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Old 01-13-2003, 01:11 AM
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Suggested anti-war novels?


I recently finished reading All Quiet on The Western Front and Johnny Got His Gun, so I'm kind of on an anti-war literature binge. Suggestions?
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Old 01-13-2003, 01:17 AM
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Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is a classic. I'm sure other posters will mention this one.
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Old 01-13-2003, 01:19 AM
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I read Catch 22 a few years ago. It was a good book, and also a good suggestions, thanks. Anymore?
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Old 01-13-2003, 01:45 AM
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I would also suggest The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane.
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Old 01-13-2003, 03:00 AM
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Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.!
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Old 01-13-2003, 05:25 AM
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I quite liked the original book M*A*S*H. Better'n the movie and the tv series anyway.
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Old 01-13-2003, 06:14 AM
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Slaughterhouse 5, as noted by Blowero. It presents a spectacular counterargument to those that believe that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the worst things that happened in WWII.
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Old 01-13-2003, 07:55 AM
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"War and Peace" by Tolstoi
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:09 AM
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Jaroslav Hasek, The Good Soldier Svejk
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:11 AM
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Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic.
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:13 AM
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The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:15 AM
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"The Short-Timers," by Gustav Hasford.
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:23 AM
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All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque. Looks at WWI from a German perspective. Really good. Highly recommend it.
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:32 AM
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Company K by William March. Best episodic U.S. war novel before Catch-22.

The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth. Actually, the First World War is only foreshadowed in this novel, but it's still one of the great German novels of the 20th century.

You might also enjoy The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry.
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:42 AM
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Desmostylus


I'm not sure I read the book that way. My understanding is just the opposite - Vonnegut was an all-round peacenik, saying all war is bad, fire-bombing of Dresden was not militarily justified, and neither was Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

For the record - I can cite material that proves Dresden was an important center of military production at the time the book is set.
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Old 01-13-2003, 09:17 AM
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Try "Fly Away Peter" by David Malouf or "A Month In The Country" by J.L. Carr. Not exactly the same "type" of books others are recommending but both still carry an anti-war message. Of course you can't go past "All Quiet", but you've already read that! Brilliant!
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Old 01-13-2003, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silentgoldfish
I quite liked the original book M*A*S*H. Better'n the movie and the tv series anyway.
I don't know that Dr. Richard Hornberger (who used the alias Hooker) would appreciate being considered "anti-war." He was a rock-ribbed Republican, a patriot, and a hawk, and he HATED what Alan Alda did to Hawkeye.

He tried to describe war as it is, with all the gore, all the gallows humor, and all the frequent absurdities that come with it- but he never doubted for a minute that communism was evil and that the Korean War was necessary.
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Old 01-13-2003, 10:46 AM
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Can't say I agree with some of the recommendations - despite the fact that I'm far from a "peacenik" <grin>, I found Catch-22 to be so poorly written I put it down in disgust after about a chapter and a half - I found Heller's narrative style and some character names to be particularly childish. Never really got far enough into it to see for myself if it was "anti-war".

Still, only a lunatic wishes for war, some of us just have a lower threshhold of "this is necessary" than others - and some don't think it's ever necessary. So, if you're interested in the favorite "truthful" war books of a guy who'd be considered something of a conservative "hawk" (any book that gives a feeling of what war is like, or a truthful, detailed historical account of it, drives home the human cost of warfare and the fact that war, even a necessary one, is always a bad thing), I recommend:

War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk (I just finished reading this one...excellent fiction framed in true events)

Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden - he does a pretty good job of not moralizing or trying to put his own opinions across, and relies on the horror that our soldiers went through to let you form your own opinion on the events covered in the book.

The Mighty Eighth by Gerald Astor - a history of the USAAF's European bombing campaign written from interviews with the men who flew the missions.
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Old 01-13-2003, 11:50 AM
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Kilt-wearin' man
Winds of War & War and Remembrance are IMHO, possibly the best book(s) I have ever read. Certainly the one who's characters and events I remember best, and have returned to again and again for inspiration. I cry every time I read the last chapter.

For relevance to this thread - the closing sentence defines it for me ....
Quote:
Yet though their bones lie in the darkness of the grave, they will not have died in vain, if their remembrance can lead us from the long, long time of war to the time for peace
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Old 01-13-2003, 12:14 PM
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The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer.

The book is purportedly an autiobiography, although some of have raised dounts about the veracity of that claim. Regardless, whether it's fact or fiction, you will learn what it means to be a soldier in a war. Brutalized and brutal. Alone. Frightened. Mortal.
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Old 01-13-2003, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kilt-wearin' man
if you're interested in the favorite "truthful" war books of a guy who'd be considered something of a conservative "hawk" (any book that gives a feeling of what war is like, or a truthful, detailed historical account of it, drives home the human cost of warfare and the fact that war, even a necessary one, is always a bad thing)
Oh, you'd probably like Company K, then, too. The author was a U.S. Marine during WWI, and the book was extremely popular with soldiers during (and after) WWII, in pocketbook editions.

Ever read James Jones' From Here to Eternity? I loved that novel, and thought it dealt with the military with respect and real empathy.
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Old 01-13-2003, 04:54 PM
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I like what Vonnegut said in his preface to SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE. When he told a friend/army buddie his plans to write an anti-war novel, the friend suggested he write an anti-iceberg novel instead. "There are fewer of them and you'll stop just as many icebergs as you will wars."

The recent miniseries of Ambrose's BAND OF BROTHERS was fantastic and gave probably a much more accurate portrayal of what soldiers have gone through in war than most 2 hour movies.
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Old 01-13-2003, 05:25 PM
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The Things They Carried is about Vietnam.

The Short-Timers is the book that Full Metal Jacket is based on too, as an aside.
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Old 01-16-2003, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
The Things They Carried is about Vietnam.
I con-quer.


Yeah, that was definitely a great book. Also by O'Brien, Northern Lights. (Many of his books are about the Vietnam War.)
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Old 01-16-2003, 08:47 PM
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I've never seen Catch-22 as so much anti-war but as sorta pointing out the absurdity of life, higher command, or whatever using a wartime setting. You could make the same thing using a business setting and wind up with Dilbert (well, to some degree, anyway).
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Old 01-16-2003, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Peutl
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Seconded. What a great book.
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Old 01-16-2003, 10:30 PM
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Thirds for "The Forever War". And to add to the library..... "A Separate Peace", "Alas, Babylon" (tho it is more about survival in the aftermath), and "On the Beach".

enjoy your readings

mc
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Old 01-17-2003, 10:55 PM
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A Separate Peace is on my list of books I had to read in high school but actually liked.

There's this one book about the fire bombing of Dresden and one man's attempt to uncover the truth, IIRC. It was Dresden or something like that.
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Old 01-17-2003, 11:24 PM
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"Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trumbo (I think that's his name). It's brutal, though, as I remember, none of it takes place in a war setting.

"All Quiet on the Western Front" is, without a doubt, the finest war novel ever written. The original, 1930's, movie is the best war movie.

Not exactly an anti-war novel but, "The Thin Red Line" is an excellent read.
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Old 01-17-2003, 11:48 PM
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Dang it, SandyHook, you stole my answer.

"Johnny Got His Gun" is probably the epitome of anti-war books--while touching in most places and surprisingly funny in a few parts. But in short, it's a real bummer of a story, so be careful when you read it.
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Old 01-18-2003, 03:02 AM
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Johnny Got His Gun was one hell of a downer. I think the part that got me was when he was remembering holding his girlfriend in his arms and then realizing he didn't have arms anymore.

Catch 22 is a classic. Sometimes I just randomly think of the character "Major Major Major Major" and just laugh my ass off.
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Old 01-18-2003, 12:16 PM
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I think I'd have to agree with everyone who mentioned Johnny Got His Gun By Trumbo. It was an intensly bitter story about the price of war with a perspective that I completely agree with, touching on the impact war has on the middle and lower classes and how everyone is enthusiastic about war and bloodshed until they are faced with the reality of a horrific casualty.
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Old 01-18-2003, 12:25 PM
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A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy (Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, The Ghost Road)

All are WWI novels - brutal, horrific and compelling.
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Old 01-18-2003, 03:52 PM
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"And No Birds Sang," by Farley Mowat, which tells of Canadian writer Mowat's ("Never Cry Wolf") story about fighting in Italy during WWII.
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Old 01-18-2003, 04:03 PM
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Almost forget; Mark Twain's "War Prayer," which is actually a short story and can be read here.
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Old 01-18-2003, 05:30 PM
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I read Johnny Got His Gun last year when my daughter had to read it for school.

I must agree, it was one of the awfulest stories I had ever heard. I picked it up and literally read all night. I read it straight through, I could not put it down.

However, to the OP: I read some books years ago about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While I was searching for those titles, I came acrossthis site which also had some multi-media things about the dropping of the atom bomb, as well as a list of books on the subject.
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Old 01-18-2003, 09:32 PM
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Not necessarily anti-war, but poking fun at war ( at least that's how I remember it) but Sunshine Soldiers by Something Tauber, was great when I was 13. YMMV.
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