In 2003, after serving five and a half years as a carpenter in a North Dakota National Guard engineer unit, Bronson Lemer was ready to leave the military behind. But six months short of completing his commitment to the army, Lemer was deployed on a yearlong tour of duty to Iraq. Leaving college life behind in the Midwest, he yearns for a lost love and quietly dreams of a future as an openly gay man outside the military. He discovers that his father's lifelong example of silent strength has taught him much about being a man, and these lessons help him survive in a war zone and to conceal his sexuality, as he is required to do by the U.S. military.
The Last Deployment is a moving, provocative chronicle of one soldier's struggle to reconcile military brotherhood with self-acceptance. Lemer captures the absurd nuances of a soldier's daily life: growing a mustache to disguise his fear, wearing pantyhose to battle sand fleas, and exchanging barbs with Iraqis while driving through Baghdad. But most strikingly, he describes the poignant reality faced by gay servicemen and servicewomen, who must mask their identities while serving a country that disowns them. Often funny, sometimes anguished, The Last Deployment paints a deeply personal portrait of war in the 21st century.
“Lemer's is a wonderfully descriptive, wryly humorous, heart-crushing story, and I couldn't put it down. . . . If you love a soldier, your country, or both, The Last Deployment is a book you'll want to tell everybody about.” (The Dallas Voice)
“This book provides a poignant example of a gay man learning more about his place in the world. Lemer's fears and joys highlight the humanity associated with being gay in the military, along with complexities of the discriminatory and soon to be ended policy of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'” (High Plains Reader)
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Clear story about Iraq Vet
The narrator did not match the author's writing style. The writing and voice of the 28-year-old author did not match the narrator's much older, reserved style of communication. I felt like my Dad was reading me the story. This book feels like a documentary so using the actual voice of the author would have helped convey the story. This book would have been better if the author read his own book.