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Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian Book List

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Were you ever in the middle of reading a book and thought to yourself, “I really hope this is fiction!” Well, that was my reaction after reading the first three pages of “In the Field,” a short story excerpt from The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. It was part of the compilation, Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian—which I was reading for a Veterans Book Discussion Group at the Bronx Library Center. This work was published by the Great Books Foundation as an initiative to develop reading and discussion programs for veterans, as well as their families, friends, service providers, and caregivers.

The Bronx Library Center as well as several other branches in the New York Public Library system are hosting these discussions courtesy of the New York Council for the Humanities.

Veterans, their family members and interested individuals are invited to participate. Veterans who participate in the series will receive a free copy of the book. If you are interested in joining us, please call 718-579-4253 or visit the Bronx Library Center to register. We'll be meeting on the following Wednesdays at 10:30 am April 29, May 13, May 27 and June 27, 2015.

As a civilian, I have to say reading this text has given me greater insight into the intricacies of war and deeper appreciation of the sacrifices made by our service members. Hearing from veteran participants really enriches and enlightens the discussion bringing an added depth that only actual experience can bring.

Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian is comprised of the forty-four selections listed below:

Iliad (selection) - Homer
The Melian Dialogue - Thucydides
Henry VI, Part I (selection) - William Shakespeare
Letters - New York Legislature / George Washington
On Discipline In Democratic Armies - Alexis de Toqueville
The Gettysburg Address - Abraham Lincoln
The Charge of the Light Brigade - Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Whitman on Caregiving - Walt Whitman
War and Peace (selection) - Leo Tolstoy
The Moral Equivalent of War - Williams James
Why War? - Sigmund Freud
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death - William Butler Yeats
The Veteran - Stephen Crane
Italian Ordeal Surprises Congress - Anne O’Hare McCormick
Poems - Wilfred Owen
To a Conscript of 1940 - Herbert Read
Soldier’s Home - Ernest Hemingway
Reporting the War in Tunisia - Ernie Pyle
Guests of the Nation - Frank O’Connor
A Negro Looks at This War - J. Saunders Redding
These Terrible Records of War - James Agee
Tarawa: The Story of a Battle (selection) - Robert Sherrod
The Price We Pay In Italy - Eric Sevareid
Revisiting My Memoir - Edward W. Wood Jr.
Village - Estela Portillo Tremblay
It Is Dangerous to Read Newspapers - Margaret Atwood
A Rumor of War (selection) - Philip Caputo
What It Is Like to Go to War (selection) - Karl Marlantes
In Pharaoh’s Army (selection) - Tobias Wolff
The Things They Carried (selection) - Tim O’Brien
Facing It - Yusef Komunyakaa
A Piece of My Heart (selection) - Anne Simon Auger as told to Keith Walker
A Journey Taken with My Son - Myrna Bein
Reclamation - John Berens
The Good Soldiers (selection) - David Finkel
The Boy Without a Flag - Abraham Rodriguez Jr.
Perimeter Watch - Brian Turner
Dust to Dust (selection) - Benjamin Busch
Medevac Missions - Ed Hrivnak
You Know When the Men Are Gone (selection) - Siobhan Fallon
Veterans - Brian Humphreys
The Hardest Letter to Write - Parker Gyokeres
Shallow Hands - Michael Poggi
To the Fallen - John McCary

To find out which other libraries are offering this program, please visit the Outreach Services page.

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