Benjamin Busch

A man who represents an unusual combination of careers will be making one stop in Iowa tonight to promote his debut book. In addition to being an author, Benjamin Busch has acted in several television shows, he’s an acclaimed photographer and filmmaker, plus, he served two combat tours of Iraq as an infantry officer with the U.S. Marines.

It seems the 43-year-old Busch has already succeeded at several careers. “People like to say that but I consider them all interdependent and intertwined,” Busch says. “The Marine Corps has informed my writing and my acting and, in many ways, my disposition, and my art has informed my ability to be in some ways a better, more observant Marine.”

Busch says his endless curiosity and fascination with his surroundings provided a heightened awareness in Iraq to see things others might have missed. Busch is beginning a nationwide tour touting his just-released memoir, called “Dust To Dust.” The Purple Heart recipient says it’s not anything like a typical autobiography.

“It goes against the conventional standard which begins somewhere in youth and travels through a relatively clean narrative arc in chronological order,” he says. “I reorganized it to replicate, in some ways, the way we remember. Each chapter is a scene, an elemental scene that was important to me in my youth.”

Part of his youth was spent in Iowa City. His father, novelist Frederick Busch, was one of the leaders of the University of Iowa’s writers’ workshop in the late 1970s. The younger Busch spent some of his formative years in the eastern Iowa city, though the book is frequently set in his first home.

“Each chapter begins somewhere in my youth, usually in the mid- to late-70s when I was eight to ten years old in a small, rural town in upstate New York, and then progressing along that theme, following that theme like memories often do, to sometime later in my life, and then resetting.”

Busch has played roles on TV shows including, “The Wire,” “The West Wing,” “Homicide” and “Generation Kill.” He’ll be reading passages from his book and taking questions tonight at 7 o’clock at Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City.

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