As we near Memorial Day, I was asked what my plans were by a coworker. My response was, “I’m going to do as little as possible.” He said that’s not a bad plan but “remember why we have this holiday.” That hit me a little bit as I think most of us know someone that serves in the military and, sadly, we may know someone who has died while serving. While both are true for me, and the need to remember why we have Memorial Day is of the utmost importance, it got me to thinking about books.
There are a flood of books relating to war, military service, and military personnel. While this is an area in which I am not well-read, there are some fantastic books out there (and some bad ones too, sadly) so I would encourage you to look into this area of the bookstore.
I have read books on military personnel, which is always fascinating to me. I have read books about soldiers, like elite scout snipers, and books that chronicle the lives of generals and I find this focus on people who make up battles or wars more enthralling because you know the people in the battle. You can walk with someone as they recount the scenes and the stresses and the horrors or the moments of glory, and it gives you a new appreciation for those who serve in the military.
Now, there are also books that tell about battles, like We Were Soldiers Once…And Young but there are accounts that follow a company or a large section of a war. You also have amazing and terrible stories from World Wars 1 and 2 or Vietnam or all the way to contemporary conflicts. If these aren’t your choice, books on leaders like Churchill or Dwight D. Eisenhower go into the behind-the-scenes processes of how war is fought. While, again, you have great options in the world of military nonfiction, maybe take time to read through a great book about those who fight bravely for our nation in celebration of the upcoming holiday.