For Further Reading

For albeit 2.1 we asked our contributors to submit their favorite war-themed book, movie, and/or TV show and a brief reason why.

Nancy Thurman Clemens:

Ashley’s War by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon—in a time when women were still banned from combat positions, Lemmon tells the story of a group of female warriors whose gender was finally recognized as a way to support the war effort rather than a detriment to the battle. I am eternally grateful to this group of history-making women, and I’m so glad their stories and sacrifices are being told.

What It’s Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes—Marlantes explores ways that war affect our young men and women psychologically and spiritually. It’s an interesting analysis of those effects of war that we don’t always acknowledge.

Here, Bullet by Brian Turner—the poet and the solider meld together in Turner’s moving work. From his first hand accounts, he takes his experience of war and gives it back in the form of hauntingly beautiful poems.

Love My Rifle More than You by Kayla Williams—Williams gives her story of what it’s like to be a woman in the US Army serving alongside your male counterparts during a time and place of war. As a female in the military, she acknowledges the three categories we typically fall into: the bitch, the mother, or the slut. More stories like this need to be told, and I’m grateful to my sisters-at-arms for their willingness to tell them.

What Was Asked of Us by Trish Wood—this book presents the investigative interviews taken from the men and women on the front lines of Iraq. In their own words, the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines share what was asked of them throughout the initial surge at the beginning of the war in Iraq through the current state, such as it is, of rebuilding in Iraq.

Max Frazier (formerly Despain):

The Zookeeper’s Wife, Diane Ackerman
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
Here Bullet, Brian Turner
In Pharoah’s Army, Tobias Wolff
Dispatches, Michael Herr
In Our Time, Ernest Hemingway
The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins
The Maze Runner, James Dashner
Divergent, Veronica Roth
The Road, Cormac McCarthy

Inglorious Basterds
Mother Night
Apocalypse Now
The Great Escape
We Were Soldiers Once
The Hurt Locker
The Hunt for the Red October
The Blade Runner

Pattie Flint:

Schindler’s List
Apocalypse Now
The Pianist
Good Morning Vietnam

The Things they Carried by Tim O’Brien
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Dispatches by Michael Herr
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Nathan Gehoski:

Ivan’s War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945 by Catherine Merridale: Ivan’s War is a work of beautiful and brutal historical research into the life of the Red Army solider in World War 2. Drawing off the stories, letters, and official Soviet records, Merridale brings to life the conditions of the men and women involved with unflinching determination, making real the human cost of War for civilians and soldiers alike.

And in a completely different vein: On War by Carl von Clausewitz: While Merridale’s work epitomizes an attempt at the recuperation of an embodied relationship to trauma, Clausewitz’s treatise is the work of an Enlightenment thinker attempting (through reason) to explain War as a matter of politics and statecraft. A work taught in military academies around the globe, On War’s legacy is the continuing attempt by people to apply logic to (and attempt to control) the inherently unreasonable act of War itself.

Megan Kahn:

Ormond by Charles Brockden Brown: The character of Martinette is the only that I could find in eighteenth-century texts that at the end of her adventures never goes back to domesticity

The Female Officer, or the Humours of the Army, a comedy.  Altered from Charles Shadwell. by John Philp Kemble: My favorite comedy play with a cross-dressing heroine that makes fun of the performance of military masculinity

Silence: A Thirteenth-Century French Romance Translated by Sarah Roche-Madi: A beautiful medieval lay with an intriguing masquerading heroine

The Lady Tars: The Autobiographies of Hannah Snell, Mary Lacy and Mary Anne Talbot forward by Tom Grundner: The autobiographies of these women masquerading as sailors are incredible

Candice Pipes:

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Home by Toni Morrison

Each of these novels thinks about war and the consequences of war differently and I value these different cultural, social and political perspectives.  But I mostly cherish these five books because of the quality of the writing. These novels are written by our greatest living novelists with the exception, of course, of the great Ernest Hemingway.  The beauty of the writing is what allows these novels to transcend war and its consequences even as war lives in every word.  All must reads!

Sandra Singer:

Both released in 2005, my favorite book considering the War on Terror is Ian McEwan’s Saturday and film Steven Spielberg’s Munich. These works probe the issue of what is a reasonable response to terror and pursue the question of how one measures success against such an opponent.

Ashley Szanter:

I know this may not adhere to standard conceptions of “war movies/books,” but I find Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series (books and movies) to show great representations about war. Granted, these ideas are in the abstract as Middle Earth is not a real place and the characters aren’t real people. But Tolkien’s experiences fighting in World War I inspired him to craft this amazing series. Notions of bravery, camaraderie, honor, and skill find a great home in this particular narrative. The battle scenes in Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations are brilliantly done and are an empathetic portrayal of the human (regardless of race or origin) cost of war.

Charity Tabol:


Shay, Jonathan.  Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character.  New York: Scribner, 1994.  Print.


Restrepo.  Dir. Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger.  Outpost Films, 2010.  Film.

Waltz with Bashir.  Dir. Ari Folman.  Bridgit Folman Film Gang, 2008.  Film..

Andrea Van Nort:

I’ll begin with the movie The Pianist, Primo Levi’s autobiographical Survival in Auschwitz, Brian Turner’s Iraq War poetry collection Here, Bullet.

Shakespeare’s first tetralogy, Othello, and Lear come to mind, as does Shirin Ebadi’s book on the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iran Awakening.

Editorial Board Members:

Tracy Bealer:

My favorite war movie is probably not really a war movie at all–it’s more an existential crisis movie–but I’m a huge fan of Apocalypse Now. For a more conventional choice: Patton, mainly because I use the line “God help me but I do” all the time.

Natalie Leppard:

War novels and movies are admittedly not my thing. I do recognize their importance, though, and fully recommend The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers; Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain; It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario.