By Matt Young
Bloomsbury, February 27, 2018

"The Iliad of the Iraq war" (Tim Weiner)—a gut-wrenching, beautiful memoir of the consequences of war on the psyche of a young man.

Eat the Apple is a daring, twisted, and darkly hilarious story of American youth and masculinity in an age of continuous war. Matt Young joined the Marine Corps at age eighteen after a drunken night culminating in wrapping his car around a fire hydrant. The teenage wasteland he fled followed him to the training bases charged with making him a Marine. Matt survived the training and then not one, not two, but three deployments to Iraq, where the testosterone, danger, and stakes for him and his fellow grunts were dialed up a dozen decibels.

With its kaleidoscopic array of literary forms, from interior dialogues to infographics to prose passages that read like poetry, Young's narrative powerfully mirrors the multifaceted nature of his experience. Visceral, ironic, self-lacerating, and ultimately redemptive, Young's story drops us unarmed into Marine Corps culture and lays bare the absurdism of 21st-century war, the manned-up vulnerability of those on the front lines, and the true, if often misguided, motivations that drove a young man to a life at war.

Searing in its honesty, tender in its vulnerability, and brilliantly written, Eat the Apple is a modern war classic in the making and a powerful coming-of-age story that maps the insane geography of our times.


Selected Praise

"Matt Young has written the Iliad of the Iraq war--searing as the desert sun, powerful as a rocket-propelled grenade. He live through three hard tours as a Marine and returned to tell this breathtaking tale. Read it if you love your country. Read it if you hate war. His book will strengthen your heart and soul." - Tim Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award

"Eat the Apple is uncompromising. Page after page slices close to the bone with both stylistic and structural swagger. I've never met Matt Young, but he writes about a certain type of young man, a type that comprised many of my closest friends. In his book they come alive again. I've yet to read a truer portrait of them, of us." - Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue

"There's a lot of words to describe Eat the Apple. Smart. Filthy. Bold. Electric. What will linger with readers more than anything else, though, is its honesty. This is modern war bare and raw, uncompromised by faulty heroic tales or foggy romantic deeds. Matt Young was once a mortarman in the Marines, sent off by his country to do the dirty work of empire. With Eat the Apple, he proves himself a writer with blue-chip talent and supreme creative vision." - Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood

"Matt Young has written an uncomfortable book about war. After 17 years of perpetual conflict, it's about time someone did. Much like our endless wars, this book will make you want to look away. Instead, you'll keep reading, fascinated and appalled by what our nation's wars truly are. In profanely genuine and courageous prose, Matt Young approaches war with the self-lacerating honesty so few of us are willing to risk. Eat The Apple is the only way a true war story can be told." - Eric Fair, author of Consquence

"Matt Young's Eat the Apple is a standout in a crowded room full of war memoirs. It's fresh, invigorating, and brutally honest in a scorched-earth kind of way. Eat the Apple scrapes the landscape of memory raw until it bleeds, and that's what puts it head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd." - David Abrams, author of Fobbit and Brave Deeds

About the Author

Matt Young holds an MA in Creative Writing from Miami University and is the recipient of fellowships with Words After War and the Carey Institute for Global Good. His work can be found in Tin HouseWord Riot, the Rumpus, and elsewhere. He is a combat veteran, and lives in Olympia, Washington, where he teaches writing.


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