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