Memorial Day Library Picks

Jackson District Library

Library Picks

For May 27, 2007

By Jill Marie Mason

Since it is Memorial Day weekend, let’s take the opportunity to look at some library titles related to U.S. Military Service--in remembrance of all the men and women who have lost their lives while fighting for our country.

My Grandpa served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a ball turret gunner on the B-24 bomber, Little Rebel—among others. While browsing the shelves for war related titles, I came across a book about a 12-man crew much like the one my Grandpa was part of. In Wings of Morning, historian Thomas Childers tells the story of the last American bomber shot down over Germany in WWII, a B-24 known as the Black Cat. Childers, nephew of the bomber’s radio operator, carefully reconstructed the lives and tragic deaths of the men of the Black Cat. This is a very insightful piece of historical fiction.

Not much is said about women soldiers in wars of old. I was quite pleased when I came across a number of books on the subject. They Fought Like Demons by DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook documents the lives and experiences of 250 women on both sides of the Civil War who fought while disguised as men. Added bonus: it includes some images.

Many of us have loved ones who have served or are currently on duty in Iraq. See the war through their eyes in, A Soldiers’ Portfolio, This is our War: Servicemen’s Photographs of Life in Iraq. Devin Friedman presents this collection of amateur photographs which provide an intimate look at war. The proliferation of digital cameras has certainly allowed this to be the most documented war in history (from a soldier’s perspective).

An even more intimate look into the downside of war is given in Last Letters Home: Voices of Americans from the Battlefields of Iraq. This book, published by Life Magazine, shares the stories of fourteen families. It is a very touching and intensely emotional presentation of soldiers’ letters and photographs.

On a lighter note, how will you spend your Memorial Day? If you are having a barbecue, you could spruce it up with some patriotic music. Check out Celebrate America, a collection of 35 patriotic songs by the O’Neill Brothers. Or have a video marathon with the 4 disc set of The Complete DVD History of U.S. Wars 1700-2004. Whatever you choose to do, surround yourself with loved ones and remember those you’ve lost.