Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Consequence: A Memoir by Eric Fair

Consequence is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an Army translator, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2004, after several months as an interrogator with a private contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair's nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation. Years later, his health and marriage crumbling, haunted by the role he played in what we now know as "enhanced interrogation," it is Fair's desire to speak out that becomes a key to his survival. Spare and haunting, Eric Fair's memoir is both a brave, unrelenting confession and a book that questions the very depths of who he, and we as a country, have become. 

This is a frill free memoir recounting the journey one man takes from rural Pennsylvania USA, where he grew up in a religious community to Iraq, where he participated in the interrogation and torture of Iraqi detainees. This is the perfect book for anyone who ever wondered how human beings were able to commit such cruel and brutal acts to other fellow beings in the Abu Ghraib scandal. 
Fair takes his time telling his story, slowly drawing the reader into his world where you can almost understand how he ends up doing what he did as an interrogator. As he is describing his journey, you don’t realize until later all the small incidents which were all building to a perfect example of ‘death by a thousand cuts’. 
The staccato style, which can feel jarring in the beginning when Fair is talking about his early life ends up fitting perfectly to the story being told by the time he gets to Iraq. All in all, it was an easy read considering the content.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Roberta

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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