Student Spotlight: Michael Anthony
Posted on November 9, 2012
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Graduate MICHAEL ANTHONY RUEHRWEIN
of Raynham chronicled what he saw as the underbelly of military life after a year of active duty in Iraq as an operating room technician. His book, Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception and Dishonor in Iraq
, has been in the news because of its candor regarding drug abuse, suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East. Michael Anthony, as he is known in the writing world, discussed the impetus behind the book and what impact he hopes it will have.
For more information about the book, log on to www.masscasualties.com.Why did you write Mass Casualties?
There are a lot of stories that aren't being told over there. I want to give a real depiction of what really goes on versus what people want to hear or want to pretend goes on. To make those improvements, we need to admit to what's not good; we just can't pretend that everything's perfect.What is the book about?
The book is a memoir of my time in Iraq. What goes on behind the scenes, the talk of the soldiers, the peccadilloes that go on with human characters. There's the real version of the war, then there's the Hollywood version, and then the media version. What I wanted to do was just fill in the gaps in between. How is the book being received?
They appreciate the real, honest truth. I was surprised as to how well it was accepted by fellow veterans. I didn't try to paint this picture that didn't happen. I didn't paint myself as a hero of the story or any story. I just give the real side of things that a lot of people don't want to talk about. It really just surprised me how well it was accepted.What are some of the issues?
There are a lot of problems that happen over there that lead to problems back home & rampant drug use and crimes that go on that are covered up by the leadership & It's a lot of little events that people ignore that lead up to this perfect emotional, mental storm that leads to our returning veterans having troubles, killing themselves at enormous rates. The big point is to just get the truth out there. I mean, there's thousands of stories to tell. It's not pro- or anti-war; it's just the truth about what really happened over there.What is your goal for the book?
To let people know that there are all these things that go on. What I want people to realize is that by not admitting these things, you are doing more harm than good. The first step is to admit exactly what it is that's going on there.This story first appeared in Bridgewater magazine.
(Interview by John Winters, G '11; photo by Karen Callan; University Advancement)