11.11: remembrance day readers' advisory

I've posted 11 anti-war songs, and I've done Labour Day readers' advisory, but I don't think I've ever done anti-war readers' advisory.*** Here are 11 great books with an anti-war themes.

1. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

2. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

3. War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Chris Hedges (nonfiction)

4. Regeneration, Pat Barker

5. Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo

6. Hiroshima, John Hersey (nonfiction)

7. Mother Courage and Her Children, Bertolt Brecht (drama)

8. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

9. Catch-22, Joseph Heller

10. The Deserter's Tale, Joshua Key with Lawrence Hill (nonfiction)

11. And finally, the greatest anti-war novel of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque

There are many, many others: here are some lists.

Honour the dead by working for peace.

*** Turns out I had done this very thing, just two years back! The post was incorrectly tagged, so didn't come up in the search. Here's the 2015 version.


James Redekop said...

I haven't seen it for a long, long time, but I remember the movie of "All Quiet on the Western Front" as being very good, too.

johngoldfine said...

Jean's clarinet graces a smalltown Maine marching band, and the band played yesterday in an even smallertown Maine American Legion Hall. The building, of course, was filled with self-selected "patriots," veterans and their wives and families. Whatever their private feelings, for public display this was anything but a 'war is hell' crowd. They seemed not only proud about their own service in the military but enthusiastic about the idea of war generally, bound up as it was in their minds with the idea that our wars confer freedoms and liberty on those who stay home. In other words, they are the perfect audience for jingoism, nativism, racism, nationalism, isolationism, xenophobia, militarism, 2nd Amendment absolutism, and so on.

For what it's worth as a peek into the future, there were WW2 vets, there were Korean vets, there were Vietnam vets (bearded to a man, Jean says)(and there were no woman vets present), but there were no younger people from our adventures in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and all the other far-flung places we've dropped in on since 9/11. It would be nice to think that when all the old guys die, their attitudes might die with them and not be transferred to newer generations, but I think the absence of younger men and women is more due to younger people preferring to 'bowl alone' and not join any sort of club than it is a rejection of the older men's ideas.

johngoldfine said...

I think that the medium of a novel might lend itself to an anti-war slant (I hate to say 'antiwar message' as that seems to make the writer nothing more than an agitprop hack.) But movies are different. They tap emotions before they even touch thought.

Even the most graphically horrific movie still allows the audience a psychological escape, a way of turning antiwar into the glory of war. The audience thinks: that wouldn't happen to me, I'd stop them from doing that, I'd be tougher than them, I'd fight back, I'd come home safe and sound to my family and my sweetheart, that looks kinda cool, that looks harsh but they know they are doing the right thing, those guys have guts, dulce et decorum est, etc.

laura k said...

When I was active with the War Resisters Support Campaign, I used to regularly hear stories about thousands of servicemembers going AWOL from Iraq and Afghanistan. Military jails overflowing with resisters, most given a slap on the wrist (barely that) and sent along their merry way -- as long as they didn't speak out publicly.

I know there was (and is) a sizeable gung-ho contingent, but there are plenty who were disgusted by what they saw and how they were treated. Many (especially young urban people of colour) identified more with the people whose land they were invading than with the propaganda.

I think they're out there.

laura k said...

Many war movies are obviously celebrating war as something glorious and important. But there are many anti-war movies, too. I think if the writer and director want to convey an anti-war message, there are plenty of images that can help the audience feel horror, disgust, shame, empathy, compassion, and so on.

James Redekop said...

When I was growing up, two of my favourite movies set during WWII were "The Dam Busters" (1955) and "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930). The former wasn't so much "rah rah war" movie as "rah rah engineering cleverness", but I don't think there's any way to mistake the latter for anything but anti-war.