Today, the list is fictional books about war. There are only nine books on the list. However, they are well worth reading. Without further ado, here we go…
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The ultimate anti-war book, according to many. Frankly, I find this book laugh-out-loud hilarious. War book or not, it’s just funny. It’s not just the absurdity of war, but the absurdity of life.
- Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Honestly, I was not sure I should include this on my list, as it’s not one of my favorite books. But the list was 100 book you should read. And I think it should be read, even if it’s WWII on an acid trip.
- The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk. I could have put The Winds of War or War and Remembrance on the list as well, but, to me, this is his best book. Humphrey Bogart won and Oscar for his portrayal of Captain Queeg. Really, this book has everthing – war, the Navy, romance, and a trial. It’s just a great story.
- The Quiet American by Graham Greene. This is a book I keep going back to. It should be mandatory reading for everyone. It’s set against the back drop of Viet Nam before America was fighting. It is about American hubris and patriarchy, though I doubt Greene would find that characterization satisfying. It is also a really well-written book.
- All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Remarque. I read this book in college and it shredded me. It is written from a German soldier’s point-of-view during WWI. It is, and always will be, the best anti-war novel ever written. It is also a reminder that while evil may lead, most of the time, followers have no choice but to follow.
- The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins. While my fiction list didn’t contain any WWII books, my nonfiction list more than makes up for it. A NAZI plot to kidnap Churchill and disable the British war effort. He really is the master of spies and suspense. I could not put this book down.
- Confessional by Jack Higgins. Okay. Technically, this is not a war novel. It’s set in the Cold War, so I’m counting it. The USSR is plotting the assassination of the Pope on British soil. It’s a race to see whether pope will be saved or assassinated. I will say no more….
- Redeployment by Phil Klay. This is a book of short stories about a bunch of different characters all having some connection to the global war on terror. The stories are sad, funny, infuriating, and just good. Klay was a Marine and his experience in the military informs his writing. I bought this book when it first came out and started it, but then put it down. It wasn’t until I read the next book on the list that I was able to really read and appreciate this one.
- The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Many people call this “THE” book about Viet Nam. I am loathe to disagree. I read it in college and again last year. I have to say that I have a much bigger appreciation for it after reading it the second time. O’Brien managers to bring combat to life. He even managers to convey the smell – something my father, who served in Viet Nam, says no one is ever able to capture. The book is disturbing in the best possible way.
Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the ten best books other people recommended to me.