15 Mar 2014

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Robert M. Farley, Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force

It’s been a rough couple of years for the U.S. Air Force. The flying branch has squandered billions of dollars on gold-plated aircraft and other weapons it doesn’t need. It has mishandled nuclear weapons. Airmen in the nuclear force have been caught cheating on exams. And then there are the numerous sexual scandals.

At the same time, the Air Force has struggled to remain relevant during the course of two land-centric wars. The Air Force sends strategic bombers to drop bombs on small bands of insurgents. In nearly 13 years of continuous warfare, the flying branch’s most advanced fighter, the F-22, hasn’t flown a single combat mission.

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01 Nov 2010

A War Reporter, Adapted in Comics

I’ve been a cartoon character for so long that I’ve begun thinking of my cartoon “self” — that is, the versions of me drawn by artists Steve Olexa, Jonathan Hughes, Matt Bors and others — as, well, not me. That’s the funny thing about writing autobiography, especially autobiographical comics. Do it often enough, and you might forget, in a sense, that you are your subject.

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29 Oct 2010

Sinking Royal Navy Shifts Burden to U.S. Fleet

The U.K.’s new Conservative government is ruthlessly cutting spending in an effort to close the country’s roughly 100-billion GBP annual deficit. For the Ministry of Defense, that means a gradual 8-percent reduction in its 40-billion GBP yearly budget. As laid out in the Strategic Defense and Security Review, published on

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24 Oct 2010

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ted Rall, The Anti-American Manifesto

As a cartoonist, columnist, radio host, TV guest and graphic novelist, Ted Rall has always been hard to categorize. Rall is liberal and an environmentalist, to be sure, but he’s a peculiar brand of both. He’s not scared of guns or all gun owners and he’s got a strong law-and-order streak. He seems to dismiss popular “peak oil” theories that anticipate a rapid and disastrous fall-off in petroleum production. He’s equally critical of Democrats and Republicans.

Rall is most notorious for his U.S. political commentary. A 2004 cartoon criticizing football player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman, who was killed by “friendly” fire in Afghanistan, is easily Rall’s most famous work. But arguably Rall’s most unique and important work has grown out of his infrequent jaunts through foreign conflict zones, particularly in Central Asia. A trip to Afghanistan in 2001 produced the graphic novel To Afghanistan and Back, one of the best and most prescient books on the now decade-old war. For all that, Rall’s most eloquent work isn’t political at all. His memoir The Year of Loving Dangerously recounts his turbulent but passionate youth.

0
24 Oct 2010

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ted Rall, The Anti-American Manifesto

As a cartoonist, columnist, radio host, TV guest and graphic novelist, Ted Rall has always been hard to categorize. Rall is liberal and an environmentalist, to be sure, but he’s a peculiar brand of both. He’s not scared of guns or all gun owners and he’s got a strong law-and-order streak. He seems to dismiss popular “peak oil” theories that anticipate a rapid and disastrous fall-off in petroleum production. He’s equally critical of Democrats and Republicans.

Rall is most notorious for his U.S. political commentary. A 2004 cartoon criticizing football player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman, who was killed by “friendly” fire in Afghanistan, is easily Rall’s most famous work. But arguably Rall’s most unique and important work has grown out of his infrequent jaunts through foreign conflict zones, particularly in Central Asia. A trip to Afghanistan in 2001 produced the graphic novel To Afghanistan and Back, one of the best and most prescient books on the now decade-old war. For all that, Rall’s most eloquent work isn’t political at all. His memoir The Year of Loving Dangerously recounts his turbulent but passionate youth.

314
19 Jun 2010

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Sebastian Junger, War

In 2007 and 2008 Junger and his photographer Tim Hetherington spent several months living with a platoon of U.S. Army paratroopers in eastern Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. At one point during a spike in the fighting, the 30 young men of Junger’s Second Platoon — part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Italy — accounted for around a third of all the combat experienced by the 160,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan. Half of the platoon fell dead or wounded. Others suffered psychological injuries.

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