No matter what one's position on a given war, it’s often hard to put language on it. War is so colored by politics and the press, it’s sometimes hard to understand why people are fighting—as our recent wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan make abundantly clear.
But literature can help us. It can give us the context to understand war, because even if there are politics in a story, they’re deeply personal—they’re about people, and not just soundbites. Novels often recognize that there really aren’t concrete winners and losers. And, more often than not, they acknowledge the surreality of war.
Our friend, Patrik Henry Bass, senior editor at Essence Magazine, has read many books about war. And he’s here with some that have helped him to better understand how it touches people’s lives.