David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers, the bestselling profile of the U.S. Army’s Second Battalion, Sixteenth Infantry Regiment during deployment in Iraq, is the 2011 Community Text at American University.
The Community Text is one element of the annual Writer as Witness Colloquium, an initiative of the Department of Literature and the College Writing Program. Every fall, the Literature and Writing faculty select a book with an interdisciplinary scope that encourages readers to think and ask questions and impels discussion among them. Incoming first-year students are required to read The Good Soldiers this summer before beginning their first semester at AU.
In September, David Finkel will speak on campus at the Writer as Witness Colloquium, a day-long “series of presentations, panels and discussions focused on exploring ways of understand and thinking about one book . . . The colloquium aims to bring together a diverse community of readers from across American University.” Students will have the opportunity to talk about the book with peers and faculty, and to ask the author questions, as well.
This text sets in motion a shared experience of intellectual inquiry, prompting conversations that resonate in classes long after the author’s visit.
Students will continue to think, speak, and write about the book in their College Writing courses; The Good Soldiers will be the first assigned reading in every section of this core course.
The Good Soldiers • Picador • 336 pages