Runners Who Read

Who knew? A bunch of runners who enjoy reading and discussing what they read.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Memorial Day (U.S.): Books of War -- and Peace

In the United States, Memorial Day will be observed this Monday, May 30. I'm reminded of some of my favorite books dealing with some aspect of the military or of war: Robert Fagles' brutally magnificent translation of Homer's Iliad, delivering the bone-crushing horror and tragedy of war on a vivid, epic scale ... Michael Shaara's novel of the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, focusing on the human dimension of war and the heavy responsiblities of command ... and a deeply personal story of how those who go through the hell of war can experience personal healing and even spiritual enlightenment, as compellingly related by Claude Anshin Thomas -- a soldier who fought in the Vietnam War and later became a Buddhist monk -- in his recent memoir At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey From War to Peace. (Thomas recently was a guest speaker at the Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas; his story is well worth reading.)

Anyone else have favorites with a war/peace theme?


Blogger RWR said...

The Killer Angels and Gods and Generals are both impressive works which look at the Civil War in so many different ways, allowing the reader to question their previous views of this epic American event.

Of a different era, Herman Wouk's light hearted read "The Caine Mutiny" from 1951 about the growing up in war time and the contradictions of World War II America show us that, even so close to that patriotic time, there were questions and unresolved answers to the questions of war vs. peace. Wouk's infamous volumes "Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance" paint a picture not often seen of American life and world history in those early 1930's to the end of the war in 1945. Deeply moving and emotional, the volumes give us a new meaning of patriotism and, perhaps, an insight into the real reasons we actually go to war.


8:07 AM  

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