Navigating a Year in Iraq

Katherine Schifani

Cartography is the story of Katherine Schifani's experience as a gay woman serving as a counterterrorism advisor in Iraq in 2011, surrounded by strangers and strangeness amid the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
Publication date:
June 2022
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781640124509

Dimensions : 225 X 152 mm
Available for pre-order


• The book is an effort to describe the war as it happened and give voice to the LGBT servicewomen and men whose experiences - particularly at the transitional point in time her memoir describes - have been absent from the cultural conversation
• Schifani was the only woman from 2003 to 2011 to hold the position of head logistics advisor for the Iraqi Special Forces

Cartography describes Katherine Schifani's time deployed in Iraq as a counterterrorism advisor with U.S. Special Forces in 2011. It is the story of one woman mapping the terra incognita of Iraq with questionable interpreters, nonexistent guidance, and an unclear purpose. It's the story of a gay woman serving under the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, who realizes that the policy repeal she has long awaited is so overshadowed by a hostile environment that remaining closeted is more critical than ever.

At the heart of Cartography is Schifani's quest to understand the Iraqi landscape and the Special Forces culture of American men she worked alongside as a gay woman and a member of the air force. Her memoir examines both the perils of being undertrained and underequipped to perform the job assigned to her in her role as an advisor and some of the unique situations - good and bad - her gender created in such an irregular combat environment. Schifani's deployment was an exercise in exploration, observation, and navigating a wholly foreign land.