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Benjamin Busch

Dust to Dust

Benjamin Busch Dust To Dust
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Main description:

Dust to Dust is an extraordinary memoir about ordinary things: life and death, peace and war, the adventures of childhood and the revelations of adulthood. Benjamin Busch—a decorated U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer who served two combat tours in Iraq, an actor on The Wire, and the son of celebrated novelist Frederick Busch—has crafted a lasting book to stand with the finest work of Tim O'Brien or Annie Dillard.

In elemental-themed chapters—water, metal, bone, blood—Busch weaves together a vivid record of a pastoral childhood in rural New York; Marine training in North Carolina, Ukraine, and California; and deployment during the worst of the war in Iraq, as seen firsthand. But this is much more than a war memoir. Busch writes with great poignancy about the resonance of a boyhood spent exploring rivers and woods, building forts, and testing the limits of safety. Most of all, he brings enormous emotional power to his reflections on mortality: in a helicopter going down; wounded by shrapnel in Ramadi; dealing with the sudden death of friends in combat and of parents back home.

Dust to Dust is an unforgettable meditation on life and loss, and how the curious children we were remain alive in us all.

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“[A] must-read memoir.”

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“[Busch’s] portrayal of the war in Iraq is unsentimental and immediate.”

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“[Busch] writes with the precision of a stonemason, the courage of a combat veteran, and the inquisitiveness of an artist. . . . A haunting meditation on time, memory, and death.”

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Dust to Dust is a wonderful book, original in concept and stunningly written, a soldier’s memoir that is about soldiering and much else besides. The last two dozen pages are a tour de force, a breathtaking meditation on loss and remembrance, dust to dust.”

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Dust to Dust is not a typical contemporary war memoir. . . . It partakes of the pastoral strain associated with World War I trench-poets like Edmund Blunden and Edward Thomas.”

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Dust to Dust is startlingly good.”

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“A beautiful and powerful meditation on combat, profound loss, and mortality.”

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“A beautiful meditation on war, loss, and the larger questions of life and death.”

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“A meditation on the literal and figurative borders of life—country to country, river to lake, soil to dust, wood to ash, life to death, blood to bones, child to man—[that] explores the wonders of the natural world and our solitary lives within it.”

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“A remarkable book—part military memoir, part childhood reminiscence. . . . Busch is filled with complicated and fascinating contradictions.”

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“An imaginative, original meditation on mortality that reaches beyond the particulars of the Iraq war and the present day to grasp the universal. It is a literary gem.”

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“An invigorating and moving take on the war memoir.”

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“Beautifully told. . . . There is not one bad sentence in this book. . . . I cannot wait to see what [Busch] writes next.”

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“Beautifully written. . . . Captivating. . . . It’s fascinating to journey through [these] literary landscapes as time passes, swirls back, and eddies like a stream before flowing away.”

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“Busch carries us on a haunting, humorous, and poignant journey.”

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“Busch is a brilliant prose stylist for whom every pause counts, a man of three worlds—the

“A wonderful book, original in concept and stunningly written.”
—Ward Just

“Elegiac, funny, wistful, deep, and wonderfully human, Dust to Dust moved me to laughter and tears, sometimes simultaneously.”
—Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War

Tim O’Brien meets Annie Dillard in this remarkable memoir by debut author Benjamin Busch. Much more than a war memoir, Dust to Dust brilliantly explores the passage through a lifetime—a moving meditation on life and death, the adventures of childhood and revelations of adulthood. Seemingly ordinary things take on a breathtaking radiance when examined by this decorated Marine officer—veteran of two combat tours in Iraq—actor on the hit HBO series The Wire, and son of acclaimed novelist Frederick Busch. Above all, Benjamin Busch is a truly extraordinary new literary talent as evidenced by his exemplary debut, Dust to Dust—an original, emotionally powerful, and surprisingly refreshing take on an American soldier’s story.

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