United States Foreign Service Officer (ret.) and author of Hooper’s War Peter Van Buren spent a year in Iraq. Following his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, the Department of State began legal proceedings against him, falsely claiming the book revealed classified material. Through the efforts of the ACLU, Van Buren instead retired from the State Department with his First Amendment rights intact.
His second book, Ghosts of Tom Joad, A Story of the #99Percent is a novel about the social and economic changes in America after WWII and the decline of the blue collar middle class in the 1980s. The book anticipated the conditions that led many in America’s Rust Belt to help elect Donald Trump.
Van Buren returns now with a deeply-researched anti-war novel, Hooper’s War. Set in WWII Japan, Lieutenant Nate Hooper isn’t sure he’ll survive his war. And if he does make it home, he isn’t sure he can survive the peace. He’s done a terrible thing, and struggles to resolve the mistake he made alongside a Japanese soldier, and a Japanese woman who failed to save both men. At stake in this story of moral injury? Souls.
With allegorical connections to America’s current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the reverse chronology telling of Hooper’s War (“Fighting over the covers is better than remembering the empty side of the bed,” Hooper says) turns a loss-of-innocence narrative into a complex tale of why that loss is inevitable in societies that go to war. Think Matterhorn and The Things They Carried, crossed with Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse Five.
Peter’s commentary has been featured in The New York Times, Reuters, Salon, NPR, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, The Nation, TomDispatch, Antiwar.com, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Japan Times, Asia Times, The Guardian (UK), Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernicaand others. He has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, CurrentTV, HuffPo Live, RT, ITV, Britain’s Channel 4 Viewpoint, Dutch Television, CCTV, Voice of America, and more.