This poem is from The Oyster-Stuffed Locker by Hudson Phillips
The surface of the helmet was stolid and done,
no trace of country, or religion, or human character
could be summoned should I tap upon it
to awaken the wearer.
To be thus, unknown, is the ultimate price that war exacts.
I placed it on my head,
grimacing in mock ferocity and bucking my teeth,
like a cat with a rat’s leftovers,
squinting my eyes like a Samurai warrior and shouting “Banzai.”
A sweet, coconut-scented hair oil could be detected along the sweat band
that argued the point,
and I took it off immediately.
The owner had been a man,
who smelled like other men,
his smell mingling with mine –
It was all so far away, and long ago,
and I was just eleven.
I was originally planning to include this bibliography of sorts at the end of this blog, but I did ask what books, Gabrielle, over at gehistorian had, so that site now wants to see mine. My library is always growing, so I’m certain there will be more added to this along the way.
WWII: A Tribute in Art and Literature – Time/Life
Return to the Philippines – Time/Life Books
The Pacific War Remembered – John Mason Jr.
Veterans of the VFW Pictorial History – Volumes 2 & 4
Movie Lot to Beachhead – Look
US Army Paratroopers 1943-45 – Gordon Rottman
Five Came Back – Mark Harris
Surviving the Sword – Brian MacArthur
Going Home to Glory – David Eisenhower
Combat Pacific – Don Cogdon
The Last Great Victory – Stanley Weintraub
The Rising Sun – John Toland
Rakassans – Gen. E.M. Flanagan
The Pacific War – Saburo…
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Edited by Adrian Bonenberger and Brian Castner. Published by Pegasus Books of New York and London in 2017. $24.95
Reviewed by MAMF Board Member Allen Dale Olson
If you have never experienced combat, chances are that anything you have assumed about it is incorrect. That becomes evident as you read through the stories of 24 seasoned combat veterans in The Road Ahead, each providing a view of America’s “Forever War.”
This 349-page volume is one of the newest anthologies to arrive in the library of the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF), a gift from the publisher, signed by the principal editor.
Each of the contributing writers saw serious combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and each of them has written for some of America’s most prestigious journals – The New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, and so on. They know how to make their words reflect the horrors, the challenges, the triumphs, the failures of combat along with both the misguided and the inspired decisions of commanders and politicians who give shape to these never-ending wars.
The stories are presented as fiction, but there is no doubting that the stories are fact, true experiences, written from having been there.
One story takes you through the pain and anguish of changed family relations after deployment , another details what it’s like to see your bones protrude from where your lower leg flesh used to be, and yet another takes you inside a tribal meeting in an Afghani village to learn just how the elders view the American presence.
These writers hide nothing, spare nothing. Candidly they shed tears and they rage, they show compassion, and they boast. The women veterans are frank about sexuality in combat zones and their personal need to succeed in every way concerning the mission.
This book is literature of our new times, a nation constantly at war; it describes a new reality of who we are as a nation, having reached a place from which we cannot retreat; but more importantly, it points out that war is far more costly than the dollars needed to fight it. And finally, it shows the reality that for some, for many, returning to civilian society is more challenging than facing an enemy on the battlefield.
MAMF is proud to add this volume to its library