For the past few years, professor Timothy Demy and Major General John J. Salesses, USMC(ret.), have been teaching the elective the Pen and the Sword at the US Naval War College. It’s a class, Demy says, that uses the literature of war to explore the relationship between the fiction and reality, the written word and the lived experience.
Students study leadership, ethics, and the experience of war from the pens of those who have experienced it as well as those who have imagined it. A while back I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Demy and talk about books, poetry, and the state of reading in the military today.
I don’t read too much fiction these days. Not NONE, but not as much as I used to. And even then, my tastes ran more to paperbacks at the PX than the classics.
Still, I’m not totally unlettered.
Just off the top of my head:
- The Aubrey-Maturin series (Master & Commander to you heathens)
- The Bolithio series
- Clancy, of course
- Harold Coyle
- Leonard B. Scott
- Stephen Coonts
- The Horatio Hornblower series
- Cornwell’s Sharpe’s series
- Flashman (well, some of them. I hate to admit I don’t really enjoy them much)
- The Honor Harrington novels
What military(ish) fiction do you read? Recommend?