Best books on war
Over on the Guardian's culture blog, Charlotte Higgins askes her readers: What is the best British novel since the war? Even before I considered possible answers, I was struck by the question itself -- one that would seem sillly in American. The war? Which war? The Brits' reference point remains World War II -- understandably, considering that Londoners faced annihilation from Hitler. But here, we've been through so many wars, semi-wars and police actions that some lose their punch as cultural touchstones. Consider Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, not to mention the various actions in Africa and around the globe.
Great books have been born from all that human loss. In Vietnam, Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried," was truly memorable; so was "We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young," by Lt Gen Harold G Moore and Joseph L Galloway. In Africa, I'd pick "Black Hawk Down" by Mark Bowden. I don't know that the definitive novel on Kuwait, Iraq and Ahghanistan has been written yet, but I'm open to suggestions.