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Matthew Bin

Two books that are on my list but not on yours:

  • The Middle Parts of Fortune by Frederic Manning. A war novel that has no combat -- it takes place between the unit leaving the front line in WWI and returning three weeks later. Stunning novel.
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. I don't know if there's a better modern war novel than this. It's not even a novel, just a collection of short stories, but they intertwine and build together and leave you absolutely gutted by the end. And I would say that they are still completely relevant to the major western wars of imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq today.

I tried to read The Naked and the Dead back in school, not because I had to but because I wanted to read this transformative war novel. It felt ridiculously dated. I made it about two-thirds of the way through before I gave up. I can understand how it was very popular in the time it was written, but I also understand why it fell away so fast. (And I bet the fact that Mailer censored himself has a lot to do with it. They should produce a de-fugged version for today's market and see how it sells.)


I read Heller's Catch-22, years ago and enjoyed it more than the movie. When it comes to WWII, I read mostly non-fiction. My all time favorites are With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge, and pretty much anything written by Cornelius Ryan


Read a fiction here

Ed Seaward

Vonnegut's "Slaughter House Five". Dark and funny like the best of his novels. Most people point to Catch 22 when they talk about early WWII satire, but I have always preferred "Slaugher House Five". For me, Heller's best was "Something Happened"--but it is not war related. It is more diabolical--a middle class life as a middle manager.

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