I was going to title this post "Best War Books" or something like that, but then I realized it would be really, really arrogant to assume that my little slapped-together list actually contained the very best books on a subject that has been so well covered by so many authors. So I only hope to share a few of my favorite books about war with you; I can't promise they are the best.
War is terrible, but it sure inspires some wonderful books.
1. Dispatches by Michael Herr - I've never read a book like this before - it's very stream-of-consciousness and studded with historical and musical allusions (I actually made a playlist out of all the songs and artists that Herr mentions). It's a mash-up of poetry, journalism (Herr was reporting on the Vietnam War), and novel that captures the chaos of war in a way that no standard narrative could.
2. Exodus by Leon Uris - Reading Exodus, which in simplest terms explores the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Jewish persecution, was like deep-sea diving. Completely immersing; dark and terrifying; at times overwhelming. I think most readers emerge from this book with a more understanding view of the modern world.
3. Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien - A collection of short stories about the Vietnam War, born from the ruminations of a veteran.
4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - I've praised this book before and I'll do it again now. It's more reflective than most war stories, probably because it takes place in the wake of a war rather than in the heat of one.
5. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - Hey, just because a war hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean that it can't be the focus of a brilliant war novel. This science-fiction classic, whose companion I have already reviewed, is especially unusual because it focuses on how war affects those responsible for soldiers' lives, rather than its effects on the soldiers themselves.
|Two books from this list, plus a pillow made from |
the shirts of a veteran - my grandpa :)
As I was making this post, I realized that I read lots of books related to war but not many that are traditional war novels - you know, a soldier narrating his experiences in battle. I guess I'll have to read more of those and get back to you all.