LitWar Podcast

Writer and Quote Slinger Michael Jerome Plunkett sits down with various authors to discuss literature and all the ways it can shape our identity. War, in its simplest definition, is merely a struggle between opposing forces for a particular end. The LitWar podcast explores this notion and seeks the elusive emotional truth in all literature. Guests include Elliot Ackerman, Steven Pressfield, Phil Klay, and many more.

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Episodes

2 days ago

In this episode, we sit down with acclaimed author Dewaine Farria to delve into his powerful debut novel, Revolutions of All Colors. Farria's gripping narrative weaves together the lives of three friends, exploring the complexities of identity, race, and the search for belonging against the backdrop of pivotal moments in American history. Join us as we discuss the inspiration behind his richly textured characters, the challenges of writing about such deeply personal and political themes, and the intricate process of bringing this poignant story to life. Farria shares his insights on the intersections of military service, civil rights, MMA fighting,
and personal revolution, offering listeners a profound understanding of the social dynamics that shape our world. Whether you're a fan of contemporary fiction, historical narratives, or thought-provoking literature, this conversation is not to be missed. Tune in for an engaging and enlightening discussion that sheds light on the craft of storytelling and the enduring impact of Revolutions of All Colors.
 
We are in the midst of our first Platoon Book Club Initiative in which we are funding and facilitating platoon-sized book clubs for active duty and reserve platoons in every branch of the military. Click here to learn more.

LW14: Ben Kesling

Wednesday Jul 10, 2024

Wednesday Jul 10, 2024

In this enlightening episode, we are joined by Ben Kesling, a journalist and author who focuses on military and veterans issues. He was a longtime Wall Street Journal reporter and covered the Pentagon, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and was a combat correspondent. He also covered campaigns, Congress and riots. Ben shares his profound experiences as a journalist providing listeners with an insider's perspective on the challenges facing our veterans today.
Beyond his reporting, Ben has devoted significant effort to supporting veterans as they navigate life after service. In this episode, he discusses the importance of addressing mental health issues, the impact of his work on his own perspective, and the initiatives he has been involved in to provide veterans with the resources and support they need.
Ben Kesling is a graduate of Wabash College, Ben also has a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and the Middlebury Language School for Arabic. He is also a two-day Jeopardy! champion.
Ben has won journalism awards from the New York Press Club and the Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the author of the book “Bravo Company,” about an Army company's harrowing deployment to Afghanistan and the soldiers’ decade of reckoning after. Before becoming a journalist, he was a United States Marine Corps infantry officer who deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives in Chicago.
Join us as Ben Kesling opens up about the transformative experiences that shaped his career, the critical issues facing veterans today, and the inspiring stories that fuel his commitment to making a difference. This episode is a tribute to the resilience of our servicemen and women and a testament to the enduring power of their stories.

LW13: Jane Ferguson

Wednesday Jul 03, 2024

Wednesday Jul 03, 2024

Award-winning foreign correspondent Jane Ferguson sits down with the LitWar Podcast to discuss her riveting memoir, "No Ordinary Assignment." Jane takes us behind the headlines, sharing her firsthand experiences from some of the world's most dangerous conflict zones. 
From the streets of Yemen and Afghanistan to the frontlines in Syria and beyond, Jane's career has been marked by extraordinary moments that have resulted in award-winning journalism. In "No Ordinary Assignment," she offers a deeply personal account of her journey, shedding light on the challenges and triumphs of being a woman in journalism. 
Join us as Jane recounts harrowing tales from the field, reflects on the emotional toll of war reporting, and shares the lessons she's learned along the way. This episode provides a unique glimpse into the life of a foreign correspondent and the extraordinary resilience required to bring untold stories to the world.
Jane Ferguson is a New York City-based international correspondent, war reporter and national security and foreign affairs expert. Her award-winning journalism has spanned the US, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. She has also been a contributor to The New Yorker since 2018, providing reporting and analysis on US foreign policy, counterterrorism, and conflicts in Ukraine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq.
We are in the midst of our first Platoon Book Club Initiative in which we are funding and facilitating platoon-sized book clubs for active duty and reserve platoons in every branch of the military. Click here to learn more.

LW12: Joseph Earl Thomas

Wednesday Jun 19, 2024

Wednesday Jun 19, 2024

National Guard veteran and award-winning author Joseph Earl Thomas sits down with the LitWar Podcast to discuss his memoir SINK as well as his new novel GOD BLESS YOU OTIS SPUNKMEYER which is out this week from Grand Central Publishing.
 
Joseph Earl Thomas is a writer from Frankford whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in VQR, N+1, Gulf Coast, The Offing, and The Kenyon Review. He has an MFA in prose from The University of Notre Dame and is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania. An excerpt of his memoir, Sink, won the 2020 Chautauqua Janus Prize and he has received fellowships from Fulbright, VONA, Tin House, and Bread Loaf. He’s writing the novel God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer, and a collection of stories, Leviathan Beach, among other oddities.
 
We are in the midst of our first Platoon Book Club Initiative in which we are funding and facilitating platoon-sized book clubs for active duty and reserve platoons in every branch of the military. Click here to learn more.

LW11: Mac Caltrider

Thursday May 23, 2024

Thursday May 23, 2024

Marine Corps veteran and author Mac Caltrider sits down with the LitWar Podcast to discuss his memoir DOUBLE KNOT: A War Memoir in Seven Essays which approaches his time in service as an infantryman. But the moments he chooses to write about might surprise you. He covers his experiences in combat but also the quieter moments and everything that comes after. 
 
Mac Caltrider is a Baltimore-based writer and educator. His award-winning work has previously appeared in Coffee or Die Magazine, Leatherneck Magazine, Dirtbag Magazine, and a poetry collection In Love… & War: The Anthology of Poet Warriors. Before pursuing writing, Caltrider served in the United States Marine Corps.
 
We are in the midst of our first Platoon Book Club Initiative in which we are funding and facilitating platoon-sized book clubs for active duty and reserve platoons in every branch of the military. Click here to learn more.

LW10: Marty Skovlund Jr.

Thursday May 09, 2024

Thursday May 09, 2024

Army Ranger, editor, and author Marty Skovlund Jr. sits down with the LitWar Podcast to discuss his book SEND ME which tells the powerful story of Shannon Kent, a Cryptologic Technician who rose to the apex of the military as an intelligence operative in elite special operations units. She spent a career hunting the world’s most ruthless terrorists while navigating a multitude of other roles and challenges. It is a story that will resonate with future generations of servicemen and women.
 
MARTY SKOVLUND JR. is the editor in chief of Task & Purpose, a military news and culture publication. He is a former Army Ranger and an experienced conflict reporter who has reported on assignment from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine in addition to embedding with the U.S. military around the world.
We are in the midst of our first Platoon Book Club Initiative in which we are funding and facilitating platoon-sized book clubs for active duty and reserve platoons in every branch of the military. Click here to learn more.

LW9: John Milas

Friday Mar 01, 2024

Friday Mar 01, 2024

Marine Corps veteran and debut novelist John Milas sits down with the LitWar Podcast to discuss the power of the horror genre in telling the truth about the Global War on Terror, the experience of earning an MFA in creative writing, and the advice he would give his younger writer self.
 
John Milas enlisted in the US Marine Corps at age nineteen and subsequently deployed to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan in support of OEF 10.1. He was honorably discharged from active service in 2012. After his discharge, he earned both his BA and MFA in creative writing. He enjoys engaging with his local literary community by attending readings, hosting workshops at his hometown library, and judging creative writing contests, which he has done since 2015. He has also read submissions for literary magazines such as Sycamore Review and Ninth Letter and has completed various freelance assignments as a journalist and editor. He grew up in Illinois, where he currently reads, writes, and watches baseball.
We are in the midst of our first Platoon Book Club Initiative in which we are funding and facilitating platoon-sized book clubs for active duty and reserve platoons in every branch of the military. Click here to learn more.

LW8: Matt Gallagher

Wednesday Feb 14, 2024

Wednesday Feb 14, 2024

Army veteran and best-selling author Matt Gallagher sits down with the LitWar Podcast to discuss the virtues of misadventure, what a patriot looks like in an ever-increasingly complicated world, and his new novel, Daybreak, which comes out February 20, 2024. Preorder here!
 
Matt Gallagher is the author of the novels Empire City and Youngblood, a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His work has appeared in Esquire, ESPN, The New York Times, The Paris Review and Wired, among other places. He’s also the author of the Iraq war memoir Kaboom and coeditor of, and contributor to, the short fiction collection Fire & Forget: Short Stories from the Long War.
We are in the midst of our first Platoon Book Club Initiative in which we are funding and facilitating platoon-sized book clubs for active duty and reserve platoons in every branch of the military. Click here to learn more.

LW7: Sebastian Junger

Friday Feb 02, 2024

Friday Feb 02, 2024

New York Times best-selling author Sebastian Junger sits down with the LitWar Podcast to discuss his thoughts on death, the healing power of having a stage with an audience that is willing to listen, and his new book, In My Time of Dying which comes out May 21, 2024. Preorder here!
 
Sebastian Junger is the New York Times bestselling author of Tribe, War, Freedom, A Death in Belmont, Fire, and The Perfect Storm, and codirector of the documentary film Restrepo, which was nominated for an Academy Award. He is also the winner of a Peabody Award and the National Magazine Award for Reporting.
We are in the midst of our first Platoon Book Club Initiative in which we are funding and facilitating platoon-sized book clubs for active duty and reserve platoons in every branch of the military. Click here to learn more.

LW6: Karl Marlantes

Friday Jan 05, 2024

Friday Jan 05, 2024

New York Times best-selling author Karl Marlantes sits down with the LitWar Podcast to discuss his new novel Cold Victory, as well as why he went to war, his experiences on coming home from war, and what kept him going on his thirty-five-year journey to publication of his first novel Matterhorn. 
Karl is graduated from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, before serving as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals. He is the bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War. He lives in rural Washington.
We are in the midst of our first Platoon Book Club Initiative in which we are funding and facilitating platoon-sized book club for active duty and reserve platoons in every branch of the military. Click here to learn more.

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