Anthony Swofford Examines His Post-Fame Life in Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails

For Immediate Release:
October 31, 2012
Contact: Robert Butler
Anthony Swofford Examines His Post-Fame Life in Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails

(Kansas City, Missouri) - Jarhead, Anthony Swofford's memoir of his experiences as a U.S. Marine sniper in the Gulf War, made him famous and wealthy and spawned a Hollywood movie.

It also nearly killed him. In the years after the book's success Swofford went on a binge of drugs, drink, women, and expensive toys. He lost almost everything and everyone that mattered to him.

Swofford's new memoir, Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails, chronicles how he pulled himself out of his near-deadly slump by reconnecting with his estranged and dying father, a philandering, hard-drinking Vietnam veteran. The two stubborn men took off on a series of RV trips where they frequently butted heads while slowly learning to understand one another.

Swofford discusses his experiences on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Elegantly weaving his family's past with his own life of excess, visits with injured war veterans, and a near-fatal car crash, Swofford studies both his father and himself to make sense of his military service and his subsequent life.

Hailed by USA Today as "gritty, intense, and wrenching," and praised by The New Yorker for its "brisk storytelling, deadpan humor, and appealing swagger," Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails provides some hard lessons about being a man, a veteran, and a father.

Swofford served in a U.S. Marine Corps Surveillance and Target Acquisition/Scout-Sniper platoon during the Gulf War. A one-time student and teacher at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, Harper's, Men's Journal, and The Iowa Review. A Michener-Copernicus Fellowship recipient, he lives in New York.

Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the garage adjacent to the library.

The event is co-sponsored by the Writers at Work Roundtable and the UMKC English Department and organized by Kansas City author Whitney Terrell.

Kansas City Public Library Beta