Remembrance Day/Memorial Day

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Remembrance Day/Memorial Day

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Editat: oct. 16, 2015, 1:27pm

Canada's version of this day is Remembrance Day on November 11th, when we recall those who gave their lives for their country.

Who stands out among authors who wrote about war, its soldiers, its victims? I think of Erich Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front among fiction and John Hersey's Hiroshima among non-fiction first, but can probably think of more soon after.

I am presently reading The Wars by Timothy Findley, and have had The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat recommended to me. I read A Farewell to Arms not long ago but didn't find Hemingway's story overly memorable.

oct. 16, 2015, 2:26pm

Blech, nothing about Hemingway is memorable. I think the best thing I've read dealing with war would be Charley's War by Pat Mills & Joe Colquhoun. It was so amazingly done, painting such a clear picture of things, the humor, the horror, the tragedy, just excellent.

Editat: oct. 16, 2015, 2:38pm

The Cruel Sea is a masterpiece. Read it in high school have never forgotten the horror of sailors who lost their lives in the oceans. Another good maritime war story is H.M.S. Ulysses by Alistair MacLean. Short but suspenseful is C. S. Forester's Sink the Bismarck!. And who can forget the thrilling, Run Silent, Run Deep, and from the enemy's standpoint, Das Boot?

Another masterpiece is Sébastien Japrisot's A Very Long Engagement, a superb novel about a crippled French girl's determination to find her lover who is declared dead in WWI. She who refuses to forget. This is one of my all-time favorite books ever written.

While I'm politically to his left, Mark Helprin's A Soldier of the Great War is another superb WWI novel about the Italian front in the Alps. Unputdownable. I appreciate the straightforward writing style in this one; he really pulls off mise-en-scène.

The End of War is a sprawling saga told from many p.o.v.s, from all sides, civilian and military, and from historical figures about the rush to take Berlin at the end of WWII. An eye-opener that I read a couple years ago and am more than willing to read again.

Barbara Tuchman wrote a great history of Stilwell and the American Experience in China 1911-45. Shouldn't be missed, even though it deals with a long peacetime stretch and more politics than actual warfare. Still in the Pacific Theater and a powerful read is Lonely Vigil: Coastwatchers of the Solomons.

Of course, there are so many other classic stories by Mailer, James Jones, Wouk, Joseph Heller, and Evelyn Waugh. And there are many wonderful literary novels about non-soldiers impacted by the war, and possibly the most brutal of all war stories -- those of POWs and prisoners of concentration camps.

oct. 16, 2015, 2:38pm

The first one to come to mind in What It is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes. The author fought in Vietnam, and that is the war that most affected my life. The book is not so much a war story, although there is that, as it is a look at warriors, how they are trained, what needs to be done differently, the soul of war.

For a more traditional story, there is the brutal Tears in the Darkness by Michael Norman. And of course, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

oct. 16, 2015, 3:14pm

>3 Limelite:, hurrah, A Soldier of the Great War is another one I've got waiting on the shelf at home.

Editat: gen. 26, 2016, 12:53pm

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oct. 19, 2015, 1:35pm

I'm not a great fan of war literature, but I did like Jaroslav Hasek's take on the absurdity of military life in The Good Soldier Svejk. Slaughterhouse 5 would be an obvious choice and Primo Levi's If This Is a Man and The Truce.

There are a couple of war poems I particularly like - strangely, not WWI but WWII. They're both by Keith Douglas, who I believe was a tank commander killed in action.

oct. 20, 2015, 10:27am

An interesting war read from WWII is the second person, present Beach Red. I find most gimmicky POVs to be distracting and off putting, but this one, like Grendel to be interesting. The fact that it's short helps, too.

Editat: oct. 22, 2015, 2:59pm

I'm not much for war stories, and the closest I've come in many a year is A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. It is a book that I truly loved.

On Remembrance Day (I'm Canadian as well), I read WWI poetry. My favourites are by Rupert Brooke, Wilfrid Owen, and W.B. Yeats.

ETA: May I count The Book Thief? I read that last year and wept buckets over it.