When I Wished I Was Here:
Dispatches from Fallujah
By Derek McGee
A Marine's reflections on combat in Fallujah and the transition to civilian life. Humorous, frightening, alternately hopeful and bitterly disillusioned, this elegantly written pamphlet offers important insights into the day-to-day realities of the war in Iraq. With a foreword by Alexander Bick.
From the text:
"How do good people do bad things?" I once asked. By the end of my time in Iraq I asked, "How do people do good things at all?"
Reportage doesn't get more firsthand than this. Rhinebecker [Derek] McGee parses Port-a-Shitter graffiti, eulogizes a fallen comrade, relates with chilling simplicity how it feels to order an Iraqi civilian killed, and shares the eerie displacement of coming home.
- Nina Shengold, Chronogram, Kingston, NY
Beautifully written and very moving... God knows it's a story that needs to be told, and Derek tells it like it is.
- Wes Craven, Hollywood, CA
I have used When I Wished I was Here several times in the classroom, both for an introductory US history survey called "Why We Fight" and for an upper-level course on "War and American Society." The book is powerfully written, provocative enough to stimulate student discussion, elegantly packaged, and the perfect length for a supplemental reading about the human dimensions of the Iraq War. My students have really responded to Derek McGee's work, with many listing it as their favorite reading on their course evaluations.
- Meredith Lair, Department of History and Art History, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
It's a fast and intense read that grabs you in a sort of Holden Caulfield way.
- Chris Macpherson, Princeton, NJ
Date: 2007 (tenth printing)
Binding: Hand-sewn with archival-quality thread
Paper: Mohawk Via Felt #80C, Mohawk Via Felt #70T, Eames Architecture #50 (flyleaf)
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"