Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust : A Memoir

3.72 (353 ratings by Goodreads)
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Tim O'Brien meets Annie Dillard in this remarkable memoir by debut author Benjamin Busch. Much more than a war memoir, Dust to Dust brilliantly explores the passage through a lifetime-a moving meditation on life and death, the adventures of childhood and revelations of adulthood. Seemingly ordinary things take on a breathtaking radiance when examined by this decorated Marine officer-veteran of two combat tours in Iraq-actor on the hit HBO series The Wire, and son of acclaimed novelist Frederick Busch. Above all, Benjamin Busch is a truly extraordinary new literary talent as evidenced by his exemplary debut, Dust to Dust-an original, emotionally powerful, and surprisingly refreshing take on an American soldier's story.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 134.62 x 198.12 x 22.86mm | 226.8g
  • Ecco Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0062014854
  • 9780062014856
  • 887,275

Back cover copy

Dust to Dust is an extraordinary memoir about life and landscape, mortality and memory, the farm and the battlefield, the adventures of childhood and the revelations of adulthood. Writing with enormous poignancy, Benjamin Busch, a decorated U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer and the son of celebrated novelist Frederick Busch, has crafted a lasting book about our place in time to stand with the finest work of Tim O'Brien or Annie Dillard.

From his pastoral childhood in rural New York to Marine training in North Carolina, Ukraine, and California; from a boyhood of fort building and exploration to deployment during the worst of the war in Iraq, in Dust to Dust Busch offers much more than a war memoir. Here is an unforgettable meditation on life and loss, the longing for the elemental and the call of the wild, and how the curious children we were remain alive in us all.
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Review quote

"Beautifully told. . . . There is not one bad sentence in this book. . . . I cannot wait to see what [Busch] writes next." -- Library Journal (starred review) "Extraordinary. . . . It is impossible to read any part of this work and not be moved. . . . [Dust to Dust] is one to be savored. Don't fail to read it." -- New York Journal of Books "[Busch's] portrayal of the war in Iraq is unsentimental and immediate." -- New Yorker "Essential Iraq War reading. . . . The conflict between Busch's pacifist upbringing and his evolution into a decorated Marine rests at the heart of this fine memoir." -- Men's Journal "Beautifully written. . . . Captivating. . . . It's fascinating to journey through [these] literary landscapes as time passes, swirls back, and eddies like a stream before flowing away." -- Seattle Times "A beautiful and powerful meditation on combat, profound loss, and mortality." -- Newark Star Ledger "An invigorating and moving take on the war memoir." -- Wisconsin State Journal "Busch writes with eloquence about his tours of combat in Iraq, and seamlessly blends the human and natural characteristics of war." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune "Intriguing. . . . A worthwhile read." -- Buffalo News "Dust to Dust is not a typical contemporary war memoir. . . . It partakes of the pastoral strain associated with World War I trench-poets like Edmund Blunden and Edward Thomas." -- New York Times Book Review "[A] must-read memoir." -- Details "A remarkable book-part military memoir, part childhood reminiscence. . . . Busch is filled with complicated and fascinating contradictions." -- Salon.com "A beautiful meditation on war, loss, and the larger questions of life and death." -- Huffington Post "[Busch] writes with the precision of a stonemason, the courage of a combat veteran, and the inquisitiveness of an artist. . . . A haunting meditation on time, memory, and death." -- Baltimore City Paper "Busch carries us on a haunting, humorous, and poignant journey." -- Publishers Weekly "Dust to Dust is startlingly good." -- The SunBreak "A meditation on the literal and figurative borders of life-country to country, river to lake, soil to dust, wood to ash, life to death, blood to bones, child to man-[that] explores the wonders of the natural world and our solitary lives within it." -- Hour Detroit magazine "Elegiac, funny, wistful, deep, and wonderfully human, Dust to Dust moved me to laughter and tears, sometimes simultaneously. . . . After reading this book, you will want to go outside and really look at our world." -- Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War "Dust to Dust is a wonderful book, original in concept and stunningly written, a soldier's memoir that is about soldiering and much else besides. The last two dozen pages are a tour de force, a breathtaking meditation on loss and remembrance, dust to dust." -- Ward Just "Busch is a brilliant prose stylist for whom every pause counts, a man of three worlds-the heart, the mind, the earth. Dust to Dust is a stunning literary work about this mysterious trinity, and a return to home." -- Doug Stanton, bestselling author of Horse Soldiers and In Harm's Way "This brave soldier with his singular sensibility . . . builds us a fort we're loath to leave." -- Mary Karr, author of The Liars' Club, Cherry, and Lit "Busch is a poet with the soul of a civil engineer, and for as long as his body sustains him, he is the perfect soldier. I loved every page of this mesmerizing book." -- Bonnie Jo Campbell, bestselling author of Once Upon a River "An imaginative, original meditation on mortality that reaches beyond the particulars of the Iraq war and the present day to grasp the universal. It is a literary gem." -- Philip Caputo, author of A Rumor of War
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About Benjamin Busch

Benjamin Busch is a United States Marine Corps infantry officer, photographer, film director, and actor whose many roles have included Officer Anthony Colicchio on the HBO series The Wire. His writing has been featured in Harper's and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He has also appeared as a guest commentator on NPR's All Things Considered. He lives on a farm in Michigan with his wife and two daughters.
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Rating details

353 ratings
3.72 out of 5 stars
5 27% (96)
4 33% (116)
3 27% (95)
2 11% (39)
1 2% (7)
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