About Me

I am a 23-year-old journalist who covers U.S. foreign relations, national security, class & race, and the media. My articles have been published in The Nation, Grayzone Project, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Huffington Post, In These Times, Common Dreams, and The Fordham Observer. See a list of my work here. I am on Twitter at @GunarOlsen.

I was an editorial intern at The Nation magazine in 2017 and at Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting in 2015. I graduated from Fordham University in May 2017 with a B.A. in political science. I studied Arabic in Amman, Jordan, during the spring 2016 semester.

At Fordham, I completed a not-yet-published thesis, Democrats Get to Kill People, Too: The Weaponization of Law and Human Rights in Obama’s Drone Wars. My advisor for this project was Christopher Dietrich, professor of the history of U.S. foreign relations.

What I’ve been reading (last updated October 2018):

Roham Alvandi, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Nick Cullather, The Hungry World: America’s Cold War Battle against Poverty in South Asia (Harvard University Press, 2010)

Tanisha Fazal, Wars of Law: Unintended Consequences in the Regulation of Armed Conflict (Cornell University Press, 2018)

Elisabeth Leake, The Defiant Border: The Afghan-Pakistan Borderlands in the Era of Decolonization, 1936-1965 (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Isa Blumi, Destroying Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us About the World (UC Press, 2018)

Samuel Moyn, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2018)

Steve Coll, Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Penguin Press, 2018)

Asad Haider, Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump (Verso, 2018)

Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge University Press, 2005)

Vladislav Zubok, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (University of North Carolina Press, 2007)

John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (Penguin Press, 2005)

William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (1959)

Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (Yale University Press/I.B. Taurus, 2000)

Jane McAlevey, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Brian Cook, The Second Chair Is Meant for You (self-published, 2014)

Nikhil Pal Singh, Race and America’s Long War (University of California Press, 2017)

George Crile, Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003)

Alfred McCoy, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Haymarket/Dispatch, 2017)

Alex Vitale, The End of Policing (Verso, 2017)

Sarah Schulman, Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016)

Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (Penguin Press, 2004)

James Forman Jr., Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017)

Chris Dietrich, Oil Revolution: Anticolonial Elites, Sovereign Rights, and the Economic Culture of Decolonization (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Greg Grandin, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman (Metropolitan Books, 2015)

Matt Karp, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy (Harvard University Press, 2016)

Chris Woods, Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Lloyd C. Gardner, Killing Machine: The American Presidency in the Age of Drone Warfare (The New Press, 2013)

Daniel Klaidman, Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)

Charlie Savage, Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency (Little, Brown and Co., 2015)

Jameel Jaffer, The Drone Memos: Targeted Killing, Secrecy, and the Law (The New Press, 2016)

Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (Farrar & Rinehart, 1944)

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone (Vintage Books, 2006)

Andrew J. Bacevich, America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History (Random House, 2016)

James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (Viking, 2004)

Jonathan M. Katz, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster (2013)

John David Skrentny, The Ironies of Affirmative Action: Politics, Culture, and Justice in America (University of Chicago Press, 1996)

Christian G. Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (Viking, 2015)

Adam Rapp, The Year of Endless Sorrows (2006)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Haymarket, 2016)

Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War (Pluto Press, 2016)

Anand Gopal, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War through Afghan Eyes (Metropolitan Books, 2014)

Mychal Denzel Smith, Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education (Nation Books, 2016)

Karen Greenberg, Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State (Crown, 2016)

Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin (Oxford University Press, 2011)

Molly Crabapple, Drawing Blood (2015)

Louis A. Decaro, Jr., On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X (1996)

Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley (1965)

Michael Eric Dyson, I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. (2000)

Clayborne Carson, edited, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1998)

Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, 2015)

Max Blumenthal, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza (Nation Books, 2015)

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary (2015)

Nick Turse, Tomorrow’s Battlefiled: U.S. Proxy War and Secret Ops in Africa (Haymarket, 2015)

Joan Didion, The White Album (1979)

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2010)

Maya Schenwar, Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better (Berrett-Koehler, 2014)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (Anchor, 2013)

Patrick Cockburn, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Verso, 2015)

Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Metropolitan Books, 2014)

Max Blumenthal, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (Nation Books, 2013)

Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield (Nation Books, 2013)

(Photo: Hana Saori Keiningham)

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