About Me

I am a 23-year-old journalist and writer 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 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 read in 2018:

Salim Yaqub, Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East (UNC Press, 2004)

Osamah Khalil, America’s Dream Palace: Middle East Expertise and the Rise of the National Security State (Harvard University Press, 2016)

Stephen Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 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, 2016)

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

Hannah Gurman, ed., Hearts and Minds: A People’s History of Counterinsurgency (The New Press, 2013)

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 (World Publishing Co., 1959)

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

Sarah Schulman, Rat Bohemia (Dutton, 1995)

What I read in 2017:

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

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)

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

What I read in 2016:

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

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)

Adam Rapp, The Year of Endless Sorrows (2006)

What I read in 2015 and prior:

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)

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