Veterans Book Club featuring book by journalist covering conflict in Middle East

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The Veterans Book Club has announced their book to discuss at its next meeting on March 28 at 5:30 p.m. “I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad,” by Souad Mekhennet was chosen by Dean of Library Services Vicki Bloom.

“I chose this book because I thought the club participants would want to read about the other side of terrorism: the beliefs and motivations of those for whom we are fighting in the Middle East. Given that is,” said Bloom.

The book doesn’t follow the usual choice for the club.

“This is the first book she’s [Bloom] chosen that isn’t really a veteran’s or soldier’s experience, but a reporter’s experience,” said Rhonda Culbertson, community outreach and librarian of biological sciences and sustainability/environmental studies.

The author has a unique background that she brings to the narrative, highlighted in the Facebook event page by the club: the author is a journalist, Muslim, European and a woman.

“Written by an Arab-German journalist who had narrowly escaped from being radicalized herself, I thought that she would bring an interesting perspective,” said Bloom.

The book details how the journalist was distrusted by both sides of the conflict she was covering, and the things she heard along the way.

The Veterans Book Club is now in its fourth year. The discussions are always open for anyone who is interested to join.

“It’s a fairly intimate group, and the discussions are always wonderful,” said Culbertson. From community members, Vietnam and Korean War veterans, as well as current student veterans, the discussion of the text has many perspectives coming to the conversation.

For those interested in participating in this month’s discussion, the library has copies of “I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad,” by Souad Mekhennet. Those who need help obtaining a copy of the book may contact Vicki Bloom at

The discussion will be held in room 301 at 5:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be provided.

The stacks located on the fourth floor of the Schurz Library. PHOTO BY/ CHRISTINA CLARK

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