C.J. Chivers, an American journalist for The New York Times, author, and Marine Veteran, spoke about his recent book “The Fighters: Americans at Combat” at Highland Park United Methodist Church Wednesday.
Chivers is known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning cover story for the The New York Times Magazine in 2016, which led to the release of an Afghan war veteran with PTSD from an Illinois prison, according to the New York Times.
Janet McLeod, a Dallas PR firm owner for visiting authors, brought Chivers to the church. She spoke highly of Chivers and his work.
“[Chivers] is one of the most realistic, down to earth men I have ever met,” McLeod said, noting that she has not read this book.
In “The Fighters,” Chivers reflects on his experiences at war, as he chronicles the American soldiers that fought in Afghanistan.
Richard Stanford, senior adult ministry leader of the church, introduced Chivers and his book by saying that the book “help[s] us understand as civilians” what it is like to be apart of the war. Stanford says Chivers “gives voice to men and women who fight on the ground.”
Chivers opened up the night by stating that he was in uniform for two years. Over time, Chivers realized that “the history of wars has too much general in them, generally, and not enough sergeant.” In his book, he said he “takes a straight approach” to open the eyes of people outside of the war field.
Chivers explains this book is about what he saw in combat, but without his actual presence in the book. Chivers said that his “presence does not matter” in the book, saying that what happened happened whether he was there or not.
Before the question-and-answer part of the night, Chivers read a passage about one of his friends who loses a leg and how the experience happens. The passage demonstrates that the book does not shy away from depicting the harsh realities of combat, but Chivers hopes it is honest and impactful, with “an intent to create empathy.”