Worth Fighting For

An Army Ranger's Journey Out of the Military and Across America

Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire was covered up just days before his comrade Rory Fanning—who served in the same unit as Tillman—left the Army Rangers as a conscientious objector. Disquieted by his tours in Afghanistan, Fanning sets out to honor Tillman's legacy by crossing the United States on foot.

Told with page-turning style, humor, and warmth, Worth Fighting For explores the emotional and social consequences of rejecting the mission of one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. It is only through the generous, and colorful people Fanning meets and the history he discovers that he learns to live again.

About the author

Rory Fanning walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008–2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. He is a war resister, military counter recruiter, and writer living in Chicago, Illinois. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Nation, Mother Jones, Salon, Truthout, TruthDig, TomDispatch, Jacobin, Socialist Worker and others. He speaks at high schools and universities about his walk across the US and his experience in the military.

Reviews

"You set out on foot to find things that can be found no other way: your country, yourself, your sense of direction in the most practical and metaphysical selves. In this book Rory Fanning, a young soldier back from the wars, shares the results of his odyssey with those of us who have not walked 3000 miles through wild places and rough weather. His encounters with Americans who might be described as ordinary but are often extraordinary and with himself and the places and their historical backstories make great reading (and maybe most of us are on some version of this quest, whether we know it or not)."
—Rebecca Solnit, author of Wanderlust: A History of Walking

"Rory Fanning's odyssey is more than a walk across America. It is a gripping story of one young man's intellectual journey from eager soldier to skeptical radical, a look at not only the physical immenseness of the country, its small towns, and highways, but into the enormity of its past, the hidden sins and unredeemed failings of the United States. The reader is there along with Rory, walking every step, as challenging and rewarding experience for us as it was for him."
—Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times

"[Fanning] shows us the imperial and harmful objective of U.S. foreign policy. He shows us the courage to walk away from it, and he shows us a path to a saner society."
Chicago Tribune

"A profoundly moving memoir about [Rory Fanning's] trek across the United States to raise money for the Pat Tillman Foundation, but more importantly it is a thoughtful, historically literate and often hilarious account of Fanning’s effort to forge a new relationship with a country he worried he had betrayed and had been betrayed by: disturbed by what he saw in Afghanistan....I can't recommend this book highly enough."
The Nation

"A compelling read from beginning to end, it is all the more impressive to note that Worth Fighting For is author Rory Fanning's debut book.... Readers will hope that it is not his last. [Rory's] an exceptional literarily talent writing about an exceptionally important (and timely) issue of national importance as well as personal relevance. Worth Fighting For is a unique and very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections."
Midwest Book Review

"Fanning combines memoir, travelogue, political tract, and history lesson in this engaging account of his 3,000-mile solo walk from Virginia to California to raise money for the Pat Tillman Foundation....Fanning’s descriptions of the hardships and highlights of the trip comprise the bulk of the book, and he infuses his left-wing politics into a narrative peppered with historical tidbits, most of which describe less-than-honorable moments in American history, such as the terrorist actions of the Ku Klux Klan and the nation’s Indian removal policies. What stands out most, though, is the selflessness and generosity—which come in the form of stories, hospitality, and donations for the foundation—of the people Fanning encountered during his journey."
Publishers Weekly

"Blending a story of the road in the tradition of Kerouac with some politics and his search for meaning to a life after battle, Rory Fanning has composed an absorbing narrative. The writing is concise and heartfelt. The experiences he shares reveal something too many of us often forget—that the men and women in the imperial military are more than just uniforms and weapons; more than pawns to be used by a power structure that needs war to survive; and much more than so many uniforms to be manipulated by the media at sporting events and TV specials serving that power structure. The politics are subtle and personal; and ultimately an indictment of that power structure by a man who served it willingly and with conviction—until he came up against its ugly truth."
CounterPunch

"Partly an evocation of 'the bloody birth of the nation I now walked through' and its often troubled history, part memoir of the author's transformation from conservative Christian soldier to radical atheist and pacifist, part indictment of a foreign policy in which 'Iraq felt like a bait-and-switch—and a betrayal.' But mostly it's about the people he met in the small towns he visited and the encouragement they gave him."
Kirkus Reviews

"Rory Fanning's transformation from soldier to peace pilgrim is a moving tale told with passion and eloquence. Long after the shooting stops, the soldiers who fight our wars are too often left to fight their personal battles alone. Fanning transforms his disillusionment with war and the military and strikes out for the country on a timeless journey of discovery. As he he traverses America on foot, he finds the radical heartbeat of a nation and builds bridges to people and places that have been left behind. This is a searing, honest, and ultimately hopeful tale of traveling a road from war to peace and justice."
—David Goodman, co-author, Standing Up to the Madness

"I recommend [this] book enthusiastically...a tale told with wisdom, erudition, kindness, humor, humility, and generosity of which I think Tillman might have been proud."
—David Swanson, author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union

"[Rory Fanning] walks coast to coast to serve a cause, to find himself, and to imagine a better America fit for all the good people he meets along the way and all the good soldiers lost. His hard journey changes him, and it may change you too."
—Ann Jones, author of They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars

"Worth Fighting For takes us on a journey that will live inside you long after you finish the book. It is not only the physical journey that you make with Fanning as he walks across the country, but it's the psychological, political and spiritual journey that you accompany him on as well, as he makes sense of his experience in the U.S. military through the lens of the incredible people and history he interacts with on his trek from the Atlantic to the Pacific. With each step and every page, we experience the evolving clarity of Fanning's politics, worldview, and purpose in life."
—Jen Marlowe, author, I Am Troy Davis and The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian's Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker

"More than anything, Worth Fighting For is about human beings' capacity for change--the way that Pat Tillman's story changes the people who hear it, the way that those people and their experiences transform the author as he gets closer to the Pacific, the ways that this book will impact the people who read it."
Socialist Worker

Resources

Want to host Rory for an event?
Contact: jason@haymarketbooks.org

Hosting Rory on his tour?
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Printable Tour Poster, with space for local event information.

Facebook event image.

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