J. Malcolm Garcia

Garcia S14 photo credit to Dave AndersonBook Cover_Low Resolution 
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Book Details
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: University of Missouri
Release date: June 30, 2014
ISBN-10: 0826220215
ISBN-13: 978-0826220219

J. Malcolm Garcia (Chicago, IL)

Award-winning investigative journalist and author of What Wars Leave Behind: The Faceless and the Forgotten


Jason Jones | jason@prbythebook.com | 512-720-2996 | Twitter: @Book_Publicist


  • Award-winning investigative freelance journalist
  • Work has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly ReviewMcSweeney’sMother JonesWest Branch, the Alaska Quarterly Review, and various other publications; select articles have been featured in The Best American Travel Writing and The Best American Nonrequired Reading.
  • Released memoir, The Kharagee: A Chronicle of Friendship and War in Kabul (Beacon Press, 2009) about his work in Afghanistan and Riding Through Katrina with the Red Baron’s Ghost (2012), which chronicles his experiences during the rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
  • New book releases in June 2014
  • Extensive national media experience
  • Has worked as a freelance journalist in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chad, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Honduras, Bolivia and Argentina


  • Telling stories of struggle and conflict that are deeply personal; shares human stories from around the globe
  • The human experience of war, conflict and natural disaster
  • True aftermath of war; post-war reconstruction years after news crews leave and headlines focus attention elsewhere
  • The craft, art, profession of investigative journalism and storytelling
  • Effects of war and extended conflict on a region and its people


They bear labels instead of names—noncombatant, unintended victim, collateral damage. Theirs are the blurred faces and forms seen in news footage shot from a moving vehicle. And when soldiers, media, and profiteers move on to the next conflict, they stay behind to cope amid the wreckage. They have stories to tell to anyone who will pause long enough to hear them.

In What Wars Leave Behind, J. Malcolm Garcia reveals the people and pain behind the statistics. He writes about impoverished families scraping by in Cairo’s city of the dead, ordinary Syrians pretending all is well as shells explode around them, and others caught in conflicts that rage long after the cameramen have packed up and gone away.

Garcia describes his travels in some of the world’s hotspots in Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In a series of personal travel essays that read like short stories, he exposes the endless messiness of war and the failings of good intentions, and he traces their impact on the lives of natives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Kosovo, Chad, and Syria. He discovers amazing resilience among people who must struggle just to survive each day.

Garcia gives readers the sort of gritty detail learned from immersing himself in other cultures. He eats the food, drinks the tea, and endures the oppressive heat. These are the stories of how a middle-class guy from the Midwest with a social work degree learned to experience and embrace the cultures of Third World countries in conflict—and lived to tell the tale.


  • “I don’t know if he’s unheralded, but there’s a writer named J. Malcolm Garcia who continually astounds me with his energy and empathy. He writes powerful and lyrical nonfiction from Afghanistan, from Buenos Aires, from Mississippi, all of it urgent and provocative. I’ve been following him wherever he goes.”—Dave Eggers, author of The Circle and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  • Garcia’s writing “is not only journalism, but literature.”—William Vollmann, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, journalist and novelist
  • “J. Malcolm Garcia is the keeper of forgotten stories. He is an invaluable witness and a compassionate observer of today’s wars.”—Fatima Bhutto, author of Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir

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