A List of Books to Consider on Memorial Day

MatThis Memorial Day I thought I'd look back at books about soldiers--some fiction, some nonfiction--that have made an impression on me or people I know. Here is a list of books to consider on Memorial Day:

 

 

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This novel won the 1975 Pulitzer and helped to popularize historical fiction. It's the story of the battle of Gettysburg, told from various viewpoints, and it's a surprisingly emotional read as it uncannily puts you in the minds of the soldiers. 
 

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Not all of the books on this list are award-winners, but E.L. Doctorow's novel won both the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2006 PEN/Faulkner Award. The March is the story of Sherman as he marches toward Atlanta. There are good guys and bad guys in this book, sometimes represented by the same character.
 

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Michael Shaara's son, Jeff Shaara, took after his father and produced this novel about soldiers in the First World War. General Tommy Franks wrote of the book, "The reader feels the horror of the trenches in France and is drawn into the maneuvering of political and military leaders on both sides of the battle."
 

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Published in 2000, Flags of Our Fathers is the best-selling true story of six marines who fought in the costly Battle of Iwo Jima--and who were eventually memorialized in the famous photograph and sculpture of the flag raising.
 

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Laura Hillenbrand's triumph of narrative nonfiction is the story of Louis Zamperini, who crashed at sea during WWII and was eventually captured by Japanese soldiers. You won't believe the waves of challenges sent to break his will, and you'll marvel at the depths of Zamperini's inner strength.
 

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The older I get, the more I admire the greatest generation. They survived the Great Depression, won WWII, and brought peace and prosperity to our country. It was a different time.
 

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Karl Marlantes is a Marine who was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Purple Hearts, and ten Air Metals. He is also an author who spent thirty years working on this novel about Vietnam, and when it was published in 2010 it was a literary phenomenon.
 

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First published in 1990, The Things They Carried is a classic of modern war literature. O'Brien, who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, purportedly wrote his collection of linked stories to address the ignorance over the Vietnam War that he witnessed back in his hometown.
 

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Those of us who have been to Arlington National Cemetery have felt the hallowed nature of that place. Poole's book looks at the history of the cemetery and of people who are buried within it.
 

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The battle often continues once deployment has ended. Here, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel, author of The Good Soldier, follows soldiers as they return home and sometimes struggle to make a life for themselves away from the theater of war.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For another list, one that contains more titles about contemporary wars, check out Audible's Modern War Lit: 8 Astonishing Books by Returning Veterans.

 


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Comments (1)

This is a wonderful list & I truly appreciate you putting it together. Though my online book club focuses on books from other countries (https://www.facebook.com/groups/AWorldAdventurebyBook/), I felt it particularly important to feature a list of US Memorial Day books today to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers because so many other bookish sites focused on beachy Memorial Day reads. Yours was the only list I found which was focused on the true meaning of Memorial Day, didn't have crazy pop-up ads & provided both a good look at the book cover as well as a helpful synopsis. I've now shared this list with my online book club. So thank you!

Posted by: Beth McCrea | Monday May 29, 2017 at 2:57 PM

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