Book Club

It Happened on the Way to War is a memoir of a Marine who strives to wage peace while fighting war. This seeming contradiction can generate thoughtful discussions of our individual and collective roles in making communities around the world stronger. We hope this downloadable discussion guide will spark interesting conversation in your book club, home and workplace and help build and strengthen your own community.

In addition to discussing the book, we will hope you will join us in the larger conversation of ways we can continue to foster change in Kibera by becoming part of the Power of 26 at

[ Download the Discussion Questions in PDF format ]


recommend the book

When Rye Barcott sat down to write It Happened on the Way to War, he wrote it with a specific group in mind; students. Emphasizing that you are never too young (or old!) to make a difference in the world, the book chronicles his experience of co-founding an organization while still a college student.

His experiences serve as an excellent example of what students are capable of and wrestle with hard questions about humanitarian and military service. Rye inspires action through his engaging storytelling and provokes discussion around critical issues for our time: poverty, race, stereotypes, military action, and humanitarian aid. The book is a perfect choice for class reading lists and summer reading groups. Want to suggest having the book included in your school's reading materials? Below is a suggested letter that you can send to your school administrator/teacher/professor to provide them with information.

Dear [contact name],

I would like to suggest the inspirational book, It Happened on the Way to War, to become part of our [summer reading list, class curriculum, etc.]. In his memoir, Rye Barcott recounts his experiences of co-founding the non-profit organization Carolina for Kibera while he was a college student, and later as an active duty soldier in the Marine Corps.

The book is a wonderful example of what young people are capable of, proving that you don't have wait in life to make a difference; you can foster change at any age. It's an eye-opening glimpse into the struggles waged by many around the world and the power a community has to confront these issues head on. It is internationally recognized, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu calling it "tremendous," and Mia Farrow remarking that "this fascinating book is likely to change the way you view the world and the impact you can make in it."

I encourage you to learn more about Rye and the book by visiting, and help spread the enthusiasm towards global responsibility by having students, for whom the book was written, read it.

[your name]