The legacy of war literature is a rich one. You've been telling us about the books that shape your experiences — for Brian in Southfield, Michigan, it was "Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane. Maria in Hollywood, Florida had her eyes opened by the World War II writing of Soviet poets Alexandr Tvardovskiy and Konstantin Simonov.
When Matt Gallagher returned from the Iraq War, he discovered he needed to write his own stories. He is co-editor of "Fire and Forget," a new collection of short stories by Iraq and Afghan war veterans (and their family members) on the experience of modern warfare.
"These are the first protracted wars fought by an all volunteer force, so that puts a completely different spin on the writing that's going to emerge," he said. "Further, it's been over 10 years of war -- two different fronts -- so there's no one narrative, no one story to emerge."
Elizabeth Samet, professor of English at West Point Military Academy, studies war literature, and teaches it to young soldiers-in-training. "There hasn't been a punctuation mark yet. There hasn't been some way to call this over," she says of the war experience -- and the difficult transit many soldiers face as they return to civilian life. "That manifests itself in the way many of these stories are told, in that they bounce back and forth, flashing back and forward to the different settings" of the front line and the home front.
They discuss new literature responding to the Iraq War -- and the literature that helps soldiers make sense of combat. They also respond to listeners' stories of the books that shaped their understanding of war.