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Lifting the Skirt on the War Nerd

 by Julie Hanus


Tags: books and publishers, War Nerd, Gary Brecher, eXile, Soft Skull, Hannah Lobel, Mother Jones, public radio, To the Best of Our Knowledge, war writing, war analysis,

The War NerdGary Brecher is the War Nerd—a pseudonymous columnist for the English-language Moscow-based publication, the eXile. (The print-edition eXile was shutdown this spring, but the feisty periodical has found a new home online.) Soft Skull recently published a compilation of Brecher’s columns, which we reviewed in our July-August 2008 issue.

Brecher’s eponymous War Nerd is a curious, in-your-face book, as Utne associate editor Hannah Lobel points out in her review, calling the tome a “raucous, offensive, and sometimes amusing CliffsNotes compilation of wars both well-known and ignored.” Lately, the man who produced such a volume has attracted some curiosity himself.

War Nerd netted a review in Mother Jones that expresses skepticism regarding Brecher’s authority, given that he makes “continual narrative detours,” many about how he “is overweight, underpaid, and has a hard time getting a date.” Brecher offered explanation for those digressions on the public radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge. The nerd moniker was a “defensive move,” Brecher says. “Look, I understand that you can do all kinds of psychoanalysis about why I like war, so let me say up front, ‘Yeah, I’m a fat loser and I flunked puberty.’ And you can link that up with me liking war all you want, but I’m the statistical norm, and there are a lot of me out there.”

Far from shooting himself in the foot—a little war metaphor for you there—Brecher demonstrates his knack for the “surprising analysis” of which Lobel wrote.

You can listen to the seven-minute segment here:

(Thanks, Richard Eoin Nash.)

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