Rye Barcott’s first book, It Happened on the Way to War, chronicled his experience co-founding a non-governmental organization to prevent violence while simultaneously serving as a Marine during combat operations. Time Magazine and the Gates Foundation recognized the organization, Carolina For Kibera, as a model of “participatory development” in conditions of extreme poverty. It Happened on the Way to War has been adopted widely as required reading by universities and high schools. It was named best nonfiction title in 2011 by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, and one of four top nonfiction titles of the year by Reader’s Digest. Bono acclaimed it as a “wild ride,” and Tim O’Brien called it an “emboldening manifesto.”
Barcott’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, and Washington Post. He is a TED Fellow and motivational speaker with American Program Bureau. In 2012, President Obama appointed Barcott as a representative of the veteran community to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
Praise for It Happened on the Way to War
“[The book] is detailed, vivid, earnest, and remarkable in rendering with equal intensity his interactions with poor children in Nairobi and his experiences at OCS or on patrol in Fallujah.” – James Fallows, The Atlantic
“It Happened On The Way To War is a heart-warming tale, told with both passion and candor. I think it should be required reading for two communities that are often hostile to each other: the NGO world and soldiers. Too often, NGO types see soldiers as thoughtless killers, and soldiers see the NGO community as pie-in-the-sky dreamers.” – Bobby Ghosh, Time Magazine
The New York Times Op-Ed piece: The Rugged Altruists, David Brooks, August 22, 2011
The New York Times: Nicholas Kristof's On The Ground blog: When It Comes to Helping Others, Just Do It, May 18, 2011