NPR Interview with Jessica Goodell, author if Shade it Black: Death and After in Iraq

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Shade it Black

Jessica Goodell has written a memoir entitled Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq about her duties as a member of the mortuary affairs unit of the Marines. She was inteviewed by Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air. This memoir is intense but highly discussible. With themes of military, women's lives and personal challenges, paired with the NPR interview, this book will surely get your book group talking.

"This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Everybody knows the expression no Marine left behind, but do you ever think about who does the work of retrieving the remains of fallen Marines, identifying the bodies and preparing them to be sent home to their families?

During the war in Iraq, the Marines created their own Mortuary Affairs Unit to do that work. My guest, Jess Goodell, served in the Marines Mortuary Affairs Unit in al-Anbar Province in 2004. She was constantly surrounded by exactly what you can't let yourself obsess on when you're at war: death, bodies mutilated by IEDs.

The work was saddening, sickening, necessary and important. It took a toll on her then and still weighs heavy on her. She has written a new memoir about her work in Mortuary Affairs, her experiences as a woman in the Marines and the difficulty of adjusting to life back home after what she witnessed. It's called "
Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq."


Introduction to "Jessica Goodell on Fresh Air with Terry Gross"

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