It can be very challenging for many veterans to talk about their experiences in war. Writing about what they went through can help others understand what it was like to be in a combat zone. Below are a few critically acclaimed books by veterans that will give you a deeper understanding of what it was like to be a soldier.
The Snake Eaters by Owen West
In his compelling and highly engaging story, third-generation US Marine Owen West takes readers into the dangerous and chaotic environment of Anbar Province. He places them inside the shoes of an American team of advisors as they fight against the insurgents.
When a dozen US Army Reservists are sent to an Iraqi outpost without training, they have yet to learn what they will do. They are then assigned to mentor an Iraqi battalion fighting against an insurgency. Some individuals sent to the outpost include a DEA agent, a postal worker, a guitarist, and a plumber.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
This book is a 1990 National Book Critics Circle and Pulitzer Prize finalist. It was written by O’Brien, who served in the US Army’s 23rd Infantry Division in Vietnam during the war. Metafiction heavily influences the book, where the main character’s name is given after the author, and the non-fiction is blurred. The story follows the relationship between the men in the platoon. It explores the various aspects of war and life after it. It also gives readers a deeper understanding of how soldiers coped with their experiences. The book is dedicated to the members of the Alpha Company.
Here, Bullet by Brian Turner
Based on the author’s experiences, who served in Iraq during the war, this collection of war poetry offers a powerful and unsettling depiction of the experience. The poems are full of beautiful and brutal honesty, leaving the reader with many questions to ponder.
House to House by David Bellavia
On November 10, 2004, an infantry team from the US Army led by Staff Sergeant David Bellavi entered the city of Fallujah. During this time, the members of Alpha Company, who were part of Task Force 2, faced an enemy preparing for a long-running battle. The insurgents had been able to set up ambushes and booby-trap houses in preparation for their attack.
In his detailed battle account, Bellavia describes his experience as a hard-bitten and highly trained warrior. He also provides readers with various details about the weapons and tactics used by his unit.
In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War by Tobias Wolff
This memoir is a nominee for the National Book Award for non-fiction. It features the author’s experiences in Vietnam as a first lieutenant. Before he deployed, he spent a year learning Vietnamese in Washington, DC. Before that, he had been a paratrooper.
He was stationed near M Tho during the Tet Offensive, carried out by the Communists. The author’s memoir discusses his experience during this battle and other personal events in Vietnam.