Ugly Lies The Bone: To Read

Posted on: October 7th, 2015 by Olivia O'Connor

Immerse yourself in the world of Ugly Lies the Bone with our reading list.

Brian Castnebook1r

Written by an officer who served three tours in the Middle East – two of them leading an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Iraq. Castner’s experience abroad (dealing with hands-on IED disarmament) and at home (struggling with the effects of traumatic brain injury and PTSD, which he calls “The Crazy”) points to the changing face of war in the 21st century. IEDs first appeared in combat zones in 2002, and the injuries caused by their explosions (traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and burns) have demanded new advances in the fields of medicine and mental health.


Vanessa M. Gezaribook2

Gezari, a journalist, followed three American civilians sent to Afghanistan in 2008 as one faction of the Pentagon’s Human Terrain System. The HTS, a counterinsurgency effort started in 2006 and shut down in June of 2015, sent social scientists (a group that included academics, anthropologists, and retired military personnel) into combat zones in order to provide military commanders with a greater understanding of the communities they would move through in deployment. The hope was that the cultural knowledge gained through the program would result in better informed military decisions and a resultant decrease in civilian and American deaths. Gezari’s take on the controversial and expensive program (and the civilians that risked – and lost – their lives in it) offers insight into both the country of Afghanistan and the evolution of US military tactics.


“Burning Man”
Jay Kirk

This GQ profile of Army First Lieutenant Sam Brown was, in part, the inspiration for Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone. Brown was severely burned in an IED explosion in his first tour of Afghanistan. Recovering at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Brown was one of the first soldiers to participate in a pioneering Virtual Reality study, which tested the effectiveness of Virtual Realty Therapy on acute pain. The program Brown used, SnowWorld, makes many appearances in Ugly Lies the Bone, as Jess attempts to get through painful physical therapy with the aid of a virtual world.


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Lemmon’s book tracks the women of the US Army’s Cultural Support Teams, female Army, Guard, and Reserve soldiers who joined male Special Operations units in Afghanistan. The female soldiers occupied a unique space in these missions, as they were able to search and question Afghani women in a way that their male counterparts (at least within the bounds of cultural sensitivity) could not. The book is an examination of the changing role of women in the military, particularly relevant in light of an upcoming January 2016 deadline that will allow women into combat positions in Special Ops Forces.

Ugly Lies the Bone begins plays through November 22 at our Black Box Theatre. All tickets to Roundabout Underground are general admission for only $25. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.

Related Categories:
2015-2016 Season, Ugly Lies the Bone

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