A short book of poignant poems written by mother who’s son has gone to war. I found this book to be very unique and heartfelt. While I’m not anti-war myself, and while my mother took a very God-centered approach to my brother joining the military, it was still touchingly beautiful to read of a mother’s heartache. Isn’t this the great beauty to books? Sharing in the experiences of others which are unlike our own?
On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace
By Dave Grossman and Loren W. Christensen
I read this book for two reasons: 1) Because I love warrior stories and was interested in expanding my understanding of warriors. 2) Research for the warrior stories I’m writing.
As research, this book might be a bit dense, in that I found I couldn’t incorporate fully everything I had learned about what a warrior endures in the style of books that I write at one time. But, since I write warrior stories, I’m sure I’ll use everything I gleaned. If you’re just looking for a basic introduction to warriors than pick and choose your chapters.
I found this book to be very informative, interesting, heart-felt, and a great way for a citizen to understand and support the warriors in their community.
The chapters aren’t long, aren’t full of psychological terminology and thus incomprehensible, and aren’t boring. Everything here is interesting, challenging, and has enriched my life. I’m glad I read it.
Two things, I had a hard time with Grossman blaming much of the violence in our society on video games and violent movies even though he says that kids who are disciplined either by parents or who participate in organized sports and are taught discipline don’t tend to react the same way to the violence as kids who are undisciplined. I felt like his argument pointed to the need for strong families more than the need for getting rid of action films. I must admit, I skipped the last half of the chapter on violent games and movies.
I also think there is an inherent flaw in his sheepdog/sheep analogy. While I strongly sympathize with it, I think it leaves open a great pride in the sheepdog and, humans being humans, a situation of abuse by the sheepdogs. It is very easy if you’re a sheepdog to look down on the sheep as weak and dumb and then only a short step from that to bulling the sheep. I think his illustration works better if you have a shepherd in charge of the sheep and the sheepdog to make sure everything is kept working properly. Obviously, I’m seeing this from a Christian World view with the idea of Christ as our shepherd. I also know from personal experience that it is very easy for the sheepdog to turn on and devour the very sheep it was supposed to protect.
Other than those two things, great book.
Rated PG-13: subject is battle and it’s effects on people. Can strongly influence readers to want to be warriors.
Helmet for My Pillow
By Robert Leckie
What a beautiful and well written memoir from WWII. I found Leckie’s style to be very intelligent, insightful and touching. I stumbled on this book after watching the Pacific. Honestly, I thought the Pacific did a horrible job with Leckie. They made him far more morose than he came across in the book. In the book he was a trouble maker, a fighter, a fellow brothers in arms and a Marine. I found the same thing in With the Old Breed. These guys were Marines and proud of it. In the movie, I felt like both Leckie and Sledge were painted one-dimensionally and with too much modern “sensibility”. Band of Brothers found beauty in battle within the brotherhood and all the guys who kept coming back and who stuck together after the war. In that, they may have been rare. You don’t see as many men reuniting year after year as you do the 101st Airborne. But, when you read Helmet for my Pillow and With the Old Breed, you get the same sense of brotherhood and I think it short changed these guys heroics in the field to not show that better. They also didn’t show the pride these men had in being Marines.
Like many other’s of it’s kind, this book doesn’t focus much on the battles, but on what happened between the battles. When I first started reading WWII memoirs I found this trait to be very frustration. “Tell me about the battles, man!” I kept thinking. But know, I find it very fitting, humbling, and authentic. I don’t know why those men would want to think about the battles and their point of view on them is probably very snap shorted out. The times between the battles was what they want to tell about. And, it’s not like there is no description of the battles, they just aren’t played out in full Hollywood detail.
I found it very interesting that Leckie mentioned a couple of times that America sent it’s boys off to war with no war songs and how demoralizing that was. Very interesting insight.
All in all, a must for any and all.
I’d say age range is late high school, just due to some adult themes.
Rated PG-13: Not nearly as graphic as The Pacific. War and Adult Situations.
Dead Six (Dead Six #1)
By Larry Correa and Mike Kupari
It took me a while to get into this book. Granted, I was listening to it on audio book at a time when I could only listen a few minutes a week, so it wasn’t like I was getting to really soak in this book.
But still, the first 2/3 of the book were good but not great. The last third was awesome and well worth the wait.
The story is fairly predictable: two enemies duke it out until they realize they are fighting the same enemy and then they team up at the end and everything works out great.
If you enjoy action flicks you’re pretty used to the repackaging and retelling of these types of stores. They’ve been told and told and retold since before the Vikings and they’re as good now with guns and terrorists as they were in dragon ships and shield walls, cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers. Just good stories.
As always, Correa doesn’t hold back on the violence and the guns. He also doesn’t hold back on the fun and had me giggling at times and sad at times. His books are my favorite “weekend” reads.
Rated R: Language and Violence with some Adult Situations hinted at.