Hosts Celeste Carey and Cecil Prescod interview former Portlander Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead, a memoir of his time in the marines. They'll discuss his new book Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails: A Memoir, a journey of despair and redemption chronicling the years after his military service in the Gulf War.
In Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails, Swofford describes his search for identity, meaning, and reconciliation with his dying father in the years after he returned from serving as a sniper in the Marines. Adjusting to life after war, he watched his older brother succumb to cancer and his first marriage crumble, leading him to pursue an excessive lifestyle in Manhattan that brought him to the brink of collapse. Consumed by drugs, drinking, expensive cars, and women, Swofford lost almost everything and everyone that mattered to him.
In the memoir Swofford describes how he connected with own father and began to understand that becoming a father himself might be the ultimate measure of his manhood.
Anthony Swofford was born on Travis Air Force Base in 1970. He joined the marines at age 18 and fought in the 1990-91 Gulf War with a scout/sniper platoon in the 2nd battalion of the 7th Marines. He left the marines in 1992 and held jobs in restaurants, banks, and shopping malls as well working a long stint as a union warehouseman. In 1999 he graduated from UC Davis with his BA in English and proceeded to graduate writing studies at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Teaching Writing Fellow and later a Michener-Copernicus Fellow. His first book, Jarhead, a memoir of his time in the marines, came out in the winter of 2003. A film adaptation directed by Sam Mendes was released in 2005. Exit A, his novel of military life in Japan during peace time, was published in 2007. His memoir Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails will be published in June 2012. He has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Lewis and Clark College. He is married to the photographer and writer Christa Parravani-Swofford.