Veterans' Day was formerly observed in the United States as Armistice Day in commemoration of the signing of the Armistice ending World War II. On May 24, 1954, November 11th officially became Veterans' Day by an Act of Congress. The day is meant to honor all people who have fought in defense of the United States. Here is a list of titles that range from the timeless classics to the modern, from those that you probably read in high school to those that are more famous for being movies.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.
Bombardier Yossarian desperately tries to stay alive during World War II. Military rules make it impossible for anyone to achieve the combat quota necessary to quit flying. Yossarian and his buddies concoct ways to avoid the ridiculous orders of their officers. Strong language and descriptions of sex.
Download Catch-22, DB48063
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.
A wounded Confederate soldier leaves the war on an arduous trek to his mountain home and the woman he aims to marry. Meanwhile, his intended struggles to work her deceased father's hardscrabble farm. Depicts hardship, peril, and courage in the wartime South. Strong language and violence. Bestseller.
Download Cold Mountain, DB44762
The Dirty Dozen by E. M. Nathanson.
Europe, 1944. Twelve U.S. military renegades serving life sentences or facing execution are given a last-chance mission behind Nazi lines. Led by Captain John Reisman, the convicts endure a rigorous training, and are then dropped in France ahead of the Normandy invasion. Explicit descriptions of sex, violence, and strong language. 1965.
Download The Dirty Dozen, DB56679
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.
Romance between American lieutenant Frederic Henry in the ambulance service in Italy during World War I and the English nurse Catherine Barkley, who tends him when he is wounded. When Catherine becomes pregnant, she refuses to marry Frederic.
Download A Farewell to Arms, DB49506
From Here to Eternity by James Jones.
Army life in Hawaii before World War II, centering on the conflict and bond between two men: Pfc. Prewitt, a bugler and unwilling ex-boxer, and First Sergeant Warden, who risks his career for an affair with his commanding officer's wife. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. National Book Award. 1951.
Download From Here to Eternity, DB56319
Hope Unseen by Scott Smiley and Doug Crandall.
Account of U.S. Army Captain and Ranger Scotty Smiley, who after losing his sight during a suicide-bomber attack in Iraq, became the first active-duty blind officer. Covers Smiley's post-injury accomplishments, including earning an MBA, winning an ESPY, climbing Mount Rainier, and teaching leadership at West Point. Discusses his faith. 2010.
Download Hope Unseen: The Story of the U.S. Army's First Blind Active-Duty Officer, DB71909
A Few Good Women by Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee.
The authors of And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in World War II (RC 59736) use archives and personal interviews to compile a history of American military women. They describe the duties assigned to women, struggles for equal pay and opportunity, and the fight against sexual indignities. 2010.
Download A Few Good Women: America's Military Women from World War I to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, DB71261
Flyboys by James Bradley.
Bradley of Flags of Our Fathers (RC 50264) recounts events that led to the bombing of Japanese communication towers on Chichi Jima by nine American airmen in 1945. Discusses Japanese-American relations and reveals the horrors endured by the men who died and by the one survivor, George H.W. Bush. Violence. Bestseller. 2003.
Download Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, DB57005
The Iliad by Homer.
Robert Fagles's 1990 translation of the Greek epic poem written during the eighth century B.C.E. and attributed to Homer. Relates the events of a few days of battle near the end of the Trojan War. Focuses on Achilles's withdrawal from the fight and its disastrous effects on the Greek campaign. 1990.
Download The Iliad, DB66356
Jarhead: a Marine's chronicle of the Gulf War and other battles by Anthony Swofford.
A memoir by a former sniper describing the reactions of U.S. marines to the difficulties of life and war during the Desert Storm operation in 1991. The author relates how he enlisted after high school and was sent at age twenty to Saudi Arabia to face combat. Violence and strong language. Bestseller. 2003.
Download Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles, DB55726
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer.
Classic novel of World War II. An American infantry platoon invades the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Mailer explores the soldiers' behavior and emotions under the extreme stress of jungle warfare. Strong language and some violence. 1948.
Download The Naked and the Dead, DB53839
Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War by Stephen Crane.
This first un-romanticized novel of the Civil War to attain popularity portrays a country boy who enthusiastically enlists with the Union army during the Civil War. Wanting to prove himself a hero, but experiencing shock and fear on the battle front, he finally revives his courage and self-respect in a crucial war advance.
Download The red badge of courage: an episode of the American Civil War, DB22405
A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo.
Ex-Marine Corps lieutenant relates his harrowing, sixteen-month tour of duty in Vietnam. Describes his fellow soldiers' courage and corruption in "a story about war, about the things men do in war and the things war does to them." Includes twentieth-anniversary postscript. Violence and strong language. 1977.
Download A Rumor of War, DB59157
Soldier from the War Returning: The Greatest Generation's Troubled Homecoming from World War II by Thomas Childers.
Documents the hardships experienced by U.S. veterans who returned home from World War II. Discusses problems such as unemployment, homelessness, alienation, and physical and psychological wounds. Highlights the lives of a former prisoner of War, an infantryman without legs, and the author's father, who suffered from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress. 2009.
Download Soldier from the War Returning: The Greatest Generation's Troubled Homecoming from World War II, DB69256
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John Le Carré.
After the last British agent behind the Iron Curtain has been killed by an East German agent, the British send a secret agent, posing as a defector, to trap the East German and destroy him.
Download The spy who came in from the cold, DB16772
The Thin Red Line by James Jones.
A multi-level fictional chronicle of the amphibious military operation in the World War II Guadalcanal campaign. Explores the collective behavior of a wide and varied cross-section of American military men, from the Big Brass who observe the strategy to the fighting men who carry out the battle plans without knowing or caring about them. 1962.
Download The Thin Red Line, DB14614
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.
In the title story, which serves as an introduction to a series of twenty-two related stories, O'Brien uses the paraphernalia that young American soldiers in Vietnam carried as a metaphor for their inner burdens--cowardice, peer pressure, self-delusion, and fear. He continues the sequence with discussions about his own decision not to flee to Canada, friends, fetishes, killing, love, and how to tell a true war story. Strong language and violence.
Download The Things They Carried, DB34768
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
Epic historical novel portrays five aristocratic families against the background of Russian social life during the Napoleonic Wars (1805-1814). Depicts campaign battles, the burning of Moscow, and the French army's winter retreat. 2007 translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. 1869.
Download War and Peace, DB67136
War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk.
Navy captain Victor Henry and his sons Warren and Byron join in the fight against the Nazis and the Japanese. Meanwhile Byron's Jewish wife and son are stranded in Europe and sent to a prison camp. Some strong language. 1978.
Download War and Remembrance, DB56764
War Is . . . . : Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk about War by Marc Aronson and Patricia J. Campbell.
Anthology of memoirs, poems, letters, and fiction that illustrate the life of a soldier at war. Servicemen and servicewomen, family members, journalists, and others depict experiences of adventure, terror, boredom, and mental and physical duress. Some violence and some strong language. For senior high readers. 2008.
Download War Is . . . . : Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk about War, DB68729
We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway.
Retired lieutenant general Moore and military correspondent Galloway follow up their account of combat in We Were Soldiers Once--and Young: Ia Drang, the Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam (RC 38628) by returning to the battlefield with American veterans and meeting with former North Vietnamese commanders. Violence. 2008.
Download We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam, DB67672