Veterans Day Books to Read4 min read

With this Wednesday being Veterans Day I took the liberty in googling some Veterans Day favorites as well as listing a few of my own.

What Is Veterans Day? By Elaine Landau is an introduction to Veterans Day with an easy activity for children to follow. Another book by Elaine is Celebrating Veterans Day where you will read about our war heroes and how we celebrate and honor them with a special day.

Coming Home, authored by Diane Monte, focuses on the emotions of children dealing with in their growing years that help shape who they become as adults. Coming Home deals with the feelings children experience when one of their loved ones is serving in the military. It enables them to share those feelings and their stories as they tell about that loved one. Coming Home is a great introduction to the true meaning of Veterans Day and what a Veteran really signifies. Coming Home is a tribute to all those men and women past and present, who put their life on hold as they pick up their armor for a greater cause.

Below are five books that happened to snag the attention of Michael Giltz a freelance writer.

 The Things They Carried, acclaimed as a modern masterpiece the day it was released in 1990. The Tim O’Brien collection of short stories is a favorite of independent bookstores as it is based on his experience in the Vietnam War.

Two priors of the bestseller list from Karl Marlantes, are the novel Matterhorn followed by What It Is Like To Go To War, a nonfiction work about his experience in war and how ill-prepared most 19-year-old kids are to endure it.

Bill Mauldin is the author of both Willie & Joe WW II years and Willie & Joe: Back Home. At one point, Bill Mauldin who made the cover of Time magazine twice was perhaps the most famous average soldier in the world (as compared to generals like Patton and Eisenhower). In Mauldin’s books Willie & Joe were grunts, regular foot soldiers who sat in the mud, complained about the food and otherwise captured the cynical, direct, let’s get this job done right so we don’t have to do it again attitude that soldiers embodied during WW II.

Willie & Joe WW II Years is an absorbing glimpse into the day-to-day life of soldiers while it was happening with the end not known.

Willie & Joe: Back Home deals with the pressures of veterans after returning home.

Bill Mauldin the author of these two books won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945. In the 1950s he would focus on editorial cartooning with great success. And Willie & Joe were still beloved by the greatest generation, given tribute by Charles Schulz in his Peanuts strip on Veterans Day in 1998. Willie & Joe and Mauldin made it onto a stamp in 2010, seven years after he died.

Books that I have personally read and enjoyed recently are both American Sniper and Unbroken which were both followed up with movies. In my opinion both the book and movie of the American Sniper gave Chris Kyle and his story great representation. In Unbroken the book authored by Laura Hillenbrand, gave so much more of an account of what truly happened and how it was internalized than the movie delivered. Both are great reads.

Another outstanding book was the The Warrior‘s Heart, by Eric Greitens which gives an account of Navy Seals life lessons. Eric Greitens came from the humblest of beginnings to become a Rhodes scholar, a national boxing champion, a PhD, a Navy SEAL, an Iraq war veteran, a humanitarian and a bestselling author from writing about his experiences. “The Warrior’s Heart,” offers living proof of its tag line: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage.

Another book I read a while back was Rogue Warrior; which is an autobiography of Richard Marcinko (Founder of U.S. Navy’s Seal Team Six). This is no nonsense and intense story as Richard Marcinko takes you through his accounts of serving in Vietnam.

If Veterans Day proves the spur to dive into any of these books (or the many others that can be mentioned), then that’s just one more reason to say thanks to the people who have served in the past and do so today.


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