I've compiled this short, completely subjective list of my "favorite" war literature. I put "favorite" in quotation marks because I can't say that a war novel is the first thing I reach for when hunting down a good read. Yet for one reason or another, each of these stories etched images on my heart that have haunted me for years and shaped how I think about war.
This is by no means a comprehensive overview of war fiction, just a smattering choices to consider this Memorial Day as we remember the fallen:
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Laugh if you must, but the Civil War as experienced through the eyes of that Southern belle with a spine of steel, Scarlett O'Hara, affected me deeply as a young teen.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Like many high-schoolers, I read this book on assignment, not long after reading Gone With the Wind. Henry Fleming dreams of the thrill of battle and performing heroic deeds in the American Civil War. But his illusions are shattered by the reality of war, and he experiences both fear and self-doubt. Interestingly, Stephen Crane had never fought in a war. (Neither, of course, had Margaret Mitchell.)
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
An American ambulance driver and English nurse find love and heartache on the battlefields of Europe, based on Hemingway's experience in World War I.
A haunting, almost poetic rendering of the Vietnam War, based loosely on O'Brien's own memories of combat.
What are some of your favorite or most memorable war stories or poems?