In this memoir, written within a collection of essays, Patrick Mondaca deftly threads together stories of his wartime service in Iraq, his pre-war experience, and his postwar efforts to readjust to civilian life. From small-town Connecticut to Baghdad, to Darfur and New York City, Mondaca considers the effects of war on the soldier—what it does to one’s psyche, identity, and morality. While he is just one of millions who have returned from this country’s ongoing armed conflicts, his moving essays offer a glimpse into the experience of veterans struggling to find their way back to their prior lives and the loved ones trying to understand them. The collection speaks deeply and thoughtfully to many issues of our times.
Patrick Mondaca served in Baghdad, Iraq, as a sergeant with the Connecticut Army National Guard’s 143rd Military Police Company in 2003. After being discharged, he returned to civilian policing until leaving to work as a field safety and security officer for a humanitarian organization in South Darfur, Sudan, from September 2007 to September 2008. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, he holds a MS in Global Affairs from New York University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He won the Waterston Desert Writing Prize in 2018 and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Litro, Shooter Literary Magazine, and others. He lives in Clinton, Connecticut.