“Apocalypse Now insanity . . . if this is what one soldier saw in seven months, imagine the sum total of the inhumanity being perpetuated in Iraq” (Toronto Star).
The first memoir from a soldier who deserted from the war in Iraq, and a vivid and damning indictment of the American military campaign, The Deserter’s Tale is “destined to become part of the literature of the Iraq war . . . a substantial contribution to history” (Los Angeles Times).
In Spring 2003, young Oklahoman Joshua Key was sent to Ramadi as part of a combat engineer company. It was not the campaign against terrorists and evildoers he had expected. Key saw Iraqi civilians beaten, shot, and killed, or maimed for little or no provocation. After seven months in Iraq, Key was home on leave and knew he could not return. So he took his family and went underground in the United States, finally seeking asylum in Canada after fourteen months in hiding.
Detailing the grinding horrors of life as part of an occupying force, The Deserter’s Tale is the story of a conservative-minded family man and patriot who went to war believing unquestioningly in his government’s commitment to integrity and justice, and how what he saw in Iraq transformed him into someone who could no longer serve his country.
“Devastating . . . The questions [Key] raises . . . will not go away.” —Daily Kos
“A tearjerker . . . Lawrence Hill, the award-winning Canadian novelist and journalist who helped Key write The Deserter’s Tale, does a marvelous job preserving Key’s authentic voice. The writing is fluid, crisp and compelling. The story is shocking.” —Montreal Gazette