Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Seven books by veterans about serving in the U.S. military

John Milas enlisted in the US Marine Corps at age nineteen and subsequently deployed to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan in support of OEF 10.1. He was honorably discharged from active service in 2012.

After his discharge, he earned both his BA and MFA in creative writing.

His new book is The Militia House.

At Electric Lit Milas tagged seven books by "writers whose books break the standard of sanitized, routine portrayals of life and war in the US military. Their work faces the truth head on." One title on the list:
The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford

Gustav Hasford’s absurd and surreal novel, The Short-Timers, is terrifying between the nauseating violence and the voice of the narrator, Joker, whose ironic and sarcastic responses to atrocity will contrast sharply with the reader’s reaction, hence his nickname. The novel sees Joker, a United States Marine Corps combat correspondent, and his photographer, Rafter Man, roaming an urban battle in the city of Hue as they search for propaganda for the military newspaper. Along the way, they encounter unspeakably horrific scenes and unspeakably horrific people. Hasford punctuates the insanity of the Vietnam War by blurring reality with satire and even genre, sprinkling all kinds of surreal and exaggerated details throughout the book including a literal vampire in one scene. Hasford attended Clarion and was pressured to cut the werewolves in an early draft, but a trace of them remains in the form of haunting figurative language.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue