I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of you know this from an earlier post. As a result, my reading list is unending. Yesterday’s New York Times has also spotlighted this latest trend of war literature written service men and women, first person narratives of current wars:
The writers say one goal is to explain the complexities of the wars — Afghan and Iraqi politics, technology, the counterinsurgency doctrine of protecting local populations rather than just killing bad guys — to a wider audience. Their efforts, embraced by top commanders, have even bled into military reports that stand out for their accessible prose.
It’s certainly an intriguing development (definitely not surprising), and the bibliography noted at the end of the article is a good start. Mullaney’s The Unforgiving Minute lives on my Goodreads ‘to read’ list. Yet, this list neglects to mention Shoshana Johnson’s memoir, I’m Still Standing, released this month. It’s almost comical, if not ironic. The omission compounds Johnson’s point about her story noticeably absent from mainstream discourse, vibrating just below the radar. For the uninitiated, here’s a clip of her going tete a tete with another veteran. Also absent from the mainstream media narrative is the rising number of women veterans, some who are becoming the fastest growing homeless population. Additionally, in the under-reported category, here’s a link about the effects of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy on African American women in uniform.
I’m also reading The Photographer, the harrowing tale of the late French photographer, Didier Lefèvre, who chronicled the conflict in Afghanistan in 1986 while traveling with Doctors Without Borders.
Speaking of soldiers, during my internet wanderings, I stumbled on DJ Stylus’ recap of the listening party for the highly anticipated Sade album, Soldier of Love. The album comes out today. He also links a few little gems there. Then there’s the soldiers for justice, the late and great Bayard Rustin is the featured profile on my friend Al Letson’s NPR program, State of Re: Union. The episode is also available as a podcast on iTunes.
Lastly, some blog love for my former classmate Stacia Brown (aka slb on postbourgie.com) She’s been writing deeply moving inquiries of family, love, life and baby while she’s on her journey to motherhood. Soldier on, Ma.