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Tonight: Authors of “Fobbit” and “What it is like to go to war” to speak at UW

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on Oct. 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
October 4, 2012 8:59 am

Veteran authors from different wars will be at the University of Washington tonight to read from and sign their acclaimed books.

From the most recent war: David Abrams will be promoting “Fobbit,” his Iraq War satire. Abrams is a retired Army lieutenant colonel who spent a year in Iraq as a public affairs officer.

And from Vietnam: Karl Marlantes will be reading from his memoir, “What it is like to go to war.” Marlantes was a decorated Marine lieutenant who spent 30 years in the private sector before publishing his first novel, “Matterhorn,” in 2010. Both of his books center on his experiences in Vietnam.

I read Fobbit last month on a trip to see family on the East Coast. Any single page is hilarious. The public affairs officer constantly has a bloody nose, especially when asking his chief of staff to sign off on press releases. A general clips his toenails during conference calls. An infantry captain squirrels away a warehouse full of care packages and manages to make the wrong decision every time he goes outside the wire. The humor contrasts with the violence outside FOB Triumph. And yes, there are braver characters than the quaking Fobbits mentioned in the title.

I have not read Marlantes’ books, but one of them is on my shelf as next-to-read. Coworkers and friends have had only praise for them, especially the personal “What it is like to go to war.”

Abrams and Marlantes will be at UW’s University District bookstore, 4326 University Way NE, at 7 p.m.

Also today, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is concluding a visit to the Puget Sound. Gen. Martin Dempsey spent the past few days touring Coast Guard and Navy installations. He’s scheduled to talk with reporters this morning in Seattle and then visit Joint Base Lewis-McChord before leaving the area.

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