How Veterans Are Using Fiction To Tell The Truth Of War

After 14 years of fighting, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are turning to fiction as a way … Continued

How Veterans Are Using Fiction To Tell The Truth Of War

After 14 years of fighting, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are turning to fiction as a way to share their war stories. Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times lists several military authors, and some civilians, who are able to depict war more honestly with lies than with truth.

In “The Yellow Birds” Army veteran Kevin Powers describes combat as a intense combination of adrenaline, chaos, and confusion: “We heard bullets, sounds like small rips in the air, reports of rifles from somewhere we couldn't see. I was struck by a kind of lethargy, in awe of the decisiveness of every single attenuated moment.”

In Phil Klay’s “Redeployment,” the Marine veteran inserts a Navy chaplain into the story to better address the moral ambiguity of war: “I see mostly normal men, trying to do good, beaten down by horror, by their inability to quell their own rages.”

James Clark

James Clarkis the Deputy Editor of Task & Purpose and a Marine veteran. He oversees daily editorial operations, edits articles, and supports reporters so they can continue to write the impactful stories that matter to our audience. In terms of writing, James provides a mix of pop culture commentary and in-depth analysis of issues facing the military and veterans community. Contact the author here.

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