Memorial day is supposed to be about fallen soldiers; these books remind us of the costs of war. Miss Em's favorite books of war and soldiers. Read more on Riffle
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Vietnam War. Pulitzer finalist. Will crack your heart.
1 / 13
Redliners by David Drake
This book will make you respect soldiers even if you hate war (which is how most soldiers feel). Duty, honor, courage--combat fatigue, cynicism, hopelessness. No matter the plot, this is a distillation of Drake's war experience.
2 / 13
The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Won the 1989 Nebula Award for Best Novel of 1988. The Minneapolis Star Tribune called it "A brutal and beautiful book." Scarborough was a nurse in the VietNam War. Luminous.
3 / 13
The Wood Beyond (Dalziel and Pascoe) by Reginald Hill
Modern-day mystery woven in with a soldier's diary and an impacting depiction of the brutal futility of life and death in the trenches of WWI.
4 / 13
In War Times: An Alternate Universe Novel of a Different Present (Dance Family) by Kathleen Ann Goonan
Jazz, quantam physics, epigenetics, Pearl Harbor, alternate realitites. It's not an easy book to read and is certainly a novel of ideas, but I always have fun walking around in Goonan's brain. What if?
5 / 13
The Ghost Road (William Abrahams) by Pat Barker
WWI. Booker Prize. Poets Wilfred Owen and Siegried Sassoon are characters in the trilogy. Here's from the blurb: "Combining poetic intensity with gritty realism, blending biting humor with tragic drama, moving toward a denouement as inevitable as it is devastating, The Ghost Road both encapsulates history and transcends it."
6 / 13
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
1950s; nuclear war; aftermath. It's a book with a mission and the depiction of the bomb hitting is just as impacting as reading Hiroshima by John Hersey. If you want to know why Hiroshima is not on the list, google John Hersey and plagiarism.
7 / 13
An Infamous Army: A Novel of Wellington, Waterloo, Love and War (Historical Romances) by Georgette Heyer
Brussels. Napoleon. Waterloo. The only romance novel ever used as a text in military school, Heyer's book was so well researched that they used it at Sandhurst. Miss Em would categorize it as one of her historical novels rather than as a romance, since it is more boring than her other books--war is hell because it's boring in addition to tragic.
8 / 13
Belisarius I: Thunder at Dawn (v. 1) by Eric Flint
Alternate history/science-fictional take on Belisarius, Justinian, and the Byzantine reclamation of the Mediterranean. Great historical fiction and depiction of life on extended campaign.
9 / 13
1632 (Ring Of Fire) by Eric Flint
100 Years' War. Talk about complexity! What if future tech, knowledge, and West Virginians appeared in the midst of Germany during the 100 Years' War? Science, politics, religion, engineering, hell-raising. Check out Baen's Bar for how seriously people take this.
10 / 13
On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington) by David Weber
The early books are the best, in the Honor Harrington Universe. But a career in the Royal Manticoran Navy is a great exploration of wars and politics.
11 / 13
The Thousand Names (The Shadow Campaigns Book 1) by Django Wexler
A very good depiction of military life. See http://missmrecommends.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-thousand-names-deserves-several.html for review.
12 / 13
Xenocide: Volume Three of the Ender Quintet by Orson Scott Card
Of course the series is a must; this is the most masterful book in the series.
13 / 13