Book battles: Pick up a war-related book for Veterans Day



■ Veterans Day Art & Music Extravaganza, presented by Operation Revamp and the Veterans Art Center, has a lineup of free entertainment planned from 1–9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St.

Here is the schedule: from 1–6 p.m. the Veterans Art Exhibit will be open; 1–2 p.m., veterans’ storytelling; 2–4 p.m., variety show in the theater; 4–7 p.m., entertainment in the Avalon’s mezzanine with Donna Fullerton, Virginia Depuw, Mathias Mulumba and Bruce Lohmiller; 5–7 p.m., No Outlet will perform; 6–7 p.m., VIP meet and greet; 6:30 p.m., the live auction will begin; 7:30 p.m., Jeneve Rose Mitchell will perform.

Tickets are required for admission to the evening concert with Jeneve Rose Mitchell. They are free and can be picked up at the Veterans Art Center, 307 S. 12th St., or Call 462-3126 for information.

■ There will be a Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at the Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial Park in Fruita.

■ There will be a Veterans Day Open House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Help Hospitalized Veterans Community-Based Arts and Crafts Center, 1670 North Ave. Tour the center and enjoy refreshments. There will be root beer floats at 2 p.m., prize drawings at 3 p.m. and craft kits for veterans. Call 424-0499 for information.

■ The Colorado Mesa University Veterans Services and Student Veterans Association will host a flag-raising ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, in front of the Veterans Memorial on the west side of Lowell Heiny Hall on CMU’s campus.

■ The 2016 Veterans Day Parade begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, with the parade moving west on Main Street from Eighth to Third streets.


There are many titles that could fall under the heading of “war reads.” Here are some to consider picking up at a bookstore or library.


■ “Band of Brothers” by Stephen Ambrose

■ “Black Hawk Down” by Mark Bowden

■ “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand

■ “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10” by Marcus Luttrell

■ “American Sniper” by Chris Kyle

■ “All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To” by Stuart Laycock

■ “Churchill, Hitler and ‘The Unnecessary War’: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World” by Patrick J. Buchanan

■ “In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan” by Seth G. Jones

■ “We Were Soldiers Once … and Young: Ia Drang -The Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam” by Harold G. Moore

■ “Flags of Our Fathers” by James D. Bradley

■ “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

■ “The Longest Day” by Cornelius Ryan

■ “A Bridge Too Far” by Cornelius Ryan

■ “Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany” by Stephen E. Ambrose

■ “The Rape of Nanking” by Iris Chang

■ “I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousefzai

■ “They Shall Not Have Me” by Jean Helion

■ “Schindler’s List” by Thomas Keneally

■ “The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon” by Alex Kershaw

■ “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu

■ “The Forever War” by Dexter Filkins

■ “Flyboys” by James Bradley

■ “1776” by David McCullough

■ “Generation Kill” by Evan Wright

■ “The Guns of August” by Barbara Tuchman




■ “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy

■ “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque

■ “Asterlitz” buy W.G. Sebald

■ “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller

■ “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut

■ “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway

■ “Birdsong” by Sebastian Faulks

■ “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell

■ “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo

■ “The Naked and the Dead” by Norman Mailer

■ “The Quiet American” by Graham Greene

■ “Restless” by William Boyd

■ “Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak

■ “Empire of the Sun” by J.G. Ballard

■ “The Hunt for Red October” by Tom Clancy

■ “Gravity’s Rainbow” by Thomas Pynchon

■ “Regeneration” by Pat Barker

■ “When the Wind Blows” by Raymond Briggs

■ “The Hunters” by James Salter

■ “The Debacle” by Émile Zola

■ “Men at Arms” by Evelyn Waugh

■ “Parade’s End” by Ford Madox Ford

■ “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier

■ “From Here to Eternity” by James Jones

■ “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

■ “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien

■ “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo


Several months ago, a man stopped by the front desk of The Daily Sentinel holding a book so worn the corners of the pages were soft. It was one of the best books he had ever read ... perhaps the best.

It was “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour” by James D. Hornfischer. The Daily Sentinel needed to publish something about this book because more people should know about the battle detailed in its pages, he told me.

He was rather adamant, and I was unsure what exactly to do. The book wasn’t new — it was originally published in 2004 — and book columnists are hard-pressed to get to older books with all the new ones piling on.

I held onto the man’s write-up about “The Last Stand,” but my mind neglected to hold onto the man’s name. I shortly regretted that because less than five minutes after he left The Daily Sentinel, I had an idea.

War-related books hold great impact. Reading about World War I or II or Vietnam or the American Civil War or any number of others is educational as well as a way to honor the servicemen and women whose heroics and sacrifice have molded our nation.

The details of war depicted in nonfiction as well as fiction can build sympathy and empathy for members of the military and civilians caught in wars’ horrible turmoil. They allow us to admire the way men and women struggle and rise to great deeds, and they record the worst of humanity with the hope those actions are always condemned and never repeated.

And so on this Veterans Day, I ask, what is the best war-related book you have read?

Here are some titles sent my way via Facebook or email, and to lead them off is some of what was written by the aforementioned man about “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.”

Offer other readers your own book suggestions by leaving a comment with this story at or Out & About’s Facebook page.


“The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour” by James D. Hornfischer

This nonfiction book recounts how during World War II a small American flotilla designated the Taffy 3 “entered battle against a mighty Japanese armada comprised of the two largest battleships then afloat, accompanied by numerous other battleships, cruisers and destroyers, attempting to disrupt the American invasion of Leyte Island in the Philippines by destroying the American support fleet anchored in Leyte Gulf.”

Taffy 3 faced “overwhelming tonnage and firepower” on Oct. 25, 1944, off Samar Island in the Philippines. “However, with gutsy tactics and heroism beyond the call of duty, they so confused the Japanese behemoth ... that after a few hours, the Japanese admiral commanding the fleet, recalled all of his ships, turned tail and withdrew.”


“Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys

“My YA book club picked this up a few months ago. Towards the end of World War II, numerous refugees are eager to start a new life elsewhere. The novel takes place in East Prussia as Soviet forces are coming in. Told in alternating points of view, the story follows several young people to the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German ship that will transport civilians and the military away from the area,” wrote Sherry Ficklin via Facebook.

“This book touched me in way few others have, and with as much as I read, that’s saying a lot. It was alternately exciting and heart-wrenching and made me want to know more about the history it was based on.  A definite five star read,” Ficklin wrote.


“Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC” by Jon T. Hoffman.

Puller was “the most decorated Marine in history. Blunt spoken and blunt in actions…plural cause he wasn’t a one shot wonder. ‘We’re surrounded. Now I can shoot in any direction and shoot the enemy,’” wrote Greg Merschel.


“Esterhazy: The Rabbit Prince” by Hans Marcus Enzensberger and Michael Sowa and illustrated by Irene Dische.

“The best war-related book I’ve read is ‘Esterhazy.’ It’s a children’s story about the Berlin Wall,” wrote Ann Hartter with Hartter Education. “The thing it did for me is expose the idea that you don’t have to actually be aware of a conflict, or the causes of the war, to be affected by it and the resolutions of it.

“When people say, ‘I didn’t know there was xyz going on in Some Country,’ what they don’t go on to discover is how the xyz is actually impacting them and how it would change their life if it were resolved.

“Conflict is woven into the very fabric of our lives, into our culture, and we don’t even have to know about it,” Hartter wrote.


“The War That Changed My Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

“This book takes place in Britain during World War II. It is about a girl and her younger brother who are shipped out to the countryside to escape the bombing in London,” wrote Amanda Pittman, youth collections librarian with Mesa County Libraries.

“What is great about this book is that it is a story about how sometimes even bad things (such as war) can lead to good things. Ada is born with a club foot which her mother uses to treat her as a virtual prisoner in their apartment. Ada is able to sneak out with her brother and evacuate to the countryside.”


“The Tree In The Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window” by Jeff Gotesfeld

“I work in Youth Services, so I mostly read kids books,” wrote Trevor Adams with Mesa County Libraries. “I am especially attracted to WWII books that have to do with the hope and resistance that people were able to find during such a terrible time.”

“This is one of the best books I’ve read all year. I’m willing to bet that it will win awards,” Adams wrote.

“This book is told from the perspective of a tree that can just barely see Anne through a high window in the annex. Of course, this part of the story is fiction, but the non-fiction part of the story is that there really was a tree outside the annex and when it died, the seeds and saplings were transplanted all around the world as symbols of peace.”


“Backout” and “All Clear” by Connie Willis

“Connie Willis is not just one of my favorite Colorado authors, she is one of my favorite writers, period,” wrote Denise Hight, co-author of “Legendary Locals of Fruita” and “Images of America: Fruita.”

“Willis has won numerous Nebula and Hugo awards, but her writing transcends the science fiction/fantasy genre. Her novels ‘Blackout’ and ‘All Clear’ feature a group of scientists who travel in time from 2060 Oxford to the London Blitz in 1940 in order to study World War II firsthand. They experience blackouts and bombing raids and a rising sense of fear and panic as their attempts to return home are thwarted.

“Willis has such an ability to pull the readers into her meticulously researched fictional world that I almost felt as if I had traveled in the time machine with her protagonists,” Hight wrote via Facebook.


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