Decorated war veteran and author of The Long Walk
Photo credit: Joey Campagna
About Brian Castner
Brian Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the US Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006. His memoir The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows is the story of his struggle to survive modern combat in Iraq and his personal tale of confronting the new person he had become upon returning to his family. Castner astonishes audiences with his powerful and harrowing story of the terror, excitement, and camaraderie of combat, and the lonely battle against the unshakable fear, anxiety, and survivor guilt that he—like so many veterans—carries inside.
After leaving the active military, Brian Castner became a consultant and contractor, training Army and Marine Corps units prior to their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. His writing has appeared in a number of national and regional publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Foreign Policy,Publishers Weekly, and Garry Trudeau’s The Sandbox, an online forum for dispatches by Iraq and Afghanistan service members. He is set to release his next book, Disappointment River, a travel memoir and historical account of Castner’s retracing of Alexander Mackenzie’s 1789 journey in search of the Northwest Passage.
The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows
Castner tells a powerful and harrowing story of the terror, excitement, and camaraderie of combat, and the lonely battle against the unshakeable fear, anxiety, and survivor guilt that he—like so many veterans—carries inside.
Returning Veterans and the Civilian/Military Divide
As our wars are fought by an ever-smaller percentage of Americans, and as military bases are consolidated into fewer parts of the country, the average citizen has grown disconnected from the military. Castner discusses how this affects veterans returning to college classrooms, impacts hiring and healthcare, and how we will ultimately heal this rift.
Why Do Warriors Tell Stories, What Is Their History, and What Makes a "True" War Story?
Soldiers have told each other stories for thousands of years for roughly the same reasons: to teach, to laugh, to warn. Why are stories so important to the warrior, what makes one true, and will we ever heed the warnings?Categories: Military + War Speakers
Praise for Brian Castner
Praise for Disappointment River
[Castner] provides a lively biography of Mackenzie… A vital addition to the library of the far north and of exploration.— Kirkus, starred review
Praise for The Long Walk
The Long Walk brings home in a visceral way the hidden, personal burden of war that many veterans continue to carry.— The Boston Globe
Direct and disturbing...A painful but compelling read, even as Castner finds ways to cope, at least partially, with his long walk back at home.— NPR
Books by Brian Castner
Media About Brian Castner
- 212 572-2013
- Brian Castner travels from Buffalo, NY
“Whether recounting the historic search for the Northwest Passage or his own epic journey on the Mackenzie River, Castner is an able guide, a steady hand, a voice of reason. You’ll want to sit in his canoe and ride this out. I couldn’t put Disappointment River down.”
—Dean King, author of Skeletons on the Zahara and The Feud