Local & Independent Author Event: Veterans Day

R.J. Julia fully supports local and independent authors and takes pride in their success. For over 25 years we have presented high-caliber author events and currently hosts more than 300 events each year. It is our pleasure to dedicate this evening to three local authors, each unique in their writing styles and stories. Please support our local writing community and join us for a wonderful evening of story-telling and friendship.

Deployed to Iraq in March 2004 after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, US Marine Michael Zacchea thought he had landed a plum assignment. His team’s mission was to build, train, and lead in combat the first Iraqi Army battalion trained by the US military. Quickly, he realized he was faced with a nearly impossible task.

The Ragged Edge Book CoverWith just two weeks’ training based on outdated and irrelevant materials, no language instruction, and few cultural tips for interacting with his battalion of Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Yazidis, and others, Zacchea arrived at his base in Kirkush to learn his recruits would need beds, boots, uniforms, and equipment. His Iraqi officer counterparts spoke little English. He had little time to transform his troops—mostly poor, uneducated farmers—into a cohesive rifle battalion that would fight a new insurgency erupting across Iraq.

In order to stand up a fighting battalion, Zacchea knew, he would have to understand his men. Unlike other combat Marines in Iraq at the time, he immersed himself in Iraq’s culture: learning its languages, eating its foods, observing its traditions—even being inducted into one of its Sunni tribes. A constant source of both pride and frustration, the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion went on to fight bravely at the Battle of Fallujah against the forces that would eventually form ISIS.

The Ragged Edge is Zacchea’s deeply personal and powerful account of hopeful determination, of brotherhood and betrayal, and of cultural ignorance and misunderstanding. It sheds light on the dangerous pitfalls of training foreign troops to fight murderous insurgents and terrorists, precisely when such wartime collaboration is happening more than at any other time in US history.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Zacc
hea (USMC-ret.) led the Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis of the Iraqi Fifth Battalion and their US advisers. He won two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, and Iraq’s Order of the Lion of Babylon. A veterans’ advocate with VoteVets.org and elsewhere, he has appeared widely as a public speaker; in several documentaries, including Thank You for Your Service (2015); and on NPR and CBS News, among other news outlets. Zacchea is currently director of the UConn Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. He lives in Connecticut. 

Victoria Ventura is a poet at heart trying to join the two major threads of her life, her everyday civilian life and that as the wife and mother of three members of the professional military.

Two States Book CoverWhile she is the widow of a now deceased Vietnam veteran, both her daughter and her son also served as professional military aviators. She worries that the all-volunteer military service has driven traditional family elements apart and both civilian and military families suffer accordingly.

One is reminded of Sybil Stockdale, recently deceased widow of Admiral James B Stockdale, who became a model for military spouses across the armed services, demonstrating that military families often bear as much of a burden as our professional warriors. Read Victoria's poetry, it will take you back to Vietnam and introduce Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflicts from the Middle East.


Generation Of The Damned Book Cover

H. David Brace says of his book,

"My book is my biography as a typical baby boomer born after the second world war. Growing up in the '50s and early '60s were my happy times, which would end with my enlistment in the Marines! My book ends with the political fallout from the war."

Please register for this FREE event here.

Books will be available for purchase at the event.


Event Date: 
Monday, November 6, 2017 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
R.J. Julia Booksellers
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
The Ragged Edge: A US Marine’s Account of Leading the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion Cover Image
ISBN: 9781613738412
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Chicago Review Press - April 1st, 2017

Two Stars: Reflections of a Military Wife and Mother Cover Image
ISBN: 9780998824932
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Watersprings Media House - June 15th, 2017

Generation of the Damned: Baby Boomers and the Vietnam War Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524555184
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Xlibris - November 17th, 2016