Snapshots Sent Home From Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine--A Memoir by JT Blatty

SKU: 9781934617816a

US combat veteran and photographer JT Blatty journeyed to Ukraine in 2018 to capture oral history and portraits of Donbas volunteer soldiers. In frontline bunkers and Kyiv flats, her story began to blend with theirs in a universal bond of combat veterans, compelling her to stay as a new war began.


Price: $21.95

Praise for Snapshots Sent Home by JT Blatty

“JT Blatty’s Snapshots Sent Home is a sweeping and illuminating account of what it means to not only fight as a soldier or a civilian combatant but also to document war—to make photographs and record first-person accounts of lives lived on, or in close proximity to, an ever-evolving series of frontlines. … Blatty’s memoir kicks into gear in the weeks following 9/11 with her service in Kandahar, and it never stops as she takes us from Afghanistan to Iraq to the Donbas and Kyiv in Ukraine and back again. Her powerful, engaging narrative travels in and out of time, forward and back, to create an interwoven and kaleidoscopic portrait of her experiences, and those of the people she meets and grows close with along the way. These are lives caught up in the crosshairs of tremendous political and historical shifts—and Blatty shares her and their stories with immediacy, honesty, and depth. She has a gift for conveying a sense of place and people that is usually only arrived at by being there: the men and women who people this book are richly and vividly drawn, like characters in a good novel. As Blatty discovers her purpose, we learn more about what it means for her and her comrades to fight for home and nation, sovereignty and freedom. Snapshots Sent Home is a challenging, revelatory, and important book—one that takes us far beyond, as Blatty writes, the ‘disconnected world [of] reports and skimmed-over news headlines.’ This book is a rare and moving testament to the ties that bind those who experience war and its ongoing, lasting effects.”
—Alexa Dilworth, independent writer and editor; former publishing director and senior editor at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

“Through a series of dispatches, across several frontlines, former US Army officer turned journalist, JT Blatty weaves a wholly unique and timely account of life during wartime on Ukraine’s eastern front. Sometimes humorous, often gut wrenching, lines like ‘I went to take a shower. I stood there … crying and picking pieces of my friends out of my hair’ stay with you. Under the blanket of slow terror that hung across Ukraine leading up to Russia’s invasion, Blatty finds love on the other end of her camera lens, and perhaps, part of herself. Like so many of her fellow veterans who fought in the post-9/11 Bush wars, a crisis of conscience formed when the dust settled. Questions nagged. And much like the American volunteers drawn to the Spanish Civil War, Blatty feels herself pulled into Ukraine. A war without moral ambiguity. A war where the line between good and evil is more clearly drawn.”
—James McGrath, former bureau chief, Gamma Presse

“Blatty’s unparalleled memoir gives readers a glimpse of what it is like to be on the frontline. There’s only the universal truths of war and conflict. The lingering thoughts, memories and moments afterward that stay with you. Snapshots Sent Home captures these moments perfectly for those with an eye on history.”
—Robert P. Ottone, author of The Vile Thing We Created and the Bram Stoker Award-winning novel The Triangle

“… Snapshots Sent Home is an intimate, finely-written memoir about the truths and realities shared by soldiers everywhere. Moving between the author’s experiences in Ukraine, where she lives and works as a photographer, and before that in Iraq and Afghanistan, where she served as a US military officer, Blatty ruminates about the nature of comradeship, patriotism, longing, loss, life and death; memory and love. ‘Butterflies on fire’ is a phrase that makes a debut too, but you will have to read this devastatingly moving book to understand its meaning. Snapshots Sent Home should be read by anyone who cares about what we do on history’s battlefields, and about how we process what we have done afterwards. This is a lot more than a book about snapshots. And JT Blatty is a lot more than a photographer and former soldier. She is a helluva writer too, and I am certain that what she says here will stay on in readers’ minds for a long time to come.”
—Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer, The New Yorker; author of Che Guevara and The Fall of Baghdad

“Vivid, bewildering, and brutally honest, JT Blatty’s Snapshots Sent Home catapults the reader into scenes from her deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan to running emergency supplies on the frontline in Ukraine. Along the way we meet the Ukrainian volunteer soldiers whom she befriended in 2018, and whose lives become inextricably linked with hers. There’s a cinematic quality to her writing that sears these episodes into your memory, and leaves you with a renewed appreciation of our common humanity.”
—Marilyn Terrell, former chief researcher, National Geographic Traveler magazine