Bio & Bylines

0012Brian Castner is a nonfiction writer, former Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, and veteran of the Iraq War. His most recent book is Disappointment River, which was named a Best Book for 2018 by Amazon. He is also the bestselling author of All the Ways We Kill and Die and the war memoir The Long Walk, which was adapted into an opera and named a New York Times Editor’s Pick. His journalism and essays have appeared in the New York Times, WIRED, Esquire, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and on National Public Radio. He is the co-editor of The Road Ahead, a collection of short stories featuring veteran writers, and has twice received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, to cover the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014, and to paddle the 1200 mile Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean in 2016. In March 2018 he joined Amnesty International as a Senior Crisis Advisor.


“Castner writes in the tradition of Orwell and Kapuscinski.” – Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya, author of The Watch

“Reading the book, I just kept thinking that you not only had one of the most nerve-wracking jobs imaginable…but it’s also the most gruesome job…. You need nerves of steel to do that kind of work.” – Terry Gross, on The Long Walk – Fresh Air interview


– revisiting an explorer’s northwest passage – Atlas Obscura – 3/13/18
– The weapons of ISIS – Wired – 12/12/17
– The Fight of His life – Esquire – 8/16/17
– Lost: Decades later, can a Navy Pilot Find His Father’s Downed airplane  – Boston Globe Magazine – 3/26/17
a disappearing home in a warming world the atlantic – 10/12/16
The $20 Billion Pipeline That Will Haunt Canada Forever – VICE Motherboard – 10/9/16
blowing up the glass ceiling: America’s first female bomb technician – buzzfeed – 6/30/16
One Degree of Separation in the Forever WarVICE Motherboard – 11/11/15
– The Changing Face of Battlefield Medicine – VICE Motherboard – 9/15/15
On Reading Graham Greene in Liberia in a Time of EbolaLos Angeles Review of Books – 2/20/15
Hearts, Minds and Ebola: The US Army Drops in on LiberiaVICE News – 2/13/15
 – Afghanistan: A Stage Without a Play – Los Angeles Review of Books – 10/2/14
How a Thumb-Sized Gauge is Revolutionizing Traumatic Brain Injuries – The Daily Beast – 3/23/14
The Inside Story of the Boston Bomb Squad’s Defining Day – Wired – 10/25/13

Bomb Squad Stories

– Bethlehem revisited – River Teeth – 4/6/17
– Still fighting, and dying, in the Forever War – New York Times – 3/9/17
Having an Opera Made of Your LifeLitHub – 6/23/15
Remember the Living – The Daily Beast – 5/26/13
The Cost of Our War, Name by Name – Wall Street Journal – 7/9/12

Dispatches from the arctic

– The northwest passage that might have been – New York Times – 3/10/18
– The Warmest Beach in Canada – VICE Motherboard – 9/16/16
Making Solar Energy Where the Sun Doesn’t Set – VICE Motherboard – 9/15/16
The Best Place in the World to Set a Forest Fire – VICE Motherboard -9/14/16
Silt Built This Town, and Melting Ice Will Eventually Destroy It – VICE Motherboard – 9/13/16
Why I Canoed to the Arctic Circle to Report on Climate Change – VICE Motherboard – 9/12/16

Military & Veterans Issues

– trump and tribalism – New York Times – 11/13/2018
What’s it like to fight a war? or be black in America? – newsweek – 6/4/2016
the hard lessons the world haS learned from terror – Time – 3/23/16
Who are we fighting?Boston Globe – 2/27/16
“Ashley’s War” – A Look at the Use of Cultural Support Teams in Afghanistan – Foreign Policy – 4/21/15
REMFs Lead the Way! – Foreign Policy – 10/3/14
What the Islamic State Learned From the US About Fighting a War – The Washington Post – 8/26/14
Op-Ed – Torn Between Competing Perspectives on Iraq – The New York Times – 6/17/14
Who Should Kill? Looking for Answers in Erik Prince’s Memoir – The Daily Beast – 11/22/13
Building a Bridge From Combat to Civilian Life – The New York Times – 8/28/13
Op-Ed: Bridging the Gap Between Civilians and the Military – San Jose Mercury News – 4/28/13
In Defense of a Good Guy With a Gun – The Daily Beast – 4/27/13
War and Healing at Silicon Valley Art Gallery – The New York Times – 3/12/13
Moving Back East, Heading Back Home – Newsweek – 3/25/07

Adventure and the Outdoors

– How to Rescue a Cruise Ship in the Northwest Passage – VICE Motherboard – 10/24/17
– the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks – Atlas Obscura – 10/20/17
Three days in the santanonis – Adirondack Life – Summer 2016
After DeliveranceSaranac Review – 2014
BASE Jumpers Aren’t (All) Crazy – Outside Magazine – 7/30/14
Four Days on the Saranacs – Adirondack Explorer – 8/20/12

Ebola & Liberia Stories

The American Warlord Guilty of Torture – The Daily Beast – 4/7/15
An Empty, Underused Medical Outpost Could Be the Future of the Ebola Fight Foreign Policy – 1/28/15
Progress in Liberia: Schools Shuttered by Ebola Set to Reopen – VICE News – 1/18/15
“We are Fighting an Enemy, and the Enemy is Ebola” – Foreign Policy – 1/14/15
Giving Up the DeadVICE News – 1/14/15
Inside the US Army’s Ebola Lab in Liberia – VICE Motherboard – 1/13/15
Let This Ebola End: Liberians Prepare for 2015 with Parties and Prayer – VICE News – 1/5/15
– Pulitzer Center – Field Notes: West Point, Daily Talk, Helo Email, Music from Bethel Heart of Faith Church
– Pulitzer Center – Untold Stories: Teaching the Healthcare Workers of Liberia

Book Reviews and Author Interviews

– spineless – National Public Radio – 11/7/17
– brave deeds – Washington Post – 8/10/17
– no Man’s Land – National Public Radio – 1/24/17
The Sexiest Memoir of the YearThe Daily Beast – 12/5/15
Storyteller as Plumber: An Interview with Kevin Kling – The Public – 11/4/15
Hipsters Go to WarThe Public 5/13/15
A Christmas Far From Home – Washington Independent Review of Books – 12/5/14
This Week’s Must Read: A Book on Iraq’s Nightmarish Reality – NPR All Thing’s Considered – 10/26/14
Fiction Honed in a Combat Zone: Michael Pitre’s “Fives & Twenty-Fives” – The Daily Beast 8/25/14
The Profanity of War: Phil Klay’s “Redeployment” – The Daily Beast – 3/1/14
Between Boredom and Terror: One Soldier’s Letters from Afghanistan – The Daily Beast – 2/6/14
Review of “Fire & Forget” – Foreign Policy – 10/8/12
Review of “The Yellow Birds” – Foreign Policy – 10/12/12
I Wish My Book Wasn’t a Memoir – Publisher’s Weekly – 7/6/12


Down There, or Goodbye to my Long Regrets – ZOUCH Magazine – 9/11