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Book of the Quarter

The Long Walk, Winter 2013

Winter 2013

Kennedy Commons
Thursday, February 28, 2013
4 - 5:30 p.m.

The Library is pleased to host Brian Castner, discussing his book, The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows, as the Winter 2013 Book of the Quarter. This book has been chosen because it is one of the two selections for this year's Silicon Valley Reads, a program which is presented annually by the San José Public Library Foundation, the Santa Clara County Library, and the Santa Clara County Office of Education.

Castner will discuss his book with Thomas Plante, Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J., University Professor, Psychology Department, and take questions from the audience. There will be a book signing following the talk.

Please join us on Thursday, February 28 at 4 p.m. in the Kennedy Commons. This event is free and open to the public. It is not necessary to read the book prior to attending the event, but copies are available for purchase in the campus bookstore or you can request a copy through LINK+.

About the Book

Brian Castner served three tours of duty in the Middle East, two of them as the commander of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Iraq. Days and nights he and his team - his brothers - would venture forth in heavily armed convoys to engage in the nerve-racking yet strangely exhilarating work of either disarming the deadly improvised explosive devices that had been discovered, or picking up the pieces when the alert came too late. They relied on an army of remote-controlled cameras and robots, but if that technology failed, a technician would have to don the eighty-pound Kevlar suit, take the 'Long Walk' up to the bomb, and disarm it by hand.

But The Long Walk is not just about battle itself. It is also an unflinching portrayal of the toll that war exacts on the men and women who are fighting it. When Castner returned home to his wife and family, he began a struggle with a no less insidious foe, an unshakable feeling of fear and confusion and survivor's guilt that he terms 'The Crazy.' His thrilling, heartbreaking, stunningly honest book immerses the reader in two harrowing and simultaneous realities: the terror and excitement and camaraderie of combat, and the lonely battle against the enemy within - the haunting memories that will not fade, the survival instincts that will not switch off. After enduring what he has endured, can there ever again be such a thing as 'normal?'

About the Author

Brian Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006. After leaving the active military, he became a consultant and contractor, training Army and Marine Corps units prior to their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. His writing has appeared in a number of national and regional publications, including Publisher's Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. Brian lives outside of Buffalo, New York with his wife and four sons. The Long Walk is his first book.


Oct 11, 2015