Fiction & Nonfiction Reads for Memorial Day

Rows of American flags stand in a sunlit park among trees, casting long shadows on the green grass.

We salute our fallen and give thanks to our nation’s heroes.

Cartoon of a smiling man with a large mustache, short dark hair, wearing a teal jacket and a white turtleneck.
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Cover of "Half American" by Matthew F. Delmont depicting an African American WWII soldier with military monument background.

Half American by Matthew F. Delmont

This history of World War II as told from the African American perspective looks at the bravery and patriotism of the one million black men and women who served in the face of unfathomable racism.

Cover of "Soldiers Don't Go Mad" by Charles Glass, featuring a soldier in a trench during World War I.

Soldiers Don’t Go Mad by Charles Glass

Drawing on rich source materials as well as his own deep understanding of trauma and war, the author documents the friendship between two great WWI poets and patients at Craiglockhart War Hospital for treatment of shell shock to investigate the roots of what we now know as PTSD.

Book cover of "The Hello Girls: America's First Women Soldiers" by Elizabeth Cobbs, featuring a woman at a switchboard.

The Hello Girls by Elizabeth Cobbs

300 remarkable women known as “The Hello Girls” were selected to operate the vital communications network that helped win WWI. Each came from a different geographic and economic background, but they were united in their fierce patriotism and determination to prove that women had a role to play on the war front, not just the home front.

Book cover of "The Road Ahead: Fiction from the Forever War" edited by Adrian Bonenberger and Brian Castner.

The Road Ahead by Adrian Bonenberger

Twenty-five veterans describe and meditate on the way combat has changed in the decade since U.S. forces arrived in Iraq and Afghanistan through this collection of short stories from Elliot Ackerman, Benjamin Busch, Brandon Caro, Teresa Fazio and many more.

Cover of the book "Sisters in Arms" by Kaia Alderson, featuring two women in military uniforms from World War II.

Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson

The first Black women allowed to serve in the army, Grace Steele and Eliza Jones, helping form the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, navigate their way through the segregated ranks, finally making it overseas where they do their parts for the country they love.

Cover of "Switchboard Soldiers" by Jennifer Chiaverini, featuring women in military uniforms and communication equipment.

Switchboard Soldiers by Jennifer Chiaverini

In 1917, Grace Banker from New Jersey, Marie Moissec from France, and Valerie DeSmedt, originally from Belgium, are recruited as telephone operators, aka switchboard soldiers, to help American forces communicate between troops as bombs fall around them.

Book cover of "The Long Reckoning: A Story of War, Peace, and Redemption in Vietnam" by George Black, featuring a soldier's silhouette.

The Long Reckoning by George Black

This inspirational story follows a small group of veterans, scientists and Quaker-inspired pacifists and their Vietnamese partners as they used their moral authority, scientific and political ingenuity and sheer persistence to heal the horrors left in the wake of the military engagement in Southeast Asia.

Book cover of "The Long March Home" featuring three soldiers silhouetted against a sunset sky.

The Long March Home by Marcus Brotherton

Inspired by a true story, three best friends from Mobile, Alabama are captured in the Philippines during WWII–they vow to return home together. They struggle to survive against impossible odds that becomes known as the Bataan Death March.

Cover of the book "Paths of Dissent: Soldiers Speak Out Against America's Misguided Wars," edited by Andrew Bacevich and Daniel Sjursen.

Paths of Dissent by Andrew J. Bacevich

Collecting 15 original essays from American veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, this book offers first-hand perspectives on what made America’s post-9/11 wars such costly and misguided exercises in futility, documenting how the world’s self-proclaimed greatest military power went so badly astray.

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