Ashley Gilbertson in Mother Jones magazine
Ashley Gilbertson’s new book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: A Photographer’s Chronicle of the Iraq War has received some pre-publication praise in an article published in this month’s edition of Mother Jones. Ted Genoways begins his article by arguing that much of the recent war reportage from Iraq has been corrupted by bad reporting and bias, but offers Gilbertson’s forthcoming book as a much needed corrective. Genoways writes:
Thankfully, we have writers and photographers like Gilbertson, now working primarily on contract for the New York Times, who have not given up on the idea of real reporting. The photographs in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot convey a clear eyed fidelity to the facts. They include pictures of corpses and bleeding soldiers, pictures of officers practicing golf swings and enjoying saunas, and pictures of incarcerated prisoners and brutal interrogations. The lurid and the ludicrous share equal space often to dizzying effect. The text is refreshingly direct and self deprecating—whether revealing Gilbertson’s embarrassment at wetting his pants under fire or his agony and post-traumatic stress after being splattered by the brains of the man in front of him on patrol. This is the kind of reporting we so desperately need: free of false bravura, free of agenda, free of inflated urgency.…
The book belongs less on the shelf with other histories of the war than on the same shelf with Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. This is not trumped up news coming live from Iraq but the straight story with harrowing snapshots of the American soul. When future generations look back and wonder where we went wrong, where we failed ourselves and them, it will not be hours of television and radio broadcasts that they will pore over. It will be a select few texts, and Gilbertson’s book deserves to be one of them.
Check the Mother Jones website where they should post the entire article soon. Our own special website for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot will also be online soon featuring images from the book and an interview with Gilbertson.