The Junior Officers' Reading Club
Killing Time and Fighting Wars
By Patrick Hennessey
(Riverhead Trade, Paperback, 9781594484797, 336pp.)
Publication Date: September 7, 2010
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
Hailed as a classic of war writing in the U.K., The Junior Officers' Reading Club is a revelatory first-hand account of a young enlistee's profound coming of age. Attempting to stave off the tedium and pressures of army life in the Iraqi desert by losing themselves in the dusty paperbacks on the transit-camp bookshelves, Hennessey and a handful of his pals from military academy form the Junior Officers' Reading Club. By the time he reaches Afghanistan and the rest of the club are scattered across the Middle East, they are no longer cheerfully overconfident young recruits, hungering for action and glory. Hennessey captures how boys grow into men amid the frenetic, sometimes exhilarating violence, frequent boredom, and almost overwhelming responsibilities that frame a soldier's experience and the way we fight today.
Watch a Video
Patrick Hennessey was the youngest front-line captain in the British Army, served in Iraq and Afghanistan and earned a commendation for gallantry. Host Scott Simon speaks with Hennessey about his memoir, The Junior Officers' Reading Club. More at NPR.org
NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.
- Hennessey frequently mentions experiencing boredom—both before and after he joins the military. Do you think that the men and women who are drawn to soldiering have a higher or lower tolerance for boredom? Do you think this affects their performance on the battlefield?
The Junior Officers Reading Club
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org