Being a Veteran does not make you a better author then non-veterans. The experiences give the Veteran author a different perspective of the human experience.
Is possible to experience combat and ever be the ‘same’ person again?
Idealism dies hard in the trenches of Europe, jungles of Viet Nam or main streets of Iraq.
These are my favorite Veteran authors.
1. Ernest Hemingway: Served in the Italian military ambulance corps during WWI, so Ernie is sort of a veteran and the Italians were on the winning side, this time. During WWII he arrived in France as the Allies fought the Germans, hanging out with the rear troops. Doesn’t that count?
2. David Hackworth: Korean War and Viet Nam War. Truly a stud- earning several Purple Heart Medals and all the valor awards minus the MOH. His first hand accounts of Korea and Viet Nam are a must read. He was in to win, then saw the political nature of the Viet Nam war and poor generalship which destroyed his respect for the America. After he moved to Australia COL Hackworth gave his medals away- truly a clean slate.
3. Tim O’Brien: Viet Nam War. He did his duty serving in a very unpopular war, even after considering a trek to Canada. No doubt Tim’s books are a must read; especially “The Things They Carried” and “If I die in the Combat Zone”. Frequently sporting a Boston Red Sox hat only enhances his image.
1. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: WWII French combat pilot, killed in action in the Mediterranean Theater. We have all read “The Little Prince” at too young an age to appreciate what Saint-Exupery was really writing. The combat pilot/author/airmail pioneer wrote of his experiences flying mail to Africa and South America. Sadly, Antoine’s life was cut short during his last flight.
2. JRR Tolkein: Britain: WWI; Lancaster Fusiliers[Fancy name for Infantry]. JRR survived the battle of the Somme and went on to write “The Hobbit” as well as the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
3. George Orwell: Republican Faction, Spanish Civil War. The author of “1984”, “Down and Out in Paris and London” and “Animal Farm” was shot in throat by an sniper and survived- truly a literary bad-ass. He was a Socialist but saw the potential for failure in both capitalist and socialist/communist governments.