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How do you define freedom? It’s a word that resonates differently, depending on who you ask. For some, freedom is about the autonomy to move, speak, and think however one pleases; for others, the word conjures images of battle, survival, and a fight for safety. Some view freedom as synonymous with independence. As simple as it might seem, there’s no universal definition of freedom — or at least no quick, easy path to agreeing on one.
Journalist Sebastian Junger chronicles an experiment in both personal autonomy and interdependence in his latest book, Freedom. Junger and three friends — a conflict photographer and two Afghan War veterans — trek 400 miles on foot along railroad lines from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh. Along the way, they evade railroad cops, sleep under bridges, cook over fires, and explore what it means to exist alongside and with each other. Junger weaves his account of their journey together with contemplations on everything from labor strikes to Native American history, revealing a new framework for the many-layered definitions of freedom.
Sebastian Junger is the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Storm, Fire, A Death in Belmont, War, and Tribe. As an award-winning journalist, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and a special correspondent at ABC News, he has covered major international news stories around the world and has received both a National Magazine Award and a Peabody Award. Junger is also a documentary filmmaker whose debut film Restrepo (co-directed with Tim Hetherington) was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
Bill Radke is the host of The Record and Week In Review on KUOW. He has been a host on American Public Media’s Weekend America and Marketplace Morning Report and is the creator of past show Rewind, a news-satire show heard on KUOW and nationwide on NPR.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.