, they take off their uniform and blend back into society; maybe it will be hard to remember what these men and women looked like when they were young and at war in a place very far from home. I hope these photographs and stories help an audience appreciate and understand what it looked and felt like during these three summers in Iraq where the temperature rarely dipped below 125 degrees and a stubborn enemy rarely stood and fought.

We've left Iraq. We've handed control back over to the citizens of that star-crossed country. But we can't wash our hands of this past decade of war; we might think we can, might think we have—but this war is yours and mine, for many years to come. We can't give this war away.

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