Friday, May 23, 2014
With Memorial Day coming up, I wanted to list some books about manliness that are particularly good.
Karl Marlantes What It Is Like to Go to War bravely expels a lot of tiresome myths about combat, and also does a fine job of illuminating PTSD. Marlantes was a decorated war veteran in Vietnam as well as a Rhodes Scholar, and the book sketches with honesty the madness of hypermasculinity and the sort of manliness that is required to survive as a soldier, and afterwards, come to terms with war in morally acceptable ways.
More recently, there is Sebastian Junger's War. Junger is a reporter and he was embedded with Marines in Afghanistan. Like Marlantes, Junger is a deft writer who captures well the paradoxical nature of manliness in war--its destructive, and self-destructive propensities--along with its capacity for intense friendship and sacrifice.