Veterans and Forever War: Talking Empire City with Matt Gallagher

The new United States of Zoom: Patrick Deer, me, Matt Gallagher

The Wrath-Bearing Tree website offered me a chance to host their podcast this month and I wasn’t about to say no. I asked my friend Patrick Deer, the head of New York University’s Cultures of War symposium, if he would join me in talking to Matt Gallagher about Gallagher’s Empire City, a dystopian novel that presciently portrays a dysfunctional America wracked by endless war-faring, rampant militarism, and dueling tribes of veterans. Deer said “yes,” Gallagher said “yes,” and so off we went. Give us a listen please, and no problem if you fast forward to passages that interest you most:

Veterans and Forever War: Talking Empire City with Matt Gallagher

2:45:  Gallagher discusses Words After War, the writing workshop he teaches in New York City (and which is sponsored by NYU’s Cultures of War)

8:00:  We discuss Elliot Ackerman’s short-story “Two Grenades.”

27:25:  Discussion of Empire City begins.

51:00:  Gallagher offers thoughts about the veteran presence in the January 6 storming of the Capital, and what it was like knowing that his brother was one of those besieged inside.

My review of Empire City is here.

Matthew Komatsu reviews Empire City for The Wrath-Bearing Tree here.

Peter Lucier’s review of Empire City for The Strategy Bridge is also recommended.

Matt Gallagher is the author of Kaboom (2010), Youngblood (2016), and Empire City (2020). With Roy Scranton, he is the editor of the veterans-fiction anthology Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (2013).

Patrick Deer is Associate Professor of English at New York University and the author of Culture in Camouflage: War, Empire, and Modern British Literature (2009). His current book projects are titled Deep England: Forging British Culture After Empire and Surge and Silence: Understanding America’s Cultures of War

Elliot Ackerman’s “Two Grenades” can be found in anthology The Road Ahead: Fiction from the Forever War (2016), edited by Adrian Bonenberger and Brian Castner.

Thanks to Adrian Bonenberger and The Wrath-Bearing Tree for everything they do. 

Matt Gallagher in Camden, NJ, 2016. I wanted to pose him in front of Walt Whitman’s house, but somehow we ended up a couple of doors down.

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