Synopses & Reviews
The EODexplosive ordnance disposalcommunity is tight-knit, and when one of their own is hurt, an alarm goes out. When Brian Castner, an Iraq War vet, learns that his friend and EOD brother Matt has been killed by an IED in Afghanistan, he goes to console Matt's widow, but he also begins a personal investigation. Is the bomb maker who killed Matt the same man American forces have been hunting since Iraq, known as the Engineer?
In this nonfiction thriller Castner takes us inside the manhunt for this elusive figure, meeting maimed survivors, interviewing the forensics teams who gather post-blast evidence, the wonks who collect intelligence, the drone pilots and contractors tasked to kill. His investigation reveals how warfare has changed since Iraq, becoming personal even as it has become hi-tech, with our drones, bomb disposal robots, and CSI-like techniques. As we use technology to identify, locate, and take out the planners and bomb makers, the chilling lesson is that the hunters are also being hunted, and the other sidefrom Al-Qaeda to ISIS has been selecting its own high-value targets.
Publisher Weekly Reviews
“Castner offers a tautly written, first-person look...[he] writes in the style of a thriller, replete with military and high-technology jargon (a glossary is included). This is a fast-paced, personal tale that examines some little-known aspects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how they have influenced the current fight against al-Qaeda and ISIS.” Publisher’s Weekly
Castner an Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer who commanded bomb disposal units in Iraq follows his memoir The Long Walk with another account of the harrowing EOD world. This time Castner offers a tautly written first person look at the death of another EOD officer his friend Matthew Schwartz in Afghanistan in January of 2012. The fatal attack on Schwartz sent Castner on a quest to find the killer and this wide ranging investigation—in which he interviewed many Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans as well as intelligence operators and others in the EOD community—centers on figuring out who exactly planned and executed the killing and whether it was “unlucky or targeted.” The working theory was that it was a man known as the Engineer who had been targeting Americans since the start of the Iraq War. Castner writes in the style of a thriller replete with military and high technology jargon (a glossary is included). This is a fast paced personal tale that examines some little known aspects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how they have influenced the current fight against al Qaeda and ISIS. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
[A] deeply-reported tale of the costs of war....Castner works like a translator." Consequence Magazine
"Castner solemnizes a small but recently critical section of America’s armed forces, and powerfully acquaints readers with the risks run and the sacrifices made by EOD personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan." Booklist
"Brian Castner has written an intimate, heartfelt, and rending portrait of the American family at war and at home; and he's done so in a totally surprising and captivating way, by making the journey as a detective, a soldier, a father, a husband, a citizen. How did my friend die, where did he go, where have I gone in the meantime, who did this to us? These are questions that Castner meditates on as he searches—across thousands of miles and back through the years—for the moment when a total stranger decided to kill a man closest to him and his family. Deftly reported and elegiac in its language, this is a story every neighbor, every parent, every soldier, and every school civics class ought to consider required reading. All the Ways We Kill and Die has much to tell us about how to live.” Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author of Horse Soldiers
“Like the best of storytellers, Castner transports us into the world of the men and women who fight and die and grieve: a struggling widow, two amputees, the exhausted pilot, the contractor for hire, a talented female biometrics engineer, even the jihadist bomb-makers. An extraordinary work of nonfiction that reads like a suspense novel.” Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of the New York Times bestseller Ashley’s War
"In this book Brian Castner takes us through a kind of moral detective work, uncovering not only private griefs, but also the broader military and social context of our country's response to such deaths. A brilliant, moving, and troubling portrait of modern American warfare." Phil Klay, author of the National Book Award-winning Redeployment
About the Author
Brian Castner is the author of the acclaimed memoir, The Long Walk
. An EOD officer in the Air Force who commanded bomb disposal units in Iraq and subsequently trained soldiers prior to their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he is now a writer and journalist. His stories have appeared in Wired
, the New York Times
, the Daily Beast
, Foreign Policy
, VICE News
, and the Los Angeles Review of Books
and on NPR. He lives with his family in Buffalo, New York.