As I posted yesterday, I’ve been caught up in the crazy, crazy, crazy story surrounding Russian writer Arkady Babchenko’s alleged murder and subsequent “resurrection,” , with the dramatic revelation at a press conference that the whole thing had been a sting operation and that Babchenko was still very much alive. Although I had not guessed in […]
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Bring Out the Dog Will Mackin Different wars generate different types of literature. This seems obvious, but it’s interesting to note the differences between wars that are happening simultaneously, and even involve some of the same countries, but nonetheless produce stories of different flavors. Case in point: Western literature on the recent war in Iraq […]
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Asan Vladimir Makanin “Asan wants money. Asan wants blood.” Within the emerging genre of “Chechen,” as in referring to the recent Chechen wars, prose, Vladimir Makanin’s “Asan” has engendered controversy. To a field zealously guarded by its veterans, the non-veteran Makanin has contributed two works: the novella “Caucasian Captive” (Кавказский пленный) and now the novel […]
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Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand In “Unbroken,” Laura Hillenbrand returns to tell another story (after “Seabiscuit”) of someone who has been bloodied by adversity, but not broken by it. Louie Zamperini was one of the world’s hottest track stars, breaking record after record and running in the 1936 Olympics. Then WWII broke out, and he ended up […]
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Cross of Iron Willi Heinrich I have to admit that I read this book a long time ago, so perhaps it isn’t as good as I remember. But as I remember, it is incredible, a true classic of combat writing, so I thought I’d write a review of it for German Literature Month 2017. […]
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Sevastopol Sketches Leo Tolstoy Riding on the success of “Childhood,” his first work, burning with patriotism and thirsting for adventure, the young Leo Tolstoy, ardent army officer, requested a transfer to Sevastopol during the Crimean War. His presence there did not win the war for the Russians. But it did launch Tolstoy’s career, provide him […]
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Brave Deeds David Abrams “We double-time across Baghdad on our twelve feet, a mutant dozen-legged beetle dashing from rock to rock, confident in its shell but always careful of the soft belly underneath.” One of the bravest of the brave deeds in “Brave Deeds” may be the daring decision to narrate the book in the […]
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Going Scapegoat David A. Buchanan David Buchanan opens “Going Scapegoat” with a story about getting warned when setting off from a very secure American base on a very safe trip to downtown Riyadh “not to get scalped by no Injuns.” This story sets in motion his examination of scapegoating mechanisms in post-9/11 literary and cultural […]
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All Soldiers Run Away Andy Owen My review of “All Soldiers Run Away,” which was released today, is below. You can read my very interesting interview with Andy Owen about writing the book and about war, literature, and PTSD here and my review of his novel “East of Coker” here. Some soldiers are heroic. But […]
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Recently author Brian Van Reet and I had a long chat about art, war, life–pretty much everything. In Part I of our conversation we discussed, among other things, the process of literary creation, the military-civilian divide, and feasibility of reinstating the draft. The continuation of our conversation is below. EPC: I think it can be hard […]
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