Military Reading Material

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Merebimur, Nov 29, 2012.

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  1. Evening all,
    I am currently an Oxford[​IMG] Academic, tutoring 5 Undergraduates in modern literature in war.
    I am late of the 15/19 KRH, and a friend of mine who is still serving informed me of ARRSE.
    Myself and my colleagues are baffled as to which modern texts to study, detailing operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.
    The bookshelves seem to be full of trashy, blood and thunder accounts of the conflicts, yet nothing with any depth.
    Could anybody possibly help me out?
    Many Thanks,
  2. "Foxtrot Oscar - Afghanistan 2007 Mission... Stag On" self published by C. Clunge PWR.

    who may or not contribute here occasionally.
  3. Dusty Warriors, written by the previous President of the Battlefields Trust, the late Professor Richard Holmes, is worth a look. Yes, its labelled "military history" rather than "literature" because its written by a prominent historian and the people and places are identified and based on fact. Yet is it is also based on his personal experiences, visiting the PWRR of which he was Regimental Colonel. It also has some literary merit as Richard set a standard for all of us involved with telling war stories.

    I think Richard's experiences in Iraq changed his thinking about military history. After his return he frequently referred to the difficulties of getting to the truth of what actually happened. He would talk about how people could not remember what had happened a few days ago and omit important parts of the story, because e.g. they assumed that "everyone knew" knew the omitted detail. Richard's experience was a reminder that any account is a story and may tell a truth, but not necessarily the truth. There is evidence and interpretation.

    There is a continuum in writing about wars between military history and literature. For example, there are well known accounts of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welch Fusiliers in the Great War written by five authors, all covering some of the same incidents. Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon both wrote fictionalised accounts, which sit in the cannon of English literature. Frank
    Richards wrote a soldiers' personal memoir, Dr J Dunn edited and wrote "The War the Infantry knew" based on recollections by contributors across the Regiment, helped by Siegfried Sassoon, and the Regimental records written by Major Dudley Ward, whose rejection of the soldiers accounts collected by Dunn triggered his account. Which of these are history and which are literature?

    Our current President, Robert Hardy CBE is an Oxford English Graduate and he lives near Oxford. If there is an opportunity to raise money for the cause of battlefield preservation he can occasionally be inveigled into talking about matters literary and military historical.
  4. dockers

    dockers Old-Salt Book Reviewer