What We’re Reading: Succession and Mutilation

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

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Waiting for Eden By Elliot Ackerman War stories are often gruesome, heart-wrenching and generally hard to read. What tends to go overlooked, though, is that the way they’re told tells us as much about the people who recount the them as they do about those who lived through them. In “Waiting for Eden,” the narrator has a unique perspective on the story he’s telling. He’s the best friend of Eden, a U.S. soldier who was horrifically injured while on patrol in the Hamrin Valley in Iraq. The explosion killed everyone else in the patrol including Eden’s best friend, who’s narrating the story from the afterlife. When the book begins, Eden has been in a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, for three years. He was badly burned and brain damaged and has been comatose since he returned to the United States. His injuries were so bad that the doctors debated whether it was worth flying him out of the war zone at all. Everyone, including his siblings, want to let him pass away. Except his wife, Mary. She was pregnant at the time of his accident and has been by his bedside ever since. But over the Christmas holidays, she decides […]

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Valentina Jovanovski
Valentina Jovanovski is an editor at Geopolitical Futures. She works with analysts to hone their writing and handles daily digital publishing and communication of analytical content to subscribers. Ms. Jovanovski was previously an analyst at a research firm focusing on corporate social responsibility before moving to London, England, to earn a diploma in journalism. She worked in Budapest for two years as a freelance journalist, writing for several international publications. She was also an associate editor for an English-language Hungarian news portal. She has an honors bachelor’s degree in political science and geography from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in political science from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Phillip Orchard
Phillip Orchard is an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Orchard spent nearly six years at Stratfor, working as an editor and writing about East Asian geopolitics. He’s spent more than six years abroad, primarily in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where he’s had formative, immersive experiences with the problems arising from mass political upheaval, civil conflict and human migration. Mr. Orchard holds a master’s degree in Security, Law and Diplomacy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where he focused on energy and national security, Chinese foreign policy, intelligence analysis, and institutional pathologies. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He speaks Spanish and some Thai and Lao.