Sunday – September 24, 2017

Recommended Books

We have compiled a list of books which you may find useful and/or interesting. The books are not endorsed by MATC nor the MESO office. If you find a book that you find beneficial and entertaining, within the military arena, please share your favorites with the MESO office so that we can share them with all of our fellow student veterans. 

All Quiet on the Western Front — Erich Maria Remarque 

This is probably the most famous anti-war novel ever written. The story is told by a young "unknown soldier" in the trenches of Flanders during World War I. Through his eyes, we see the realities of war; under fire, on patrol, waiting in the trenches, at home on leave, and in hospitals and dressing stations. Although incidents are described vividly, there is no sense of adventure here, only the feeling of youth betrayed and a deceptively simple indictment of war - of any war - told for generations of war's victims.

Haunted by Combat: Understanding PTSD in War — Daryl S. Paulson and Stanley Krippner 

Veterans Including Women, Reservists, and Those Coming Back from Iraq 

Across history, the condition has been called "soldier's heart," "shell shock," or "combat fatigue." It is now increasingly common as our service men and women return from Iraq, Afghanistan and other ongoing combat zones. Since 1990, veterans' centers in the U.S. have treated more than 1.6 million affected men and women, including an estimated 100,000 from the Gulf War and an untallied total from the Iraq front and fighting in Afghanistan. The number also includes some 35,000 World War II veterans, because PTSD does not fade easily. Regardless of the months, years, and even decades that have passed, the traumatic events can flash back as seemingly real as they were when they occurred. In Haunted by Combat, Paulson and Krippner range across history and into current experiences and treatments for this haunting disorder. They take us into the minds of PTSD-affected veterans as they struggle against the traumatic events lingering in their minds, sometimes exploding into violent behavior. The authors explain how and why PTSD develops, and how we can help service members take the steps to heal today.

Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops  — Ilona Meagher 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in returning combat troops is one of the most catastrophic issues confronting our nation. Yet, despite the fact that more than 25 percent of the troops who have left the military since 2003 have been diagnosed with PTSD, and many who suffer symptoms are unlikely to seek help because of the stigma of this terrible disease, our government has remained willfully neglectful the plight of our veterans.

On Killing — Lt. Col Dave Grossman

LTC Grossman (US Army – Retired) was a former Army Ranger and paratrooper. He also taught psychology classes at West Point and was a Professor of Military Science at Arkansas State University. A renown scholar and expert of human aggression, Grossman has written numerous books to include information on 21st-century military conflicts, recent trends in crime, suicide bombings, school shootings, and more. Most humans, including military service members, are loath to killing; however, they have developed sophisticated methods of overcoming this instinctive aversion. The book also recounts numerous stories of veterans who served during the Vietnam War and how their service continues to impact their lives. Upon its initial publication, On Killing was hailed as a landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects soldiers, and of the societal implications of escalating violence.

Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides — Christian Appy 

An oral history that serves as a "final public record" from many who have struggled publicly with the war for 20 or 30 years. The book also is a monumental effort to capture voices long unheard and ensure that the words are not lost to a new generation. He includes statements from significant political and military figures from both sides of the conflict, including William Westmoreland, Alexander Haig, Nikita Kruschev's son Sergei, and Vice President Nguyen Thi Bihn.

See Me for Who I Am — David Chrisinger

This is a great book for dispelling the stereotypes often associated with military service members. Written by twenty young student veterans from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, their real-life short stories recount thoughtfulness, humor, and honesty as they relive and relate their worst memories, illustrate shared experiences, explain to us the fulfillment of combat, and show us what going to war really entails. For veterans,

these voices will ring familiar. For civilians, the stories open a view into a world few ever see and, in the process, affirm our common humanity.

Souled Out — Mike Orban (Wauwatosa-based author) 

A personal voyage through a 30-year battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and years living in the jungles of Africa trying to restore his soul after the Vietnam War. Orban was born in 1950 in Milwaukee. Drafted into the Army in 1969, he served in an infantry division and was awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal and Combat infantryman's badge. He returned home in a spiritual darkness and was driven to leave the U.S. and live deep in the jungles of Africa.

The Art of War — Sun Tzu

The Art of War presents the basic principles of warfare and gives military leaders advice on when and how to fight. Its 13 chapters offer specific battle strategies–for example, one tells commanders how to move armies through inhospitable terrain, while another explains how to use and respond to different types of weapons–but they also give more general advice about conflicts and their resolution. Rules like “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight;” and “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril” can be applied to particular battle situations as well as to other kinds of disagreements and challenges. For more than 1,000 years, rulers and scholars across Asia consulted the book as they plotted their military maneuvers and imperial conquests. Japanese samurai, for example, studied it closely. Historians say that the French emperor Napoleon was the first Western leader to follow its teachings and it was finally translated into English in 1905. Meanwhile, executives and lawyers use the teachings of The Art of War to get the upper hand in negotiations and to win trials. Business-school professors assign the book to their students and sports coaches use it to win games. It has even been the subject of a self-help dating guide. Plainly, this 2,500-year-old book still resonates with a 21st-century audience.

The Good War — Studs Terkel 

Noted Chicago-based journalist Studs Terkel gathers reminiscences of 121 participants in World War II (called "the good war" because, in the words of one soldier, "to see fascism defeated, nothing better could have happened to a human being"). These participants, men and women, famous and ordinary, tell stories that add immeasurably to our understanding of that cataclysmic time. One Soviet soldier recounts that, surrounded by the Germans, his comrades tapped the powder from their last cartridges and inserted notes to their families inside the casings; Russian children, he goes on, still turn these up every now and again and deliver the notes to the soldiers' families. Terkel touches on many themes along the way, including institutionalized racism in the United States military, the birth of the military-industrial complex, and the origins of the Cold War.

The Things They Carried — Tim O'Brien 

A finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Things They Carried marks a subtle but definitive line of demarcation between Tim O'Brien's earlier works about Vietnam, the memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone and the fictional Going After Cacciato, and this sly, almost hallucinatory book. The Things They Carried is neither memoir nor novel nor collection of short stories, but rather an artful combination of all three. Vietnam is still O'Brien's theme, but in this book he seems less interested in the war itself than in the myriad different perspectives from which he depicts it.

Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace — Maxine Hong Kingston 

Eighty written offerings from combat soldiers, medics, conscientious objectors, and family members of soldiers. 

War and the Soul — Ed Tick 

Teaches how truly to heal war trauma in veterans, their families and our communities. Drawing on history, mythology and soldiers' stories from World War I to Iraq, it affirms the deep damage war does to the psyche and addresses how to reclaim the soul from war's hell.