Friedman, Brandon 1978-
Friedman, Brandon 1978-
Born March 16, 1978. Education: Louisiana State University, B.A.; University of Texas, M.A.
Home—Dallas, TX. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer. VoteVets.org, Dallas, TX, vice chairman and editor; has appeared on television, including ABC, CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN, and on various radio stations. Military service: U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, infantry officer, served in Afghanistan and Iraq; Individual Ready Reserve, captain.
Awarded two Bronze Stars for military service.
The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War: A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq, Zenith Press (St. Paul, MN), 2007.
Also author of the blog The Angry Rakkasan. Contributor to various publications, including Guardian Unlimited, Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post.
Brandon Friedman earned his undergraduate degree in history at Louisiana State University, then completed his schooling at the University of Texas where he earned a master's degree in public policy and administration. During the early years of the war in Iraq, Friedman served as an infantry officer in the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division, also spending part of his tour in Afghanistan. In March 2002, he participated in Operation Anaconda, during which he led a platoon into Afghanistan's Shah-e-kot Valley, where he engaged with both Taliban and al Qaeda forces. By the latter half of 2003, he was a rifle executive officer and in charge of managing troop movement, logistics, and certain issues of security in the northern part of Iraq. His efforts abroad resulted in Friedman being awarded two Bronze Stars. Returning home to Dallas, Texas, Friedman took a job working for VoteVets.org, where he is a writer and editor, working on their magazine, as well as vice chairman. He has also contributed articles to various media outlets, including Guardian Unlimited, Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post, and is a regular blogger. He speaks frequently on various news and military issues pertaining to the war, and has appeared on a number of news programs in that capacity, including on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN. Friedman is the author of The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War: A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In The War I Always Wanted, Friedman offers readers an insider's memoir of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Having served his country and spent his time abroad in a war zone, he is now able to look back upon his experiences and recount them with some measure of distance. He discusses the highs and lows of his time at war, how the boredom of waiting for action can be so quickly offset by the terror of facing the realities of war. Much of the work is grunt work or demoralizing—guarding an air base, or marching endlessly up a mountain in freezing temperatures only to arrive when the fighting at the top is over. He discusses in open, honest terms, the desire to fight, to feel as if something is being accomplished, and is equally honest about the horror and grief and waste experienced by his platoon on occasions when something as small as a grenade can kill a pair of patrolling officers and ultimately jump-start a series of battles. Having spent time in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Friedman is also candid regarding his political opinions, stating that he acknowledges the need for the first war, but questions the rationale behind the second. Despite his obvious love for his country, and his willingness to fight for continued freedom in the United States, he did not reenlist following his tour of duty, and this book is an honest explanation of why he came to that decision. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked that "given the public's waning support for the war in Iraq, Friedman's voice is likely to be heard by sympathetic ears." In a contribution for the Daily Kos Web site, one reviewer wrote that "there is a raw and real jagged feel to Friedman's telling of his story, approaching the boundaries of near real-time dispatches, both from the external Middle East front and the internal personal changes going on within him." A writer for the Rude Clerk Blog opined that "the most riveting passages are those told right on the cutting edge of terror—of how when real danger rears its head, the author/soldier's mind focuses, clears and concentrates, bringing on a state of Zen-like clarity and near indifference."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Friedman, Brandon, The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War: A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq, Zenith Press (St. Paul, MN), 2007.
Publishers Weekly, June 25, 2007, review of The War I Always Wanted, p. 48.
Brandon Friedman Home Page,http://www.brandonfriedman.com (May 20, 2008).
Daily Kos,http://www.dailykos.com/ (August 19, 2007), review of The War I Always Wanted.
Rude Clerk Blog,http://rudeclerk.blogspot.com/ (September 8, 2007), review of The War I Always Wanted.
Texas Book Festival Web site,http://www.texasbookfestival.org/ (May 20, 2008), author profile.
Vet Voice Web site,http://vetvoice.com/ (May 20, 2008), author profile.
VoteVets.org,http://www.votevets.org/ (May 20, 2008), author profile.