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Reading: Eric Fair

David Locke Hall
 
Eric Fair

Consequence: A Memoir


April 11 at 7:00pm
A man questions everything--his faith, his morality, his country--as he recounts his experience as an interrogator in Iraq; an unprecedented memoir and "an act of incredible bravery" (Phil Klay)

"Remarkable... Both an agonized confession and a chilling expose of one of the darkest interludes of the War on Terror. Only this kind of courage and honesty can bring America back to the democratic values that we are so rightfully proud of." --Sebastian Junger

Consequence is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an Army translator, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2004, after several months as an interrogator with a private contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair's nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation. Years later, his health and marriage crumbling, haunted by the role he played in what we now know as "enhanced interrogation," it is Fair's desire to speak out that becomes a key to his survival. Spare and haunting, Eric Fair's memoir is both a brave, unrelenting confession and a book that questions the very depths of who he, and we as a country, have become.

"An act of incredible bravery. If we, as a country, are ever to fully account for the past decade of war and what it meant, we need those who participated to have the courage to tell us what was done in our name. Eric Fair does not speak in euphemisms. He does not justify or condemn. He merely tells us what happened. And that is something we desperately need to hear." --Phil Klay

“Startling...affecting...candid and deeply unsettling ...Eschewing abstract discussions of torture and the war, the author offers a beguiling personal narrative that forces readers to share his pain and uncertainty over his circumstances...Told against the background of his failing heart (he required a transplant), his failing hometown (Bethlehem Steel went bankrupt), and his war-strained marriage...[Fair's story] points up the larger failures of interrogators like himself to prevent abusive acts and of the country to end its endorsement of torture.” - Kirkus, starred review

"It takes a a lot of courage to write honestly about one's own mistakes, and even more courage to write about the mistakes of one's country. Eric Fair has done both. This remarkable book is both an agonized confession and a chilling expose of one of the darkest interludes of the War on Terror. Only this kind of courage and honesty can bring America back to the democratic values that we are so rightfully proud of." --Sebastian Junger

"I don't think Eric Fair writes so we might laud him for courage or artistry. The complex reckoning within these pages mirrors our wars, which have been fought in a similar, gray morality. So this book deserves that singular and highest of compliments: It is honest." --Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue

Eric Fair, an Army veteran, worked in Iraq as a contract interrogator in 2004. He won a Pushcart prize for his 2012 essay "Consequence," which was published first in Ploughshares and then in Harper's Magazine. His op-eds on interrogation have also been published in The Washington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 
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