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War, Intelligence, and the Illusion of Safety

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE IN VENUE. As those who attended the February meeting know, Barnes and Noble Metro Center is renovating the store and will be getting rid of the community table. We will be trying out the Barnes and Noble Scottsdale location. We will be meeting either at the tables at the front of the store, or at a table they have at the back of the store. I know it is further north, but please try to attend. Also, if time allows, we will be choosing book selections for our May through July meetings, so come prepared with new and exciting ideas!

In March we will be reading three selections that fit the theme “War, Intelligence, and the Illusion of Safety”: Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident, and the Illusion of Safety by, Eric Schlosser, Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War, edited by, Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher, and Red Badge of Courage by, Stephen Crane.

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident, and the Illusion of Safety by, Eric Schlosser

Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal. A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age:  how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them?  That question has never been resolved--and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind.

Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War, edited by, Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher

Consider these lines from the preface to Fire And Forget, a collection of short stories by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

On the one hand, we want to remind you ... of what happened ... and insist you recollect those men and women who fought, bled, and died in dangerous and far-away places. On the other hand, there's nothing most of us would rather do than leave these wars behind. No matter what we do next, the soft tension of the trigger pull is something we'll carry with us forever.

Veterans Roy Scranton and Jacob Siegel edited the collection, and each has a story in it.

Scranton served in the Army from 2002 to 2006 and was deployed to Iraq from 2003 to 2004. He's currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Princeton University English Department. Siegel is a captain in the New York National Guard, which he joined not long after Sept. 11. He served in Iraq from 2006 to 2007 and in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012. He edits The Daily Beast's Hero Project blog, which showcases the writing of veterans and covers issues pertaining to vets. Siegel and Scranton first met through the NYU Veterans Writing Workshop.

The Red Badge of Courage by, Stephen Crane

Bored with farm life, and anxious for some excitement, Henry Fleming sets off to join the Union troops fighting the Civil War. An inexperienced fighter, he is anxious to get into battle to prove his patriotism and courage. He swaggers to keep up his spirits waiting for battle, but when suddenly thrust into the slaughter he is overcome with blind fear and runs from the field of battle.

He is ashamed when he joins the wounded, for he has not earned their "red badge of courage" and becomes enraged when he witnesses the death of his terribly maimed friend. In a confused struggle with his own army's retreating soldiers, he is wounded but not by enemy gunfire. In an effort to redeem himself in his own eyes, he begins to fight frantically

The unnamed battle in the novel has been identified as that as Chancellorsville. While considered one of the most compelling stories of warfare of all time, Stephen Crane had never seen a battle when he wrote The Red Badge of Courage in 1895.

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Reminder: We usually choose 2-3 books per month. You're welcome at our meeting whether you read all or none of the books. We read fiction, nonfiction, and plays, and usually try to cover 1 piece of classic literature monthly. We read books reviewed or mentioned on NPR, and try to mirror NPR's tone at our meetings: thoughtful, polite discussion & commentary, with no arguing or posturing, and no sacred cows or unmentioned elephants in the room.

Suggested Donation: $1, at the meeting. If you are able to make a $1 donation at the meeting, this is appreciated as it helps defray the monthly charge that applies to the group Organizer.

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  • Dorian T.

    We'll be meeting at the table in the front in the magazine section

    March 21, 2014

  • Dorian T.

    We will aim for the table at the back. Just want to let you all know since I may be running a little late. Need to take my mom to the oncologist since she's having cancer complications and should be out on time, but can't 100% guarantee it.

    March 21, 2014

  • Marianne R.

    While I was reading these books, my husband picked them up and read them, too. This is very much his type of reading, so instead of just making him drive me to the meeting, I plan to drag him in. Another male voice, Bob.

    1 · March 21, 2014

  • Brenda C

    Unfortunately, I will not be able to make the meeting on Friday. I will miss everyone and our conversation. I have two or three ideas for books that the group may consider reading. I will try to get some notes on these suggestions sent out

    March 20, 2014

  • Mary M. F.

    I love the book list also. As a teacher, I actually used the film Pink Floyd The Wall in addition to our literary sources. Those sources included the poetry of the World War I poets (Sassoon, Graves, Owens), Slaughterhouse Five, Birdsong, Birds Without Wings, The Things They Carried, Killer Angels, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Long, Long Way, and on and on. I am fascinated with man’s resilience in the face of “man’s inhumanity to man” and hope I can bring my spirit to the softening of that world, even if just a little. I will definitely do some reading of listed sources before the meetup. Thank you for being there. I truly need this connection and this exchange. My best to all.

    March 17, 2014

  • Helle B.

    Dorian did you get my email with info for my address? I am fine with meeting at BN for March, just didn't want it to be because you hadn't heard from me for having at my house. FYI--when I go for my book club out at that Barnes and Noble we meet at the small low table in the children's section! Helle Brand

    March 3, 2014

    • Dorian T.

      Yes, I did. I'm hoping this could potentially be our permanent location. The manager had suggested the low table in the children's section, since it's one of the quietest parts of the store. I'll get there early and check out the front tables and that one and see what the best option is. :-)

      March 4, 2014

    • Mary M.

      I wonder if you could reserve a section in the B&N Starbucks. That one (Shea & 90th St.) is pretty big and could accommodate a group of a dozen quite easily. Also, in defense of that location, it's right off the 101, so easy to get to. Hope it works!

      March 16, 2014

  • Bob

    Dorian, you might want to consider alternating between the 90th St. B & N and the one at Desert Ridge, which is what that "other" Meetup book club does. Desert Ridge is very accommodating, talk to Joe Merenda, he's their community relations manager at 480/[masked] or e-mail [masked] They have a large table in the adult section which would work very nicely.

    March 16, 2014

    • Dorian T.

      The last time we tried rotating locations between a couple locations (this is what we did before ending up at Metro Center) we lost a lot of regular club membership. I am not saying Pima and Shea is going to be our permanent location, but this is what we are going to try for now.

      March 16, 2014

  • Mary M. F.

    I am so looking forward to this exchange. "The world is too much with us." We know this. We must meet it and bring our spirit and energy to achieving a greater understanding. I'm there.

    1 · March 16, 2014

  • Bob

    Dorian, this is quite a drive for us Westsiders and a big change from the MetroCenter location. Did you consider the other B & N locations that are closer to the MetroCenter location? These would include Happy Valley Town Center @ I-17 and Happy Valley, Arrowhead @ Bell Rd. and 75th Ave., and Desert Ridge @ Tatum and the 101. There is another Meetup book club that meets at the Desert Ridge location, so they can definitely accommodate a group of people.

    March 15, 2014

    • Dorian T.

      Unfortunately none of the other locations are convenient for everyone. This one was willing to give us a chance and worked for a portion of the group which is the best we can hope for with the sudden change at Metro Center. I hope despite the inconvenience for some (including me, I live downtown/south Phoenix area) they will make the trek one time a month.

      March 15, 2014

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