I’ve been collecting books about the war to read over the summer.
I decided, at the beginning of this project, to hold off on reading historical material on the war. I wanted to follow my grandfather’s experience through his eyes as long as I could (keeping the opinions of historians and authors at bay). His letters from Camp Funston provided day-to-day accounts of his life in training. But once he arrived in Europe, that level of detail changed dramatically. He wasn’t allow to write about place, tactics, or even his feelings.
From now on–through the battles, his injury, recovery and homecoming–I have to rely more heavily on the accounts of others, of historians, authors, and filmmakers, to better understand Grandpa’s experience.
You’ll see from my collection of books, that I’m drawn to literary accounts. These authors don’t use the war as a backdrop–although the horrors live on the page–but seem to do what I’m struggling to do: make meaning of an experience that was largely incomprehensible to those who endured it, my grandfather among them.
Send along other titles for me to consider. That scrap of paper on my desk holds the title of a book coming out this summer. It was recommended by a well-read cashier at my favorite indie bookstore in Pasadena, at Vroman’s.