Peter Van Buren, a 24-year veteran of the State Department, spent a year in Iraq. Following his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, the Department of State began proceedings against him. Through the efforts of the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU, Van Buren instead retired from the State Department on his own terms.
Peter’s commentary has been featured in The New York Times, Reuters, Salon, NPR, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, The Nation, TomDispatch, Antiwar.com, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Japan Times, Asia Times, The Guardian (UK), Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others. He has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, CurrentTV, HuffPo Live, RT, ITV, Britain’s Channel 4 Viewpoint, Dutch Television, CCTV, Voice of America, and more.
His second book, Ghosts of Tom Joad, A Story of the #99Percent (2014) is fiction about the social and economic changes in America between WWII and the decline of the blue collar middle class in the 1980’s.
Van Buren returns with a deeply-researched anti-war novel, Hooper’s War, coming May 2017. Set in WWII Japan, Lieutenant Nate Hooper isn’t sure he’ll survive his war. And if he does make it home, he isn’t sure he can survive the peace. He’s done a terrible thing, and struggles to resolve the mistake he made alongside a Japanese soldier, and a Japanese woman who failed to save both men. At stake? Souls.
With allegorical connections to America’s current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the reverse chronology telling of Hooper’s War (“Fighting over the covers is better than remembering the empty side of the bed,” Hooper says) turns a loss-of-innocence narrative into a complex tale of why that loss is inevitable in societies that go to war. Think Matterhorn and The Things They Carried, crossed with Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse Five.