Happy Memorial Day! 5 Books to Help You Understand What Soldiers Live Through

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Today is Memorial Day in the United States. This holiday was celebrated as long ago as 1868 and is meant to be a day of remembrance for the many, many members of the Armed Forces who have lost their lives.

Here are five books that will help you understand what the life of soldiers on the front lines are like.


The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

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This classic novel is set during the American Civil War. It’s the story of one soldier, Henry Fleming, who finds himself in the center of a brutal battle and deserts. He does return to his regiment but has to learn to deal with the shame that follows deserting.


A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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Part of what Ernest Hemingway is known for is writing about war. In this novel, an American ambulance drive falls in love with an English nurse during World War I on the Italian front.


Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel

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David Finkel’s nonfiction book is about the lives of the US 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Baghdad. Not only do we find out what it’s actually like to be on the front lines, but Finkel followed them home to find out how the soldiers deal with what they saw and did during their time at war.


Dispatches by Michael Herr

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Michael Herr wrote this book during the Vietnam War while he was on the front lines, and it’s a brutal look at what happened during those years when American troops fought there.


Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW by Alexander Jefferson

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This memoir is one of very few written by African American soldiers during World War II, and also serves as his account of life in a German prison camp.



Do you know of any other books that examine the lives of troops on the front line, fiction or non-fiction? If so, let me know in the comments.

And if you’re a service member yourself, thank you for all of your service.


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Absolutely bookish.

4 thoughts on “Happy Memorial Day! 5 Books to Help You Understand What Soldiers Live Through

  1. Okay…a couple of my favourites from the American war experience: The Caine Mutiny by the recently departed Herman Wouk (WW2), The Things they Carried by Tim O’Brien (Vietnam) [Basically anything that Tim O’Brien writes is tremendous], and finally A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan, which is part biography of the soldier John Paul Vann and part critique of the Vietnam War, and is simply astonishing (it won the Pulitzer).

    Liked by 1 person

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