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If you like books on Wartime

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

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The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and of course, the character Tim O'Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships, we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends, and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the minefield, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other because in Vietnam they are the only family they have. We hear the voices of the men and build images upon their dialogue. The way they tell stories about others, we hear them telling stories about themselves. (catalog summary)
 

Looking for a wartime fiction title to read this Veteran's Day weekend? Check out the selections below.


The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. KiernanThe Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan
On June 5, 1944, as dawn rises over a small town on the Normandy coast of France, Emmanuelle is making the bread that has sustained her fellow villagers in the dark days since the Germans invaded her country. Only twenty-two, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at thirteen, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when they pulled Ezra from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers stolen away and never seen again. In the years that her sleepy coastal village has suffered under the enemy, Emma has silently, stealthily fought back. Each day, she receives an extra ration of flour to bake a dozen baguettes for the occupying troops. And each day, she mixes that precious flour with ground straw to create enough dough for two extra loaves—contraband bread she shares with the hungry villagers. Under the cold, watchful eyes of armed soldiers, she builds a clandestine network of barter and trade that she and the villagers use to thwart their occupiers. But her gift to the village is more than these few crusty loaves. Emma gives the people a taste of hope—the faith that one day the Allies will arrive to save them. (amazon.com)
 



The Boat Runner by Devin MurphyThe Boat Runner by Devin Murphy
Beginning in the summer of 1939, fourteen-year-old Jacob Koopman and his older brother, Edwin, enjoy lives of prosperity and quiet contentment. Many of the residents in their small Dutch town have some connection to the Koopman lightbulb factory, and the locals hold the family in high esteem. On days when they aren't playing with friends, Jacob and Edwin help their Uncle Martin on his fishing boat in the North Sea, where German ships have become a common sight. But conflict still seems unthinkable, even as the boys' father naively sends his sons to a Hitler Youth Camp in an effort to secure German business for the factory. When war breaks out, Jacob's world is thrown into chaos. The Boat Runner follows Jacob over the course of four years, through the forests of France, the stormy beaches of England, and deep within the secret missions of the German Navy, where he is confronted with the moral dilemma that will change his life and his life's mission—forever. Epic in scope and featuring a thrilling narrative with precise, elegant language, The Boat Runner tells the little-known story of the young Dutch boys who were thrown into the Nazi campaign, as well as the brave boatmen who risked everything to give Jewish refugees safe passage to land abroad. Through one boy's harrowing tale of personal redemption, here is a novel about the power of people's stories and voices to shine light through our darkest days, until only love prevails. (catalog summary)
 



Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter Dumaux Edmonds

Drums Along the Mohawk
by Walter Dumaux Edmonds

When newlyweds Gilbert and Lana Martin settle in the Mohawk Valley in 1776, they work tirelessly against the elements to build a new life. But even as they clear land and till the soil to establish their farm, the shots of the Revolutionary War become a rallying cry for both the loyalists and the Patriots. Soon, Gil and Lana see their neighbors choose sides against each other—as British and Iroquois forces storm the valley, targeting anyone who supports the revolution. (catalog summary)


 



The Fire By Night by Teresa MessineoThe Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo
In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo's heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school. Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of the thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and lives to see her beloved friend Jo once more. When the conflict, at last, comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that's forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo's thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time. (amazon.com)
 



The Frozen Hours: A Novel of the Korean War by Jeff ShaaraThe Frozen Hours: A Novel of the Korean War by Jeff Shaara
June, 1950: the North Korean army, a formidable force backed by Soviet arms and training, invades South Korea, with the intent of uniting the country under Communist rule. In response, the United States mobilizes a force to defend the overmatched South Korean troops. But the US is no better equipped than their allies. The American and United nation's troops are fighting for their lives against the most brutal weather conditions imaginable, and an enemy that outnumbers them more than six to one. This struggle, and how the Americans respond, form the core of this novel. The Frozen Hours tells the story of "Frozen Chosin" from multiple points of view: Oliver P. Smith, the commanding general of the American 1st Marine Division, who famously redefined defeat as "advancing in a different direction"; Marine Private Pete Riley, a World War II veteran who now faces the greatest fight of his life; and the Chinese commander Sung Shi-Lun, charged with destroying the Americans he has so completely surrounded, ever aware that above him, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung watches his every move. (catalog summary)
 



I Shall Be Near to You: A Novel by Erin Lindsay McCabe
I Shall Be Near to You: A Novel
by Erin Lindsay McCabe

An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband in the Civil War, inspired by a real female soldier's letters home. Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father's side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier. With him, she faces the difficult realities of the Civil War, marriage, and staying true to herself. (from catalog summary)
 



The Lie by Helen Dunmore
The Lie 
by Helen Dunmore

Cornwall, 1920. Daniel Branwell has survived the First World War and returned to the small fishing town where he was born. Behind him are the trenches and the most intense relationship of his life. As he works on the land, struggling to make a living in the aftermath of war, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the traumas of the past and memories of his dearest friend and his first love. As the drama unfolds, Daniel is haunted by the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie. Set in France during the First World War and in postwar Cornwall, this is a deeply moving and mesmerizing story of the 'men who marched away. (catalog summary)

 



One Man's Flag by David Downing
One Man's Flag
by David Downing

Spring 1915. As the Great War burns its way across Europe, Jack McColl, a spy for His Majesty's Navy, is stationed in India, charged with defending the Empire against Bengali terrorists and their German allies. In England, meanwhile, suffragette journalist Caitlin Hanley begins the business of rebuilding her life after the execution of her brother, an Irish republican sympathizer whose plot Jack McColl—Caitlin's ex-lover—had foiled. The war is changing everything, and giving a fresh impulse to those causes—feminism, socialism, and Irish independence—which she as a journalist has long supported. The threat of a Rising in Dublin alarms McColl's bosses as much as it dazzles Caitlin. It was one Irish plot which came between Jack and Caitlin in 1914, and it will take another to bring them back together, as both enemies and lovers. (catalog summary)
 



Spoils: A Novel by Brian Van Reet
Spoils: A Novel
by Brian Van Reet

It is April 2003. American forces have taken Baghdad and are now charged with winning hearts and minds. But this vital tipping point is barely recognized for what it is, as a series of miscalculations and blunders fuels an already smoldering insurgency intent of making Iraq the next graveyard of empires. This novel explores the lives on both sides of the battle lines: Cassandra Wigheard, a nineteen-year-old gunner on an American Humvee who is captured during a deadly firefight and awakens in a prison cell; Abu Al-Hool, a lifelong mujahideen beset by a simmering crisis of conscience as he struggles against enemies from without and within, including the next wave of far more radicalized jihadists; and Specialist Sleed, a tank crewman who goes along with a "victimless" crime, the consequences of which are more terrible than any he could have imagined. (catalog summary)