Writing on War

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Writing on War

  • David Miller

    Is the only good war story an anti-war story? Many of my favorite books about war are books that can be interpreted as anti-war books. Bring your favorite war stories to our discussion in the Bookworm Hangout: http://liberty.me/bookworm-hangout/ at 8 PM ET.

    Soldier silhouette

    WW 1 soldiers on the march.

    Books I’m likely to bring up: The Iliad; The Things They Carried; A Lake in the Woods; Farewell to Arms; and All quiet on the Western Front. Feel free to add to this title list with your own selections.

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    • B.K. Marcus

      I read the Iliad because I thought I really ought to read Homer, and I figured I should know the Iliad before I tackled the Odyssey. I didn’t expect to prefer the war story to the tale of the wanderer. And I never expected for the Iliad to become my favorite book.

      At that point I started reading about Homer and the Homeric works.

      I really enjoyed Caroline Alexander’s book The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer’s Iliad and the Trojan War, which argues that the Iliad is, in fact, an antiwar story. But I love the Iliad even if she’s wrong.

      I mostly prefer war in my nonfiction. Theory, not history. Specifically, I’ve been enjoying reading Bevin Alexander.

      See you at the hangout tonight!

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        Mike Reid

        BK got me into the Iliad. But I found the killing so plentiful that it became dizzying (perhaps that’s what war is really like).

        I also read and enjoyed books 1 and 2 of the Hunger Games. I merely read book 3. Book 3 is where the war is at.
        The author, Suzanne Collins, has explained, “I don’t write about adolescence. I write about war. For adolescents.” Sadly, when she gets directly into the war in book 3, she seemed to lose her footing.

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      B.K. Marcus

      I don’t think this book counts, but Frank got me reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

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        Frank Marcopolos

        Yes, it counts! Artists are warriors fighting the scourge of the blank page/canvas! haha I find Salinger’s WW2 stories amazing, but I’m a huge Salinger fan, so that’s no surprise. Many of them could be considered anti-war. (“For Esme-with Love and Squalor,” being the most famous, of course.)

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      Toni Sopocko

      On my list of books TO READ is, Johnny Got His Gun. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get through it, but I want to try. I understand it’s horrendous.

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