Writing Wars

For Memorial Day, this week’s review engages with war fiction dating back to WWI and raises the question of who should author stories of war.

Writing Wars: Authorship and American War Fiction, WWI to Present

Eisler, David F. Iowa, 2022
266p bibl index, 9781609388652 $92.50, 9781609388669 $92.50

Writing Wars: Authorship and American War Fiction, WWI to Present book cover.

Eisler’s purpose in writing this book is to demonstrate how the evolving relationship between American society and the armed forces has shaped war literature since WW I. A scholar of culture and literary studies and formerly on active duty with the US Army, Eisler braids print culture, political science, military history, and psychology into his exploration of recent war fiction in a way that is broad yet simultaneously intimate. He asks an overarching question: Who is entitled to describe the experiences of the active-duty service member and the veteran? In telling the story of war, do civilians have the same moral authority as soldiers? How do war stories told from different authorial positions differ? These questions are of paramount importance in the burgeoning field of veteran studies, and this text will undoubtedly cast a long shadow there and in the field of cultural history and memory. This brilliant, deeply interdisciplinary study is Eisler’s first book, but with it he joins the ranks of Jay Winter, Samuel Hynes, and Paul Fussell. A stunning achievement.

Summing Up: Essential. All readers.
Reviewer
: K. B. Hannel, Saint Leo University
Subject: Humanities – Language & Literature – English & American
Choice Issue: Sep 2023


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