It Happened on the Way to War - Rye Barcott

Searing, honest, and disarming, It Happened on the Way to War is an ax for the frozen sea of the heart.” –Chris Chivers, BBC Broadcaster

"Fast-paced yet nuanced, honest, and profound, It Happened on the Way to War is an ideal selection for university summer reading lists." -Molly Corbett Broad, President, American Council on Education

“Gritty, powerful and profound.”
– Lisa Mullins, Chief Anchor, Public Radio International’s “The World”

“A must read, this is the unbelievable story of the successful launch of what is now a well-known, highly effective, civil society organization located in the heart of the world’s largest slum.  This organization, CFK, is fully committed to bottom-up, participatory development—the only approach that really works in building justice and human rights for the globe’s most marginalized people.  That this work was done in Nairobi by an undergraduate American student at the same time as he was entering and serving in the United States Marines, shaping his character as he confronted the issues of war, peace, service and social change gives the book its particular drama and poignancy.  We all cry for more bold vision, for more respect for the other, for more Rye Barcotts.”– Ruth W. Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service

Barcott writes about mobilizing teams of ‘doers,’ and whether you are a college student or a CEO, this book will teach you important lessons about leadership.” – Jeffrey Swartz, CEO, Timberland

“Beautifully written. A magnificent example that the pen is truly mightier than the sword. – Michael Holman Former Financial Times Africa Editor and author of LAST ORDERS AT HARRODS

“Rye Barcott is one of those rare people who can bridge the widest divides. This book is a gift. It isn’t just about war or development or Africa or the Marines — it’s about our common humanity and the power of one committed person to mobilize others and make a difference. It’s a heartwarming story, and I finished it with amazement–and even a sense of peace.”– Nathaniel Fick, author of ONE BULLET AWAY

It Happened on the Way to War is an incredible story of a young man who simultaneously answered the call to war and the call to humanity. Readers will be touched by Rye Barcott’s idealism, sincerity, and accomplishments.–Lt.Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (Ret.), author of THE GENERAL’S WAR and COBRA II

“Rye Barcott is a role model of authentic leadership in action.  His leadership is the way of the future, whether in the private, public, or nonprofit sectors, or working collaboratively with multiple sectors to solve the world’s greatest problems.” Bill George, author of TRUE NORTH and professor of management practice, Harvard Business School

“This book is a fascinating story of the reconciliation of the irreconcilable – the melding of the dispassionate warrior mentality with that of the compassionate citizen seeking a better humanity through sustainable self-improvement.  Barcott’s journey takes us from the halls of academia to one of the worst slums in Africa to war in the Middle East and back again.  It is a story of people with emotions bared and deficiencies highlighted, including Rye’s own.  In short, it is a story of humanity at its best and its worst, and it is especially suitable for summer reading programs.”– Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Chancellor, The University System of Georgia

“A forceful, yet subtle and utterly compelling book.  I read and thought about every word in it.  Any aspiring entrepreneur would be wise to read this book.”– Wilber James, Co-founder and Managing General Partner, Rockport Capital

“Rye Barcott has captured what I have experienced to be true around the world—that people living in the most unimaginable circumstances can do extraordinary things if given a chance and that we have much to learn from them.  Rye’s personal story and example encourages, challenges and provides hope.”Jonathan T. M. Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International

“Literally the first book I’ve finished in many years.   Truly moving, insightful, and important.”– Tom Darden, CEO, Cherokee Partners

I had never heard of Kibera before I read Rye Barcott’s extraordinary memoir, It Happened On the Way to War. Kibera is the mega-slum of Nairobi, Kenya.  A little over ten years ago, when he was still an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina, Mr. Barcott founded, with his friends Tabitha Atieno Festo and Salim Mohamed, “Carolina for Kibera,” a grass-roots organization that would grow to include sports programs, a medical clinic and a number of other locally mounted and locally maintained initiatives including the periodic (and now famous) “Wars on Garbage.”   Rye and his co-founders started Carolina For Kibera with twenty-six dollars, the same figure as the price of this book.  What CFK has become in the intervening decade (and who Rye Barcott has become) is recounted in this fascinating and deeply personal memoir.  As a Marine captain in Iraq, Bosnia and the Horn of Africa, Rye Barcott still kept up his work in Kibera.  He kept it up while leading Marines in combat in Fallujah, and later, attending graduate school at Harvard and being named to the inaugural class of TED Fellows.  Quite a guy.  It Happened On the Way to War brings echoes of Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father and James Webb’s Fields of Fire in that it introduces us to a new generation of leaders—tested, committed and intellectually resourceful (one thinks also of Nathaniel Fick and Eric Greitens), who will bring, we hope, a kind of muscular compassion to the global problems that have vexed my generation and the president’s so severely.  If our leaders applied the lessons of this book to our foreign policy, we wouldn’t need any more “surges.”  This young Marine captain’s riveting and masterfully-written story demonstrates how much a small group of committed individuals with vision and heart can accomplish, working together in some of the world’s most dangerous trouble spots.  Captain Barcott’s odyssey from Kibera to Fallujah to Harvard and back to Kibera is clearly only prologue to a career that we will hear much more from in the future.  Remember the name Rye Barcott.  And read It Happened On the Way to War.– Steven Pressfield, Author, GATES OF FIRE.