This Means War

Issue #55, Spring, 2013

The earliest recorded stories are war stories. Some forty thousand years ago, people painted their tales of hunting buffalo and elk and battling fellow humans on the walls of caves. As soon as we could put pen to paper, we recorded for posterity how armies crossed seas and mountains and deserts to clash swords with other men, for glory and in memory of the fallen. These are the stories that are passed down from generation to generation to generation. We may have forgotten how our great-great-grandparents met and fell in love, but we remember that our great-great-grandpa fought at the battle of Normandy. Everyone has a war story. Why? Because war equals conflict and conflict equals story. It has always fallen to our storytellers, poets, and reporters to show us who we are and help us make sense of the senseless. So it has been, so it will always be.

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Jim Shepard

WALL-TO-WALL COUNSELING • The boys were haggling at the dinner table about which was worse, circumcision or being hit in the nuts

Phil Klay

AFTER ACTION REPORT • In any other vehicle we'd have died

Anthony Doerr

THE EDUCATION OF WERNER PFENNING • Some evenings, during the worst months, all the house directress has to feed her dozen wards are cakes made of mustard powder and water

Samantha Hunt

ALL HANDS • The wharves are vending machines for the local women. They select the option that suits their needs

Colum McCann

PARABELLUM • This — he has discovered — is part of their generosity. They ability to embrace failure. The cost of what they might leave behind

Matthew Specktor

AN EXCERPT FROM American Dream MachineWilliam's earliest plans for ADM centered on how the new agency could wrest power from the studios

Evie Shockley

I DECLARE WAR
A DARK SCRAWL

Camille Rankine

TENDER
THE CURRENT ISOLATIONISM
NECESSITY DEFENSE OF INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY

Victoria Chang

EDWARD HOPPER'S

Kathleen Winter

TONIC
GLAMOUR

Robin Richardson

YASMIN
LITTLE ROBIN EXPLAINS GROWING UP

Elizabeth Lyons NEW VOICE

HOW ALL THINGS ARE MANAGED

Janine di Giovanni

The celebrated journalist sat down withTin HouseParis editor, Heather Hartley, to discuss the chaos of war and how one approaches writing about it.

Bruce Handy

BUDD AND LENI • A Hollywood screenwriter is dispatched to recover a Nazi propagandist's work. And then arrest her.

Michael Helm

IN A STONE COUNTRY • Searching for stories to tell, the writer finds a friend who can't shake the ones she has heard.

Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer

POETRY AND WAR, A LIFE IN LETTERS • A peek into the relationship of two world-class poets.

Steve Almond

ON PER OLOV ENQUIST'S The Visit of the Royal PhysicianAre noble ideas enough to improve the world? Or is bloodshed the necessary cost of such improvement?

Ann Hood

ON PAT BARKER'S RegenerationA writer haunted by invisible wounds looks to writing to heal her.

Rachel Riederer

ON E. F. SCHUMACHER'S Small is Beautiful Abandon the monster economy for a lifestyle designed for permanence

Leslie Jamison

ON CHARLES JACKSON'S The Lost Weekend An alcoholic battles his fear to be the protagonist of his own story

Will Mackin

THE UNWANTED FOOD SHELF • A looming offensive leads a soldier to reconsider his stash.