In honor of Veteran’s Day today, I post three more memoirs about war. Writer Joe Garland, at age 85, has completed his book, Unknown Soldiers, based on his diary entries from WWII, in what he calls his most difficult writing effort yet. The book deals with the mental trauma of war and the “code of silence” that afflicts many vets when it comes to war memories. Garland hopes his memoir, which includes stories of other survivors from his unit, will join other personal war accounts as a message for peace.
Peter Mansoor, a brigade commander in Iraq for two years during the worst of times, returned to Iraq as an organizer of the counterinsurgency in 2007. He is author of Baghdad at Sunrise, turning his combat journal into a memoir inspired by Ulysses S. Grant’s fair and dispassionate writings. In allowing several years to pass after his duties, Mansoor was able to look back with more perception and balance, and with better context – important for any memoir, but especially for one with controversial subjects.
Melia Meichelbach’s book, In The Company of Soldiers, is a finalist in the 2008 National Best Books Award, Autobiography/Memoir category, in the annual contest sponsored by USA Book News. Giving a unique woman’s perspective of the war on the front lines in Iraq, Meichelbach, who has won several medals for her role in the war, gives a candid and often funny look at her life amongst men in the military. Ten percent of book profits go to disabled vets.
Three memoirs with three different purposes: One is a message, wishing for no more war because of the terrible human toll taken; one is informative, the study of a war; one is both informative and meant to entertain. Depending on your taste and interest, you may take your pick. For Veteran’s Day, honor a soldier by listening and learning and thanking him or her for their service.
By the way, I just read in my local newspaper that the Ford Mustang’s name was actually inspired by the P-51 Mustang fighter plane used in WWII. The sweet yellow pony in my driveway takes on new meaning.