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God Is Not Here


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Foreword by Thomas Ricks

About the Author

With more than twenty years of service, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Russell Edmonds is a decorated counterterrorism and counterinsurgency expert who has served in various positions throughout the Special Operations community and with other U.S. government agencies. Bill is a native of Southern California and currently lives in Germany with his wife and two daughters. Thomas Ricks (foreword) is the three-time New York Times bestselling author of Making the Corps, Fiasco, and The Generals and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Bill Nash, M. D., CAPT., MC., USN. Ret. (introduction) was awarded the bronze star medal for his service in Iraq. He is Former director of Combat and Operational Stress Control programs for the U.S. Marine Corps, part of the National Center for PTSD and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Nash has also co-edited a book on combat stress injuries. George Lober (reading group discussion guide) is a Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Prof. Lober has, over these last fourteen years and counting of war, taught, coached, and mentored countless Special Operation Forces Officers on ethics and morality before and after they deployed to war.


"You know Bill Edmonds is on to something from the very beginning of the book, which I think is one of the best to come out of the Iraq war. There are lines that stay with me." -- Thomas Ricks, 'New York Times' bestselling author, from the Foreword "While our country is deep in conversation about how to help veterans who return from combat with PTSD, a much less discussed topic is soldiers who return with moral injuries. God is Not Here is a courageous memoir that provides extraordinary insight into the challenges of adjusting to normal life after dealing with the moral complexity of combat. A valuable resource for understanding one of the many negative repercussions of torture-the effect it has on the welfare of our own soldiers." -- Tony Camerino, former senior military interrogator, author of 'How to Break a Terrorist' "God Is Not Here is a courageous book by a thoughtful warrior whose personal story shows us the terrible moral and human costs of torture, not just to those who are tortured, but to the torturers." -- Scott Cooper, National Security Outreach Director, Human Rights First "An intense wartime and post-war memoir. This blunt, taut account, based on Edmonds's journals, addresses the profound ramifications Edmonds's work in the war have had on his emotional well-being. The chapters effectively flash back and forth." -- Publishers Weekly "Eloquently introspective. A haunting and beautifully written plunge through the moral morass of the American occupation of Iraq and its grave toll on veterans. God Is Not Here is a military memoir not to be missed." -- Shelf Awareness "A truly remarkable memoir. With searing candor and profound soul-searching, Edmonds opens our eyes to the horrible moral ambiguities that he faced. He has no pat answers about living in a space between complicity and moral protest of torture, but the protest that does cry out is that he has lived too long with his own moral anguish. As a nation we must stop distancing ourselves from the Americans who fight on our behalf and start holding ourselves accountable to help them heal." -- Nancy Sherman, author of 'Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of our Soldiers' "A raw portrayal of Faulkner's human heart in conflict with itself. Part confession and part treatise, I was engrossed by Edmonds' ongoing conversations with Saedi, his Iraqi counterpart who serves as both his good and bad angel. It is commendable that Edmonds even attempts to reconcile right and wrong in his impossible role, but it is also the source of the tragedy." -- Brian Castner, author of 'The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows' "God is Not Here sharply details the thorny tensions of our new wars, and how American forces have been thrust into vexing, unwinnable situations. Edmonds reveals how these experiences exacted a ruinous toll on him. It is a story of moral injury-and betrayal-and shows that our service members deserve clear and serious leadership. Without it, they'll have to fight another wrenching battle when they return home." -- Joshua E. S. Phillips, author of 'None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture' "'I will write my way through this,' [Edwards says] and he does, with a precision that might help others who remain bombarded." -- Army Times "America's modern wars have played out in the background for most of America's people. For those who were engaged, the consequences will last a lifetime and are only beginning to be fully reckoned. God Is Not Here is a remarkable and eloquent addition to the literature of today's wars, an unsparing assessment of what "urban warfare" and "enhanced interrogation" mean for those carrying them out. The country in whose name Bill Russell Edmonds has fought needs to read his account." -- James Fallows, National Correspondent, 'The Atlantic,' author of 'The Tragedy of the American Military' "A powerful and courageous story of a soldier's fight against a policy that ran counter to his own moral code. As a young captain, Bill Edmonds was idealistic, excited to do his part in the war on terror. But his embed with Iraqi intelligence forces didn't go as planned. The unit's interrogation practices were brutal. But when he raised concerns about the tactics to commanders, he was brushed aside. In one of the best books written about the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, Edmonds provides a compelling glimpse into this dark world where the ends justify the means, and his own heartbreaking struggle to maintain his sanity in the face of immoral behavior." -- Mitch Weiss, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and author of 'Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War' and 'No Way Out: A Story of Valor in the Mountains of Afghanistan'

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