The Voices of Conflict

In honor of the first official Veterans’ Voices Month, I’ve updated and expanded the list of War Literature Books here at WLA (see link).

The more I’ve worked to piece together this list from a variety of readers, writers, and educators, the more I’ve come to see the importance of adding as many different voices and insights into the mix as possible. The Voices of Veterans are vital in bridging the civilian-veteran divide, but there are other amazing voices out there as well—voices on the periphery of war who’ve been touched by conflict in one way or another. These voices help shape our understanding of the realities that reverberate across society, providing key insights and reflections necessary for this all-too-important dialogue.

One of the works I’ve added to the list is the haunting and captivating work of the poet, Lauren McClung, whose collection, Between Here and Monkey Mountain, illuminates the realities of growing up as a child in the shadow of a Vietnam Vet father. It’s a reality so many of my generation can relate to, kids like Lauren and me who felt the presence of war all around us.

And then there’s Michael Garriga’s evocative, The Book of Duels, which captures the essence of conflict with a voice that resonates with all the weight of the past and present with an almost biblical tone. The voices he brings to life remind us that at it’s core, war and conflict are born out of single decision wrought with the gravest of consequences.

In her compelling book of short stories, Flashes of War, the civilian writer, Katey Schultz, makes it quite clear that strong, insightful writing on war is not restricted to those who’ve served. Her stories brilliantly capture the personal and societal landscape that is always altered by war both at home and abroad

And there are so many more:  the poetry of Iraqi civilians in Flowers of Flame;  or the disturbing insights about the nature of evil by Jack El-Hai in The Nazi and the Psychiatrist; and the rare find recommended by WLA’s senior editor, Donald Anderson, Fear, by Gabriel Chevallier, a stark reflection on the horrors of war and the failed leadership in WW I in France. It is a book so honest in its assessment and depiction of the war that it was banned throughout France during WW II for fear it would hurt moral.

I’ve added another dozen or more books, as well, many by Veterans, including Outisde the Wire: America Soldiers’ Voices from Afghanistan, edited by Christine Leche, and Brian Turner’s amazing new memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country, who is currently out on a book tour. Brian has supported this project from the start, and I hoped to get him up to Minnesota to help launch the Veterans’ Voice initiative.  So, with the help of the amazing people at Carleton College and the MN Humanities Center, I just received confirmation that he’ll be able to take part. He’ll be reading his work and speaking in concert with the exhibit, Always Lost: A Meditation on War on October 21st. It will take place at the Weitz Center for Creativity in Northfield, MN.

And lastly, I’ll be publishing an interview with, Seth Brady Tucker next month as the first Veteran Writer showcased here. I’ve added his book, Mormon Boy, to the list.

Thanks for reading, sharing your thoughts and helping to keep give this project the momentum it deserves.

Until Next Time,

J.A. Moad II





About J. A. Moad II

J.A. Moad II is a former Air Force C-130 pilot with over 3000 flight hours and 100 combat sorties. He served as an English Professor at the United States Air Force Academy and as a fiction editor for the War, Literature & the Arts Journal (WLA). He writes online essays for WLA and is engaged in a program to make October Veterans' Voices Month across the country. His short stories, poetry and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including winning the 2014 Consequences Magazine Fiction Award. In addition to writing, he has performed on stage at the Library of Congress and The Guthrie Theater as part of the Telling Project - giving a voice to the Veteran experience. He currently resides in Northfield, MN where he flies for Delta Airlines and is editing on a novel about an American military in a not too-distant future.
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3 Responses to The Voices of Conflict

  1. Patrick Lee says:

    I enjoy your blog and look forward to your novel. Love your list–much of it familiar and much new.

    I want to bring my novel “Kickers, a novel of the Secret War” to your attention. It may never earn a spot on your or any other list, but Kirkus gave it good marks–”engrossing novel.” “heartbreakingly believable,” a riveting tale of an American tragedy.”

    “Kickers” is historical fiction, the story of the CIA’s use of surrogates–American smokejumpers and Hmong guerillas–to fight a 13-year war that three US presidents denied ever happened. It is based on interviews of ten smokejumpers who survived the war. Few Americans are aware of the war and the smokejumpers have received no recognition for their service, though ten of them died in the “Secret War.”

    I am a vet (a Navy JAG officer 1963-66) and a former smokejumper. The book was published this year (CreateSpace). It is available on Amazon but their distribution to competing bookstores is virtually non-existent–I accomplish that out of the trunk of my car and a power point presentations at bookstores, libraries, war museums, and McCoy’s Tackle Shop.

    My hope is that you will bring “Kickers” to the attention of your blog audience and that they will like you for that. The book presents its strange war wrapped in a love story.

    Keep on blogging.

    Patrick Lee

  2. Hi James,
    A fine list. Thanks for sharing and including me! Not sure how you got my name but I’m glad you did. My short story “Air Show” in the current issue of 0-Dark-Thirty:
    And I’ve written and entire collection of stories (many already published) about military dependents. Looking for a publisher, et cetera.
    Be well and keep up and Blog on,

  3. Kirby Olson says:

    I wanted to bring to your awareness an article I published on Marianne Moore’s justification of the second world war in a poem she published in the Nation in 1943:

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