We are drawn to stories exactly because we want to know what life is like for other people so we can learn more about ourselves and the world. The only catch is…we have to actually read them. We have to actually listen.Helen Benedict, Why Writing and Reading About War Matters, PBS Blog Regarding War.

STORIES CONNECT US

Only 1% of Americans serve in today’s military. For many, myself included, our connection with the military ended with our parents’ generation and was sealed with the end of the draft. The gap between our lives and those lived by citizens of war zones can seem even larger.

This page is a starting point for veterans, active military, their families, and civilians who want to write, hear or read stories and poetry that illuminate how war impacts us all. Each poem, novel, story, or image has the power to bring us closer.

The links below lead to writing programs, journals, essays, oral histories, interviews, blogs, book reviews, fiction, poetry, nonfiction for all readers, writers and listeners. You’ll find a heavy but not exclusive focus on our most recent wars. They are just the beginning. I hope that the page will evolve with your help. Send along your suggestions for sites to add, links to highlight, interviews, features, or book reviews you found insightful. You can email me here: betsymarro@elizabethmarro.com.

FEATURED LINKS

Stories can open our hearts and minds by making us smile, weep, catch our breath. If we let them, they can guide us toward a closer connection. All the links on this page lead to stories. Here are some short, poignant ones to start with.

READ
Veteran Tenley Lozano on the misperceptions and assumptions she and her service dog encounter among civilians and military alike.
While you are there, check out more War Horse essays that, in only a few words, open up worlds.
Kathleen Rogers:Letting our kids go is never smooth or easy but war makes it much much harder.
WATCH
Guidance with a smile: in five 3-minute videos, Permission to Speak Freely, uses comedy to show how to talk and how NOT to talk to a veteran. The Veterans Coming Home project traveled across the country to shoot these short, poignant videos and conversations with veterans as they try to feel their way home again.
Sometimes photographs convey what words can’t. Here are two collections to visit online:
LISTEN
Hear writers who are veterans read their stories at Incoming:

The number of writing programs for veterans is expanding. Here you’ll find writing programs for veterans along with publications that focus on fiction, nonfiction, and poetry written by veterans and the military community.

Programs

Words After War: Words After War is dedicated to building a community of thoughtful, engaged and skilled veteran writers. Through high-quality literary programming, we provide veterans, their families and civilian supporters with the tools they need to tell their stories.

Veterans Writing Project: The Veterans Writing Project provides no-cost writing seminars and workshops for veterans, service members, and their adult family members. In addition to building an archive of military writing, Veterans Writing Project publishes two journals, O-Dark-Thirty and The Review.

Veterans Voices: Started as an outreach program for veterans returning from World War II, Veterans Voices now serves all veterans including those who have served in the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars and those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with therapeutic writing programs. It also offers the opportunity to have their work published. 

Writers Guild Foundation Veterans Writing Project: 

This project, sponsored by the Writers Guild Foundation, pairs military vets who have a penchant for word-smithing with a collection of WGA-enrolled film and television writers. Those writers mentor the vets in two phases: A weekend-long retreat, and a series of regular meetings throughout the following year. 

Iowa Review: The Iowa Review‘s web-home for veterans’ writing and resources for veteran writers based on the belief a literary magazine can help to provide a point of connection between those who want to write about their experience and those who want to read about and understand it. The site offers the full text of all veteran writing published in the Spring 2013 and 2015 issues of The Iowa Review as well as resources for veterans who wish to publish their writing, submit it to contests, or participate in writing workshops. Includes list of writing resources for veterans who want to write and potentially publish their work. 

Warrior Writers Project: Warrior Writers is a national non-profit with a mission to create a culture that articulates veterans’ experiences, provide a creative community for artistic expression, and bear witness to the lived experiences of warriors.

War Writers Campaign: Publishes collections of work, individual pieces, poetry, and prose to represent the 1%. Submissions to The Campaign will be vetted for publication across time, in multiple formats, and will be available for print and download on demand and in physical print for availability in bookstores worldwide.

Journals

United States

O-Dark-Thirty.

O-Dark-Thirty: The Review 

Iowa Review Spring 2013 

Iowa Review Spring 2015

International:

Consequence Magazine 

Documentaries, oral histories, interviews, and more that explore what it means to serve, to wait for a loved one, to come home from war.

Documentaries & Video Series

Incoming: A collaboration between San Diego’s non-profit literary and performing arts collective, So Say We All, and San Diego’s public broadcasting heroes, KPBS. Stories from the lives of America’s veterans in their own words, from their own mouths. 

Veterans Coming Home: Public media programming covering veterans’ service and sharing the stories of their challenges and triumphs. 

Vietnam Veterans Recount Their Experiences, PBS November 2011 

Witness of War Oral History Project, Presenting the Oral Histories of Combat Veterans  

PBS story about Operation Homecoming: 

8 Films To Watch on Veterans Day (A list with links by PBS)

Blogs, sites, podcasts, interviews, book reviews and more for readers and writers by veterans, military families, and civilians.

Words After War Blog: Essays, book reviews, interviews, commentary and more from Words After War, a literary nonprofit organization bringing veterans and civilians together to examine war & conflict through the lens of literature.

Time Now: This blog features art, music, film, and literature about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. in the final analysis our artists will explain best how the wars were experienced and how they are remembered. 

Presumption and Folly: Jerri Bell, editor of O-Dark-Thirty, is the force behind Presumption and Folly, a site dedicated to writing by (and sometimes about) women veterans. Her goals are to curate writing by women veterans, to bring it to a wider audience, and to encourage more women veterans to write about their experiences. 

Red Bull Rising. Red Bull Rising is a military-focused blog written and edited by Randy Brown—aka “Charlie Sherpa”—”an inveterate punster, a no-bull observer of past and present events, and a proud former citizen-soldier of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry Division (2-34th BCT), Iowa Army National Guard.” Lots of resources here for writers and for readers. Check out the Poetry of War page for links to some beautiful words. 

Uncamouflaged: A Veteran Back in the Real World, Lauren Kay Halloran:  A former Air Force public affairs officer, Lauren Kay Halloran  spent nine months deployed to Afghanistan as part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team. Her mother was a nurse with the Army reserves and served in Desert Storm. She’s completing a memoir about growing up in a military family and her experiences during and after deployment. She lives with her husband, veteran-writer Colin D. Halloran, two cats, and hundreds of books.

Military Spouse Book Review: Book reviews, interviews and essays by military spouses and site founder Andria Williams, the author of The Longest Night to be launched in January 2016.  

The Quivering Pen The Quivering Pen’s motto can be summed up in two words: Book Evangelism. The blog is written and curated by David Abrams, author of the Iraq War comedy Fobbit (Grove/Atlantic, 2012).

Story Corps: Military Voices A collection of recorded stories from veterans and their families.

The Things They Carried: War photographer marks the last steps of vets at home. Photojournalist David Guttenfelder teamed up with Mission 22, an advocacy campaign to raise awareness about the high rate of suicide among veterans. Their slogan is stark: “The American Military’s Deadliest Battleground Isn’t Some Remote Stretch of Desert Across the Globe. It’s Here at Home.”

Guttenfelder visited with five families who had lost a loved one to suicide.

Women and War Part of the 2010 PBS Series, “Regarding War.” Journalists, experts, female soldiers and veterans share their experiences and discuss issues including women in combat, sexual assault in the military and inadequate benefits for female veterans

Veterans Portrait Project photographs of veterans by former military photographer Stacy Pearsall:

Novels, memoir, poetry, anthologies, and lists of books recommended by reviewers, writers, and readers in the literary community. You’ll find work by veterans, civilians, military families, and those who write about how war changed their homelands and them.

Recommended Reading Lists

Matt Gallagher Recommendations for Memorial Day

Words after War “Recommending Reading’ list

New York Times: A Reading List of Modern War Stories

Los Angeles Review of Books: Women Writing War

Biographile: I Am Woman: 5 Books That Celebrate Our Female Veterans

Anthologies

Fire and Forget – anthology edited by Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher

Red White and True: Stories from Veterans and Families, From World War II to the Present, Edited by Tracy Crow

Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace Edited by Maxine Hong Kingston is an anthology of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry—spanning five wars

Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks, From Vietnam to Iraq 

Operation Homecoming

Incoming

By Veterans

Green on Blue by Elliot Ackerman

Hesitation Kills by Jane Blair 

Warrior Princess by Kristin Beck

My War: Killing Time in Iraq by Colby Buzzell

All The Ways We Kill and Die by Brian Castner

The Long Walk by Brian Castner

Consequence by Eric Fair

Kaboom by Matt Gallagher 

Youngblood by Matt Gallagher

Shade it Black by Jessica Goodell with John Hearn 

I’d Walk With my Friends If I Could Find Them by Jesse Goolsby 

Shortly Thereafter by Colin Halloran

A Hard and Heavy Thing by Matthew Hefti

I’m Still Standing by Shoshana Johnson

Rule Number 2 by Heidi Squier Kraft

Redeployment by Phil Klay 

American Sniper by Chris Kyle and Scott McEwan

Battle Rattle by Brandon David Jennings

War of the Encyclopedists by Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite http://www.robinsonkovite.com

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Iraq and Back by Kim Olson

Fives and Twenty Fives by Michael Pitre

Yellow Birds & Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting – Kevin Powers 

War Porn by Roy Scranton

My Life As a Foreign Country and Here, Bullet by Brian Turner

Love My Rifle More than You & Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War  by Kayla Williams http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Author.aspx?id=8112

Quixote in Ramadi by Michelle Wilmot

By Military Family Members

Minefields of the Heart by Sue Diaz

Stateside by Jehanne Dubrow 

Siobhan Fallon You Know When The Men  Are Gone 

The Beauty of What Remains by Susan Johnson Hadler

Be Safe I Love You by Cara Hoffman

Pretty Much True by Chris Jane

American Wife by Taya Kyle and Jim DeFelice

The War Came Home With Him, A Daughter’s Memoir by Catherine Madison

No Man’s War: Irreverent Confessions of an Army Wife by Angie Ricketts

Uniform, poetry by Lisa Stice

The Longest Night, A Novel by Andria Williams

By Civilians

Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk by Ben Fountain

Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter

The Good Soldier & Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel

War by Sebastian Junger

Tribe by Sebastian Junger

Her Own Vietnam by Lynn Kanter

Cementville by Paulette Livers

In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason http://www.bobbieannmason.net

Wounded Warriors, Wounded Wives by Barbara McNally

Machine Dreams by Jayne Anne Phillps 

Sparta by Roxana Robinson 

Flashes of War by Katey Shultz

New perspectives 

The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon (2010)

The Sympathizer by Viet Nguyen.

A Fort of Nine Towers by Qais Akbar Omar