Soldiering for America: is it worth it?
Samuel Finlay’s Breakfast with the Dirt Cult (the meaning of the title is not obvious and never explained) is a thinly-veiled autobiographical account, dressed up as fiction, of an enlisted soldier’s experience in the U.S. Army, specifically, in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s. When the idea to review this now nine-year-old book occurred to me, before the United States’s disastrous withdrawal in August, I had thought I would need to make some justifying remarks as to why a book so old—self-published to boot—warranted a review in 2021. It may now seem that, with Afghanistan so spectacularly back in the news, such a justification is no longer needed. But the question of why this book still needs to be answered.
It was sent to me, unsolicited, by the author—about whom little is known—around a year ago with a very kind note. I responded with a note of thanks promising to read it, and then didn’t. The press of business, you know.
But I was aware that the book is popular with the new or alternative or dissident Right, especially among the young and “very online,” as the kids say—the kinds of people who loved Bronze Age Mindset (which I reviewed in these pages in order to shed some light on what the young Right is thinking; “Are the Kids Al(t)right?,” Summer 2019). Breakfast with the Dirt Cult’s continued popularity
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