John Crawford joined the National Guard in Florida as a means to a college education, trading six years of service for tuition at Florida State University. Recently married and just two credits shy of a BA in anthropology, Crawford got the call that led to his deployment in Iraq. He was still on his honeymoon.
In “The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell,” Crawford’s stories, told in a voice at once raw and immediate vivid, chronicle the daily life of a young soldier in Iraq: the excitement, the horror, the anger, the tedium, the fear, the camaraderie. But all together, the stories gradually uncover something more: the transformation of a group of young men, innocents, into something entirely different.
“The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell” was published in the summer of 2005 and immediately entered The New York Times bestsellers list. The book began as a series of essays written while Crawford was still stationed in occupied Baghdad. James Frey, the acclaimed memoirist, has said, “It’s a heartbreaking and perversely beautiful book that should join ‘Catch-22’ and ‘The Things They Carried’ as this generation’s defining literary expression of men at war,” while Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show,” calls it “A tremendous book ... incredibly gripping and incredibly well-written.” Crawford currently lives in Florida, where he is writing and completing his degree. He no longer has any affiliation with the Army. Crawford’s latest book is “The Territorials: The History of the Territorial and Volunteer Forces of New Zealand.”