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Americans in Ukraine Looking for ‘Daybreak’

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Americans in Ukraine Looking for ‘Daybreak’

Sometimes fiction does a better job of telling the truth than journalism.
A U.S. Marine training in Ukraine in 2021. U.S. Marine Corps photo.

Luke Paxton and Han Lee know a good cause when they see one. When Russia invades Ukraine in 2022, the American vets know what they need to do. Their time in Afghanistan has given them the skills to help fight a war and the moral clarity needed to know when a cause is just.

But are they going to fight in Ukraine for the right reason? Do Ukrainians want them there? And does either matter when bombs are dropping all over the country?

On this episode of Angry Planet, author Matt Gallagher returns to the podcast to talk about his novel Daybreak. It’s the story of Paxton and Lee as they travel to Ukraine to fight. It’s a work of fiction that strikes at deeper emotional truths about the conflict. It’s also pieced together from Gallagher’s own experiences in Ukraine, some of which wouldn’t fit neatly into a work of journalistic non-fiction.

  • What fiction can do that non-fiction can’t.

  • Exploring Lviv’s mystical toy barter alley.

  • The contractually required Joan Didion quote.

  • Why Ukrainians are suspicious of Americans who say “I want to help.”

  • The structure of a Daybreak movie.

  • Recorded 4/23/24

Go here to buy Daybreak.

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Conversations about conflict on an angry planet.