Porter Square Book Talk — Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

If you’re in the Boston area tomorrow: January 5th, 2017, I’ll be doing a book talk, reading and Q & A at Porter Square books in Boston. I’ll be talking about my newest book: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir.

Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

Address:PORTER SQUARE BOOKS, 25 WHITE ST, CAMBRIDGE, MA 02140 | 617-491-2220 |


I’ll be part of a Q & A with Chris Walsh, a distinguished writer, scholar and teacher from the Boston area. We’ll be discussing: War, PTSD, Reintegration, and the Writing Process.

Print up from Porter Square books:

“Anthony navigates the dark side of a veteran’s homecoming with honesty, skill, and even a touch of humor. Prepare to be disturbed and entertained in equal measures.” – Brian Castner, author of The Long Walk

After twelve months of military service in Iraq, Michael Anthony stepped off a plane, seemingly happy to be home or at least back on US soil. He was twenty-one years old, a bit of a nerd, and carrying a pack of cigarettes that he thought would be his last. Two months later, Michael was stoned on Vicodin, drinking way too much, and picking a fight with a very large Hell’s Angel. Civilianized is a memoir chronicling Michael’s search for meaning in a suddenly destabilized world.

Michael Anthony is a writer and veteran of the Iraq War. He spent six years in the army reserves, with a sixteen-month deployment—twelve months in Iraq—where he served as an operating room technician. After his service in Iraq, he earned a BA in English literature from Bridgewater State University, and an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University.

Coward. It’s a grave insult, likely to provoke anger, shame, even violence. But what exactly is cowardice? Bringing together sources from court-martial cases to literary and film classics such as Dante’s InfernoThe Red Badge of Courage, and The Thin Red Line, Cowardice recounts the great harm that both cowards and the fear of seeming cowardly have done, and traces the idea of cowardice’s power to its evolutionary roots. But Chris Walsh also shows that this power has faded, most dramatically on the battlefield. Misconduct that earlier might have been punished as cowardice has more recently often been treated medically, as an adverse reaction to trauma, and Walsh explores a parallel therapeutic shift that reaches beyond war, into the realms of politics, crime, philosophy, religion, and love.

Yet, as Walsh indicates, the therapeutic has not altogether triumphed–contempt for cowardice endures, and he argues that such contempt can be a good thing. Courage attracts much more of our attention, but rigorously understanding cowardice may be more morally useful, for it requires us to think critically about our duties and our fears, and it helps us to act ethically when fear and duty conflict.

Chris Walsh is Interim Director of the College of Arts and Sciences Writing Program at Boston University, where he teaches classes focused on the poetry of war. Walsh has also taught at Emerson College and the University of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), and he is currently teaching “The War Memoir” at the Harvard University Extension School. His work has appeared in Civil War History, Foreign Affairs, the New Republic, The New York Times, Salon, and The Yale Review, among other places.

Event date:
Thursday, January 5, 2017 – 7:00pm
Event address:
Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140