Summary and book reviews of Consequence by Eric Fair

Consequence

A Memoir

by Eric Fair

Consequence by Eric Fair
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2016, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2017, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Book Summary

A man questions everything - his faith, his morality, his country - as he recounts his experience as an interrogator in Iraq; an unprecedented memoir and "an act of incredible bravery." (Phil Klay)

Consequence is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an Army translator, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2004, after several months as an interrogator with a private contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair's nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation.

Years later, his health and marriage crumbling, haunted by the role he played in what we now know as "enhanced interrogation," it is Fair's desire to speak out that becomes a key to his survival. Spare and haunting, Eric Fair's memoir is both a brave, unrelenting confession and a book that questions the very depths of who he, and we as a country, have become.

Abu Ghraib
January 2004

One of the interrogation booths at Abu Ghraib has comfortable chairs. I like to use this booth because there's a small space heater inside that cuts through the chill of the Iraqi winter. There's even a hot plate to boil water for tea, but it only works when you run an extension cord from the generator, and that prevents you from closing the door all the way. I'm interrogating an Iraqi general today, so I make the tea.

It's hard to schedule this booth because everyone wants to use it, and we're only supposed to use it when we have someone important to talk to. It's always a good thing if you're interrogating a former Iraqi army officer, especially a major or a colonel. And if you get a former general, like today, then the booth is yours for sure.

The comfortable interrogation booth is designed for an approach called change of scenery. The prisoner is supposed to think he's somewhere else; he's supposed to be ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Although the author writes from a strongly Christian point of view, the book isn't a sermon on the evils of torture, nor does it delve into philosophical discussion. It remains a highly personal account throughout, focusing on actions, events and people. It's unlikely most readers will learn more about conditions in Iraq during the latest war there but they will gain a greater understanding of the permanent psychological impact such a war can have on those who participate.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Full Review (875 words).

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Media Reviews

The Washington Post

Essential reading. . .An overdue reckoning. . . No other book guides readers so honestly and so succinctly through this grim chapter in U.S. history.

The New York Times

Important. . .candid and chilling. . .here the sense of the absurd is infused with real horror and injustice. . .[a] profoundly unsettling book.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A startling debut from a haunted individual who wishes he had left Iraq earlier "with my soul intact".

Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers Selection Committee

A harrowing and thought-provoking read, a book that we believe will spark discussion nationwide.

Author Blurb Phil Klay, New York Times bestselling author of Redeployment
An act of incredible bravery. If we, as a country, are ever to fully account for the past decade of war and what it meant, we need those who participated to have the courage to tell us what was done in our name. Eric Fair does not speak in euphemisms. He does not justify or condemn. He merely tells us what happened. And that is something we desperately need to hear.

Author Blurb Sebastian Junger
It takes a a lot of courage to write honestly about one's own mistakes, and even more courage to write about the mistakes of one's country. Eric Fair has done both. This remarkable book is both an agonized confession and a chilling expose of one of the darkest interludes of the War on Terror. Only this kind of courage and honesty can bring America back to the democratic values that we are so rightfully proud of.

Author Blurb Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue
I don't think Eric Fair writes so we might laud him for courage or artistry. The complex reckoning within these pages mirrors our wars, which have been fought in a similar, gray morality. So this book deserves that singular and highest of compliments: It is honest.

Author Blurb Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night In Suck City
A glimpse into the inner workings of someone who has been at the center of some of the most vexing issues of the past decade...Artful, understated, surprising...We have read a lot about war lately, but we have never read anything like this.

Reader Reviews

Betty Taylor

Raw, brutal, honest, soul-baring
Raw, brutal, honest, soul-baring. Eric Fair was a contractor doing interrogations in Iraq – Abu Ghraib and Fallujah. Things he saw, things he did, things he didn’t do. There were consequences associated with his actions and inactions. Eric Fair ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center

Consequence author Eric Fair first prepared for his role as an interrogator by enrolling in the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC).

According to its website, the DLIFLC is the "premier school for culturally based foreign language education and training, with classroom instruction, mobile training teams, and online materials tailored for students at all levels of required proficiency or performance." It's located on the Presidio in Monterey, CA. Although the Presidio is a U.S. Army post and the DLIFLC is run by the Army, it's considered a "joint-service" school and is attended by members of all branches of the military service as well as select individuals sponsored by government agencies such as the National ...

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