Hot Link: Luke Mogelson Dispatch from Iraq

Oh Well (2) by Lydia Komatsu

“Oh Well (2)” courtesy of Lydia Komatsu

Once in a while, someone writes a piece of war reportage that will stand the test. The stars have to align perfectly — the right material, a friendly editor willing to deal with obscene word count, a lack of stronger competition within the issue itself — all this and more are the backstory to the most important pieces in the war writing canon. I’m talking about pieces like “M,” John Sack’s 33,000 word shot from Vietnam for Esquire, or John Hersey’s 30,000 word “Hiroshima” for The New Yorker. Even Mark Bowden’s original series of 29 (!) articles for The Philadelphia Inquirer that later became Blackhawk Down 

In the current fight against ISIS, the narrative no longer belongs to the U.S. military. Not in any meaningful way, anyway. That story belongs to the Iraqis who are putting it on the line.  Luke Mogelson bet 20,000 words on it, and I’d argue, hit the jackpot. I haven’t read a piece like this in a really long time. For you writers out there, pay close attention to Mogelson’s narrative stance: how he begins as a journalist, but ends with far more complicity. The strain is palpable in the writing. This is a piece you’re going to want to carve off some time, and some place quiet, to read this one:  The Desperate Battle to Destroy ISIS – The New Yorker.

Hot Link: Elliot Ackerman Returns to Fallujah for Esquire

Oh Well (2) by Lydia Komatsu

“Oh Well (2)” courtesy of Lydia Komatsu

Marine Corps veteran and author Elliot Ackerman (Green on BlueDark at the Crossing) has a wonderful bit of elegiac longform up at Esquire. It’s about returning to Fallujah in 2016, to the site where he lost a friend during the nastiness of 2004. If you recall, we brought Elliot up for last year’s   DANGER CLOSE ALASKA, so I’m always excited to see instructor alum putting their work out there into the world. Check the piece out here, but maybe brace yourself a bit: Goodbye, My Brother

Hot Link: Eric Chandler on O-Dark-Thirty

Oh Well (2) by Lydia Komatsu

“Oh Well (2)” courtesy of Lydia Komatsu

It’s strange when two vets from the same town, who participated in the same war, shake hands for the first time. Even more strange when it turns out they’re both writing about their time on the dusty fringes of the empire. And it gets super weird when both are endurance junkies.

That would be Eric Chandler and I, both from Duluth (I was born there while he retired from the MN ANG’s 148th Fighter Wing.) We met for the first time at AWP, after having conversed a few times over email and the Twitterverse. He’s got a great story that tracks the career of a fighter pilot, which just recently published with the Veteran Writing Project’s journal, O-Dark-Thirty, and I think you should check it out: The Dirty Dozen | O-Dark-Thirty