In Quagmire you’ll find a range of voices—men and women, military and civilian—and a range of perspectives from the homeland, the combat zone, and war’s aftermath. These personal responses to war in Iraq and Afghanistan have been selected from War, Literature & the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities to mark the thirtieth anniversary of its inaugural publication. The responses cover approximately fifteen years of the United States’ conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and demonstrate the aftermath of war and the degreed ripples that extend beyond soldiers to families and friends, lovers, hometowns, even pets.

As citizens, Pablo Neruda advised, we have an obligation to “come and see the blood in the streets.” To ignore what we do in war and what war does to us is to move willfully toward ignorance. To ignore such reminders imperils ourselves, our communities, and our nation.

“The breadth and range of work collected in Quagmire is a remarkable chronicling not only of war but of art.”
—Elliot Ackerman, author of Places and Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning

“Quagmire is an invaluable anthology of the U.S. military’s experience of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The voices are diverse: we hear not only from service people but their loved ones, as well as journalists and Iraqi and Afghan civilians and soldiers, all delivering their immediate and often unvarnished accounts of loyalty, duty, valor, regret, guilt, and fear. But it is the quagmire of ambiguity and complexity that enlightens and compels the reader… Many of these are stories that the tellers feel they should not or cannot share because the world will not listen. But the tellers break the taboo of trauma anyway—they make us listen with their generosity and artistry—and in so doing they offer healing to us all.”
—Dan O’Brien, author of War Reporter and The Body of an American