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The Bodies in Person

Best Seller
The Bodies in Person by Nick McDonell
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Sep 18, 2018 | ISBN 9780525532811 | 495 Minutes

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  • Sep 18, 2018 | ISBN 9780735211575

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Praise for The Bodies in Person:

“Striking…pulsating with attention to moral principle.”
The New Republic

“This first-hand contemplation of death in war is a gift to future historians and a gesture to moral philosophers. It helps us to see the world as it is while gently encouraging us to ask how it might be better.“
—Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny

“Some of the finest war reporting by an American that I have ever read.”
—Dennis Covington, The American Scholar

“Dark and electric.. part-Dispatches odyssey, part-Behind the Beautiful Forevers exploration of justice and inequality, the book works because of McDonell’s restraint. He doesn’t condemn. But he also refuses to equivocate. He shows, and tells. And shows and tells. And shows. And tells. Until it hurts.”
—Matt Gallagher, Time

“McDonell’s newest book, The Bodies in Person: An Account of Civilian Casualties in American Wars, positions itself somewhere between reportage and social analysis, moving journalistically from the streets of Mosul and Baghdad to a drone-warfare control room. The degree of access is incredible: McDonell embeds with a civil defense squad, digging people out of air-struck buildings while dodging ISIS snipers; he interviews senior American officers, visits refugee camps, goes on patrol, repeatedly speaks on the phone to a Taliban spokesman who turns out to be several people using a single cover name. But McDonell is clearly aiming at something bigger than the curation of uncomfortable facts; he’s interested in the big moral ideas underpinning the making and instantiating of American foreign policy. There cannot be many people with a more comprehensive view of the War on Terror, and his engagement with the debate over what a more ethical foreign policy might look like is worth considering.”The Point

“This is an extremely well-reported, extremely tough-minded look at how we Americans think about, or don’t think about, civilian deaths in our recent foreign wars. Just as importantly, it paints vivid portraits of the Iraqi army and police officers tasked with cleaning up after our bombs. After reading The Bodies in Person, the human impact of our way of fighting ISIS, among other targets, will never leave your conscience— and never should.” —Dave Eggers, author of The Monk of Mokha and What Is the What

The Bodies in Person is a haunting work of reportage from the frontlines of America’s wars, in the spirit of classic writing on Vietnam, that delves deep into our collective martial psyche. McDonell is a brilliant reporter who rescues these people from anonymity, which makes Bodies a crucial first step in their pursuit of justice. This is the most important book on the human cost of America’s wars to appear in decades.”
—Anand Gopal, author of No Good Men Among the Living

“Beware. This masterpiece will rob you of the Germans’ wartime excuse: you didn’t know. McDonell exposes Pentagon casualty statistics for what they are: real people,  human beings like you and me with names, families, vocations, loves, hates and fears. This is war, and it has rarely been better portrayed.” 
Charles Glass, author of Tribes with Flags and The Deserters

“With deep and wide reporting, Nick McDonell plots the origin, trajectory, and impact of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. We meet the people who request, orchestrate, and authorize them, as well as those who dread, survive, and are killed by them. Throughout it all, McDonell relentlessly probes his own complicity—and, by extension, ours. Both lyrical and incisive, The Bodies in Person is a forceful reckoning with America’s favorite way of waging war.”
Luke Mogelson, author of These Heroic, Happy Dead 

“Grim indeed and sometimes gruesome—and a brave work of investigation.”
Kirkus Reviews

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