Joshua Key's critically acclaimed memoir, The Deserter's Tale, is the first account from a soldier who deserted from the war in Iraq, and a vivid and damning indictment of how the war is being waged.
In spring 2003, young Oklahoman Joshua Key was sent to Ramadi as part of a combat engineer company with the U.S. military. The war he found himself participating in was not the campaign against terrorists and "evildoers" he had expected. Key saw Iraqi civilians beaten, shot, and killed for little or no provocation. After six months in Iraq, Key was home on leave and knew he could not return. So he took his family and went underground in the United States, finally seeking asylum in Canada.
In clear-eyed, compelling prose crafted with the help of award-winning Canadian novelist and journalist Lawrence Hill, The Deserter's Tale tells the story of a man who went into the war believing unquestioningly in his government and who was transformed into a person who ethically, morally, and physically could no longer serve his country.
Joshua Key was raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and now lives in Canada. The Deserter's Tale is his first book.Lawrence Hill is the author of several novels and works of nonfiction, including Some Great Thing, Any Known Blood, and the award-winning national bestseller The Book of Negroes. He also wrote the memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada and co-authored, with Joshua Key, The Deserter’s Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq.
Timely, important, and haunting.
...a story worth telling: how a good man became lost in an immoral system, and in the process lost his livelihood, his nation, and part of himself.
...Key's narration is disarmingly flat and straightforward...
What's most engaging about this book is its essential honesty...stark and compelling....The Deserter's Tale ought to be required reading for soldiers heading overseas, to prepare them for the stresses and dilemmas they are likely to face.
...Key presents an uncomplicated telling of his personal experience of the war - the details are raw and gut-wrenching.
...an unvarnished and gut-wrenching account...
The writing is fluid, crisp and compelling. The story is shocking. Key provides an unvarnished and gut-wrenching account of his company's 'war on terrorism'...With unflinching frankness, Key recounts a series of horrific events that cause him to question his mission and force him to do the unthinkable - betray his buddies and his country.
...the narrative of The Deserter's Tale has the strong backbone of an archetypal hero myth....potent.
...a fascinating saga, one in which the American armed forces are made up of poorly trained, out-of-control boobs with no restraint, moral, ethical or otherwise.
...a close-up view not only of those soldiers who felt compelled by their own consciences to desert, but of the war itself, in all its violent, tragic insanity. For this view alone, Key's book is an essential read.
...destined to become part of the literature of the Iraq war....from the book's opening pages, Key's clear voice rings out, explaining why he deserted the Army after seven months in Iraq, with anguish and frankness that invests the book with quiet elegance...