Retire the Colors: Veterans & Civilians on Iraq & Afghanistan

Edited by Dario DiBattista

Introduction by Ron Capps

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ISBN: 978-1-944079-07-9 (print)
ISBN: 978-1-944079-09-3 (e)

Pub Date: October 26, 2016

Price: $20.00 paperback
$9.99 e-book


Foreign rights available: World

The men and women who survive war have a responsibility to report back; the country that sent them has a responsibility to listen.”

—from the Introduction by Ron Capps, founder, Veterans Writing Project, combat veteran of Afghanistan, and Army and Foreign Service officer, 1983-2008.

“My initial reaction was that there couldn’t be anything new or interesting here, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I can’t recommend this book enough.”
–J.A. Moad II, Consequence Magazine

The impact of war, and the lingering aftereffect it has on both veterans and civilians, is—for myriad reasons—largely invisible to the public. Popular media may create news cycles around horrors or stereotypes, but the effort required to redefine and sustain “normal” lives after war stays below the surface and out of sight.

In Retire the Colors, nineteen thought-provoking stories by veterans and civilians consider the residual effects of Iraq and Afghanistan. A pacifist describes her decision to accompany her husband, an Iraq veteran, to the shooting range. A hospital worker in Mosul talks about what happens on a hunting trip back home with his grandfather. A veteran experiences the 2013 Boston marathon. The wife of a combat medic considers their unusual nighttime routines. A mother and former 50 cal gunner navigates truth and lies with her children.

These stories offer a grace uncommon in war literature today. They also make an appeal to readers: to witness with compassion the men and women who—because of war—possess the strength to show us what it means to be fully human.

Contributors include: Tahani Alsandook, Joseph R. Bawden, Brian Castner, David Chrisinger, David P. Ervin, Teresa Fazio, CH Guise, Colin D. Halloran, Lauren Kay Halloran, Matthew J. Hefti, Brooke King, Randy Leonard, Eva KL Miller, Stewart Moss, Caitlin Pendola, Mark Solheim, Richard Allen Smith, Christopher Stowe, and Melissa Walker.


Dario DiBattista a veteran of Iraq, has had his writing appear in the Washingtonian, the New York Times, the Washington PostConnecticut Review, and many other places. Additionally, he’s been profiled in the New York Times and has been a commentator on NPR and for the BBC. His editing projects include O-Dark-Thirty, 20 Something Magazine, and jmww.
Contact Dario via his website here.
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