From al-Qaida to ISIS, Danner and Oates examine America’s ‘Forever War’

Mark Danner and the cover of his latest book. (Danner photo by Dominique Nabakov)

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the United States and allies undertook a global “war on terror.” Now, more than 15 years later, the war is the longest armed conflict in American history. The consequences — particularly American tolerance of perpetual war in the name of security — inspired UC Berkeley journalism and English professor Mark Danner’s latest book, Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War.

 A former staff writer for The New Yorker and frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, Danner has covered the United States’ “war on terror” extensively since September 11. Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 28), the public is invited to hear him, along with author and visiting professor Joyce Carol Oates, discuss Spiral as part of the Book Chats series, a project of the Townsend Center for the Humanities.

In Spiral, Danner looks at how the realities of that war — the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, enhanced interrogation tactics and the proliferation of drone warfare, for example —  have impacted the American psyche.

His book is complex and nuanced, and the aim of Book Chats is to make such work broadly accessible.

“It’s an opportunity for anyone who is interested in the writings of faculty members to discuss the work,” says Rebecca Egger, Townsend Center associate director. “We don’t expect people to have read the book or be experts in the field in order to have this conversation. It’s a format that’s very welcoming of the public and interested readers.”

Free and open to the public, the conversation will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in 220 Stephens Hall. Oates will introduce Danner, who then will speak before opening up the discussion to the audience.

More information about the series, and a list of all upcoming Book Chats, can be found on the Townsend Center’s website.