"Your War" - Books, Films, Games and Veteran Sensitivities

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Andy_S, Feb 4, 2010.

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  1. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    Was interested to read some responses to the Falklands game thread.

    As a researcher/writer on the Korean War, I am surprised at some of the sensitivities raised, in that the veterans I have spoken to (around 100, now, from Aussie, Belgium, Canada and US as well as UK) were, on the whole, very keen to tell their stories. They are all now, in their twlight years, and would rather sit down and talk to a civilian (me) about their experiences than have their memories and stories disappear. There is a strong sense that their war has been forgotten, hence their openness to speaking (about some very personal and in many cases, traumatic) issues to someone with a genuine interest.

    I always give interviewees an 'out' ("If there is any question you don't wish to answer, just say so, we will move on to the next question.") To my surprise, none have so far taken that route, though a couple have asked to go off-the-record (ie their statements will not be attributed). And this is sensitive material; I have heard about some very severe cases of PSTD, and two first-hand accounts by participants of what might be considered war crimes.

    Are veterans of whatever recent conflict (Dhofar, NI, Falklands, Gulf, WOT) unhappy to speak to:
    Authors?
    Reporters?
    Producers?
    Game designers?
    If so, why so? What particular medium are you distrustful of?

    Also, if you are a veteran, what is your reaction upon seeing 'your' war reproduced in:
    Film/TV?
    Books?
    Games?

    Full disclosure:
    I am currently writing, for an upcoming book, on the differences between current gen soldiers and their predecessors, but doubt if I will use any material on this thread - an anonymous online forum is not a credible source. What I am trying to get a sense of is whether today's veterans are, for whatever reason, more sensitive than yesterday's. If I DO want to go on the record with anyone who replies, I will PM him for his ID and permission to quote.

    Thanks in advance for any replies. Feel free to PM me if you wish.