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David Chrisinger
David Chrisinger
Executive Director @ Harris Writing Workshop, author of "The Soldier's Truth" and several other books
Public Policy
Where else you can find me
Personal website
Book a 1:1 with David Chrisinger

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Talk soon,

Hi there,

On my mind

Books and articles I'm working on; writing and editing and teaching writing; the intersection conflict, trauma, and the stories we tell about ourselves

Why I'm excited to talk with readers

As an author, I'm more than thrilled to connect with my readers, and I'm eager to delve into discussions about the characters, themes, and stories that have captured your imagination.

All the best,

David Chrisinger

Let's talk! Open to...👇
Freewheeling conversations
Questions about my writing
Questions about your writing
Writing in general
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My latest
My Substack
David Chrisinger
Where I've written

The Soldier's Truth

Ernie Pyle and the Story of World War II

At the height of his fame and influence during World War II, Ernie Pyle’s nationally syndicated dispatches from combat zones shaped America’s understanding of what the war felt like to ordinary soldiers as no writer’s work has before or since. From North Africa to Sicily, from the Apennine’s to Normandy Beach and Paris, and on to the war in the Pacific, where he would meet his end, Ernie Pyle had a genius for making contact with the full gamut of emotions his beloved dogfaced grunts were feeling. A humble man, himself plagued by melancholy and tortured by marriage to a partner whose mental health struggles were much more acute than his own, Pyle was in touch with suffering in a way that left an indelible mark on his readers. While never defeatist, his stories left no doubt as to the heavy weight of the burden soldiers carried. He wrote about post-traumatic stress long before that was a label.

In The Soldier’s Truth, acclaimed writer David Chrisinger brings Pyle’s journey to vivid life in all its heroism and pathos. Gifted with access to all of Pyle’s personal correspondence, his book captures every dramatic turn of Pyle’s war with pungent sensory immediacy and a powerful feel for both the outer and the inner landscape. Chrisinger, whose own background is in helping veterans and other people who have experienced trauma come to terms with their experiences through storytelling, brings enormous reservoirs of empathy and insight to bear on Pyle’s experiences. Woven in and out of his chronicle of Pyle’s wartime life to the very end is the golden thread of his own travels across these same landscapes, searching for the landmarks Pyle wrote about and observing how the war has been remembered, and how it’s been forgotten, on these landscapes, many of them still battle-scarred.

"Chrisinger teases out the exquisite, often painful balancing act Pyle had to perform as a war correspondent . . . An excellent reassessment of a singular American journalist."

― Booklist, (starred review)

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Because Data Can't Speak for Itself

A Practical Guide to Telling Persuasive Policy Stories

Why do some evidence-based ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Because Data Can’t Speak for Itself, accomplished educators and writers David Chrisinger and Lauren Brodsky tackle these questions head-on. They reveal the parts and functions of effective data-driven stories and explain myriad ways to turn your data dump into a narrative that can inform, persuade, and inspire action.

Chrisinger and Brodsky show that convincing data-driven stories draw their power from the same three traits, which they call people, purpose, and persistence. Writers need to find the real people behind the numbers and share their stories. At the same time, they need to remember their own purpose and be honest about what data says—and, just as importantly, what it does not.

Compelling and concise, this fast-paced tour of success stories—and several failures—includes examples on topics such as COVID-19, public diplomacy, and criminal justice. Chrisinger and Brodsky’s easy-to-apply tool kit will turn anyone into an effective and persuasive evidence-based writer. Aimed at policy analysts, politicians, journalists, teachers, and business leaders, Because Data Can’t Speak for Itself will transform the way you communicate ideas.

"Because Data Can’t Speak for Itself offers a joyful romp through the craft of policy writing that will inspire students and policy professionals alike to cut through the ubiquitous noise of the information age and infuse data with meaning, clarity, authenticity, and purpose—so we might see the forest for the trees through the power of story."

― Chad Broughton, author of Boom, Bust, Exodus: The Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities

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Stories Are What Save Us

A Survivor's Guide to Writing about Trauma

In Stories Are What Save Us, Chrisinger shows―through writing exercises, memoir excerpts, and lessons he's learned from his students―the most efficient ways to uncover and effectively communicate what you've learned while fighting your life's battles, whatever they may be. Chrisinger explores both the difficulties inherent in writing about personal trauma and the techniques for doing so in a compelling way. Weaving together his journey as a writer, editor, and teacher, he reveals his own deeply personal story of family trauma and abuse and explains how his life has informed his writing.

Part craft guide, part memoir, and part teacher's handbook, Stories Are What Save Us presents readers with a wide range of craft tools and storytelling structures that Chrisinger and his students have used to process conflict in their own lives, creating beautiful stories of growth and transformation. Throughout, this profoundly moving, laser-focused book exemplifies the very lessons it strives to teach. A foreword by former soldier and memoirist Brian Turner, author of My Life as a Foreign Country, and an afterword by military wife and memoirist Angela Ricketts, author of No Man's War: Irreverent Confessions of an Infantry Wife, bookend the volume.

Guiding readers who are interested in writing about their traumatic experiences, Stories Are What Save Us helps to make such writing and the process that generates it meaningful. Anyone who is looking to make sense of their trauma, particularly military veterans, would be interested in reading this well-conceived book.

― Johanna Thompson-Hollands, Boston University School of Medicine

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