Author and Photo Journalist Report on Afghanistan

This unique Book Night at Club Quarters on Wednesday, November 17 at 6 p.m. will feature Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. Both books will be available for purchase and signing. A new trailer of the film “Restrepo” will also be shown. Reservations are essential. Please call the OPC office 212-626-9220, e-mail or log on to the website.



Tim Hetherington’s book begins: their name for us was ‘infidel.’ The book carries the same name, Infidel, about the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan. Hetherington is a British photojournalist who was embedded with writer Sebastian Junger in a small battalion of U.S. soldiers for the greater part of a year. Out that experience they each produced a book and a together the documentary “Restrepo.”

Infidel [Chris Boot Ltd.] is a well designed book of photos of the landscape, the men of the battalion at battle, at play, and asleep. It also includes an interesting parade of their tattoos. His partner, Sebastian Junger, writes a stirring Introduction: “Tim somehow navigated this world of boredom and killing in a way that extracted the maximum meaning out of both… . There was nothing at the outpost — no running water, no hot food, no communication with the civilian world, no alcohol or drugs or girls or entertainment of any kind – and so if the enemy didn’t shoot at you, it was pretty much a wasted day in your life… . It was easy to fall into the trap of thinking that without combat there was no story to tell. I remember one stifling June day in the middle of a real combat drought — nothing for two weeks straight — and almost every soldier at the outpost was asleep….

Creeping through the outpost came Tim, camera in hand, grabbing photographs of the soldiers as they slept. ‘You never see them like this. They always look so tough, but when they’re asleep they look like little boys. They look the way their mothers probably remember them.’” This is a book as much about love and male vulnerability as it is about bravery and war.

The bestselling author Sebastian Junger’s objective in his recently published book War [Twelve] was both simple and ambitious: to convey what soldiers experience — what war actually feels like. Junger shows us what it means to fight, to serve and to face down mortal danger on a constant basis. Philip Caputo of The Washington Post comments “But what elevates War out of its particular time and place are the author’s meditations on the minds and emotions of the soldiers with whom he has shared hardships, dangers and spells of boredom so intense that everyone sits around wishing to hell something would happen (and wishes to God it was over when, inevitably, it does).”

Marjorie Miller of the Los Angeles Times offers a definitive look at Junger’s War: “The book is written in the first person, but it is observational, offering no critique of the combat he witnessed, taking no position on the efficiency, logic or value of the war. He offers a close-up view of men and the raw elements of war: fear and courage, killing and death, love and brotherhood.”

Hetherington and Junger will speak about their experiences as photographer and writer in the remote Korengal Valley of Afghanistan, and they will also show some portion of their joint production of Restrepo, the documentary which OPC co-sponsored with Human Rights Watch this past June. The film is of the same subject in a different medium. The movie focuses on a remote 15 man outpost, Restrepo, named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. The film, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, will premiere on National Geographic Channels on November 28.

Tim Hetherington is an acclaimed photographer and filmmaker who has reported on conflict for more than ten years. He was the only photographer to live behind rebel lines during the recent Liberian civil war. Hetherington was the recipient of the World Press Photo of the Year in 2008, the same year that he and Junger won the OPC’s David Kaplan Award for their story from the Korengal Valley on ABC News — Nightline.

Sebastian Junger is the best selling author of The Perfect Storm, Fire and A Death in Belmont. Junger has reported for Vanity Fair from many war zones. His October 1999 article “The Forensics of War” in Vanity Fair won the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He also won the Alfred I. DuPont Broadcast Award for his cinematography while embedded with American soldiers for ABC News.