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Worth Fighting For
An Army Ranger's Journey Out of the Military and Across America
Former US Army Ranger walks across the US for a fallen comrade and finds his voice as a war resistor.

"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

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.

Rory Fanning walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008–09, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. He is a housing activist living in Chicago, Illinois. Rory works for Haymarket Books and this is his first book.

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

    "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

    "[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 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 ind

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