Join best-selling authors Brian Castner and Matti Friedman for a memorable evening as they discuss their experiences of war in Lebanon and Iraq as well as the heartbreaks of their return home. Moderated by Just Buffalo's Barbara Cole.
Brian Castner served three tours of duty in the Middle East, two of them in Iraq as the head of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. Whenever IEDs were discovered, he and his men would lead the way in either disarming the deadly devices or searching through rubble and remains for clues to the bomb-makers’ identities. And when robots and other remote means failed, one technician would suit up and take the Long Walk to disarm the bomb by hand. This lethal game of cat and mouse was, and continues to be, the real war within America’s wars in the Middle East. When Brian returned stateside to his wife and family, he entered an equally inexorable struggle against the enemy within, which he comes to call the “Crazy.”
Matti Friedman’s first book, The Aleppo Codex, won the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize, the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal, the Canadian Jewish Book Award, and other honors. Matti’s reporting has taken him from Israel to Lebanon, Morocco, Moscow, and the Caucasus, and his writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. He is a former Associated Press correspondent and a regular contributor to Tablet Magazine. He was born in Toronto and lives in Jerusalem. Pumpkinflowers, one of Amazon's top books in 2016, is part memoir, part reportage and part military history. This powerful narrative captures the birth of today’s chaotic Middle East and the rise of a twenty-first-century type of war. Friedman re-creates the harrowing experience of a band of young Israeli soldiers–the author among them–charged with holding this remote outpost, a task that changed them forever and foreshadowed the unwinnable conflicts the United States would soon confront in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
The event is free and open to the public.