I am in the middle of Sebastian Junger's new book War, which I am not particularly enjoying, but which I thought it was important to read all of so I had a leg to stand on if I reviewed it. I also promised my favorite library worker I would try and get through it fast and return it, as he is a ways down the waiting list for it. But, as of page 114, I don't know if I can continue.
It's a fast read, and Junger is a skilled writer. But I have read so many of these books from the "soldiers' point of view" lately that I literally cannot read any more. So, in honor of Memorial Day, a short list of books about soldiers, and what they go through and inflict on others, and why war is stupid and pointless.*
Finkel, David. The Good Soldiers. Embedded reporter Finkel relates the experiences of Battalion 2-16 (nicknamed the Rangers), serving in Iraq during the height of the Iraq War.
Frederick, Jim. Black Hearts: One Platoon's Descent Into Madness in Iraq's Triangle of Death. Frederick tells an ugly story of atrocities against civilians, perpetrated by soldiers, but he tells it with nuance and empathy.
Key, Joshua. The Deserter's Tale.** Enticed into the Army primarily because of his poverty and because they were offering dental care and sub sandwiches, Key found himself serving in Iraq but eventually went AWOL to Canada because he felt he could not, in good conscience, return to Iraq.
Mason, Robert. Chickenhawk. A classic from the Vietnam War, told by a helicopter pilot.
Pyle, Ernie. Here Is Your War. Pyle was the original embedded reporter (during World War II), and the soldiers loved him for his dedication to telling their stories and for living along with them and enduring the same danger and hardships they did. He actually died in a battle on the Pacific island of Ie Shima.
*Sorry for the grouchy tone. Unlike Labor Day, which is my favorite holiday ever, Memorial Day makes me grouchy. I am not interested in the glorification of war, and I am only interested in supporting soldiers by never sending them to die in any war.
**If you only read one book on this list, make it this one.