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Read a Bill Glose essay on the cathartic power of writing about trauma, published in Narrative Magazine
All the Ruined Men named a finalist for the the 2020 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize
About All the Ruined Men
Uniting his own combat experience with those of other veterans, Bill Glose examines the long-lasting effects of battle and the injuries that are often invisible to the naked eye. All the Ruined Men shows veterans struggling for normalcy as they grapple with flashbacks, injuries (both physical and psychological), damaged relationships, loss of faith, and loss of memory.
Beginning in 2003, All the Ruined Men spans ten years, from the confident beginning of America’s “forever war” to the confusion and disillusionment that followed.
As a former paratrooper and Gulf War veteran, Bill Glose is closely bound to these stories, which present a cast of complex and sympathetic characters: young men who embraced what seemed a war of just cause, who trained and fought and lived and died together, and who have returned to families, wives, children, civlian life, and an America that has lost its way.
What others are saying
“Through these heartfelt stories Bill Glose shatters the myth of the tight-lipped, stoic veteran.”
“Glose rivets the reader’s attention with gritty, convincing detail on everything from combat, to paper-bag machinery, to coping with wayward teens. No rah-rah patriotism here, only the true cost of war shown in blood and damage and regret. A moving, tragic tribute to those whose lives were wrecked by fighting in America’s longest war, Ruined Men is one of the most moving collections I’ve ever read.”
“A brutally honest portrayal of combat and its aftermath, Glose looks the horror in the eye and never averts his gaze. An important book all Americans should read to understand the fallout from twenty years of continuous war.”
“Searing, evocative linked stories, masterfully told, of the devotion and devastation of young soldiers in combat and the trauma and isolation experienced by too many as they struggle to readjust to home after multiple deployments in our forever wars. Heartbreaking, but with glimmers of hope, this eloquent book should be read by all who want to understand what we ask of, and do to, so many of the few we send to fight our wars.”
“A generation of American men and women have gone abroad since 9/11 in search of monsters, returning home to a land mostly unchanged while they themselves are anything but. In prose both searing and forceful, Bill Glose traces the after-wars of one infantry squad, examining how combat lingers in the hardest of souls sent off by their country to do the impossible. There are small victories, large failures, drudgery and bursts of hope, too. This accomplished book is more than a collection of war tales. It's a reckoning.”
“A collage of explosions, both in combat and civilian life. In this collection, Bill Glose hinges the traumas of war to everyday events: playing poker, hosting a party, digging a pool. All the Ruined Men is an impressive debut from a seasoned storyteller who understands nuance and character and how memory abides inside every present moment. These stories are brutal, disarming, tender, and wrenching. They are also very well-written—lyrical, yet understated—harrowing, piercing, fierce.”