Alexs Thompson, "I'll Go: War, Religion, and Coming Home, from Cairo to Kansas City" (2020)

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Today I interview Alexs Thompson about his new memoir, I'll Go: War, Religion, and Coming Home, from Cairo to Kansas City (2020). Let me begin with a moment of honesty. When I first heard about Thompson's memoir, I was skeptical that it was true. The experiences about which Thompson writes seem too remarkable, such as setting out to Egypt right after the 9/11 attacks in America with only a backpack and without a plan to study Arabic among fundamentalist Muslims, even though Thompson didn't know Arabic and isn't a Muslim, to working with combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to briefing major intelligence agencies and working with top military officials such as General Petraeus. His life experience seemed more vast and more varied than a person could fit in multiple lives, let alone one. Did I mentioned that Thompson also earned his PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago while many of these events unfolded? And yet I found out: it's true; he's true; and he's here with us today to share some of his remarkable story.

Eric LeMay is on the creative writing faculty at Ohio University. His work ranges from food writing to electronic literature. He is the author of three books, most recently In Praise of Nothing: Essay, Memoir, and Experiments (Emergency Press, 2014). He can be reached at eric@ericlemay.org.

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