Sunday, May 28, 2006

America's "War and Peace?"

James Webb, former secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration and author of eight books including a novel about the Vietnam War, is now a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Virginia.

Over at the Wall Street Journal he lists his favorite books on the military. Click here for the titles and supporting arguments.

First on his list is Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer (1968), which is, according to Webb, "Quite simply, America's War and Peace."


Martin Levin reviewed the novel for the New York Times: "If this is not the Great American Novel . . . at least it's a mighty big American novel. It represents some 50 years of war and peace, and a surprisingly large chunk of it throbs and pulsates like the real thing."

Myrer died in 1996. His obituary included this item:
Looking back on his own wartime service, Mr. Myrer said: "World War II was the one event which had the greatest impact on my life. I enlisted imbued with a rather flamboyant concept of this country's destiny as the leader of a free world and the necessity of the use of armed force. I emerged a corporal three years later in a state of great turmoil, at the core of which was an angry awareness of war as the most vicious and fraudulent self-deception man had ever devised."
Webb is running against the incumbent George Allen. Allen's favorite book? Reportedly, it's Winning Strategies by George H. Allen (his father).

Earlier I posted an item on Victor Davis Hanson's list of "the definitive books on the battles of the 20th century." Click here to read it.

--Marshal Zeringue