Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War

Available September 2020

This incendiary work by Daniel Sjursen is a personal cry from the heart by a once-model US Army officer and West Point graduate who became a military dissenter while still on active duty. Set against the backdrop of the terror wars of the last two decades, Sjursen asks whether there is a proper space for patriotism that renounces entitled exceptionalism and narcissistic jingoism. Once a burgeoning believer and budding conservative, Sjursen performed an intellectual and spiritual about-face. He now calls for a critical exploration of our allegiances, and he suggests a path to a new, more complex notion of patriotism. Equal parts unsentimental and idealistic, this is a story about what it means to be an American in the midst of perpetual war, and what the future of patriotism might look like.

Advance Praise

"Sjursen writes in deft, mordant prose about the lost tradition of oppositional patriotism and its intersection with the post–9/11 forever wars. . . . A brisk, approachably radical treatise bolstered by its rueful veteran’s perspective."
Kirkus Reviews

"Daniel Sjursen is the real deal, a combat veteran and survivor of our forever wars who writes like a dream. This is a scathingly honest, no-holds-barred account of one man’s disillusionment. Sjursen knows the perils of battle and understands the dangers of being lied to. His devotion to country is as deep as it is inspiring. This powerful book is a great achievement, rich in pain and moral understanding. Everyone should read it.”
—Robert Scheer, author of How the United States Got Involved in Vietnam, co-founder and editor of Truthdig

Daniel A. Sjursen is a retired US Army Major and contributing editor at His work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Salon, the Nation, TomDispatch, the Huffington Post, and the Hill, among other publications. He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. He cohosts the progressive veterans’ podcast Fortress on a Hill. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet. Sjursen lives in Lawrence, Kansas.