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Beyond the Lone Islands

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Thursday, 11 November 2010

BTT: War Stories

http://btt2.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/war-stories/

Deb @ 1:36 am: It is November 11th, known here in the U.S. as Veteran’s Day, formerly Armistice Day to remember the end of WWI but expanded to honor all veterans who have fought for their country, so … Do you read war stories? Fictional ones? Histories? 

I live in a country (Sweden) that has not been at war since 1814, so we of course do not have this special holiday. My first thought was actually to skip this question, but then I started thinking... ;)

I was born in 1955, i.e. ten years after then end of WWII. But even though Sweden was not directly "involved" in the war, there were still a lot of references to it in my early childhood; especially when visiting the grandparents.

At my paternal grandparents' house, for example, they still kept an old wallet filled with food ration coupons from the The War. I used to play with that. Grandma was also in the habit of saving things like used pieces of  wrapping paper and string... Out of habit from The War, when things were hard to come by. I suspect that's also where my own father's habit of collecting everything, and throwing away nothing, came from. He was born in 1931, so grew up in the shadow of The War. Even if Sweden was not "in" the war, it was all around our country, and everyone and everything was affected by it. That much I think I always understood.

Among dad's few childhood books were some about Biggles - First World War pilot. I read those several times over when staying in that house. At my other grandparents' house there were books aimed at Young Girls; books which had belonged to my mother and my aunt. Those were often about young women who went off to work at some farm, or possibly as nurses, while the men went off to war... Yes. I dare say the War (one War or another!) was there in the background in a lot of books I grew up with; and in later reading too. Just think about it. Many a great love story has been set against the backgrond of a war. Gone With the Wind... The Sound of Music... In addition to Swedish, English and American literature I've also read quite a few French and Russian classics. Besides being in WW I and II those countries also had their own Revolutions. A few years ago, I read Tolstoy's War and Peace.

I mentioned The Diary of Anne Frank in connection with some other BTT question quite recently. One of my early favourites; many times read. Her diary is about being in hiding, while the war goes on outside. We know she later died in concentration camp. I've also read quite a few survivor's stories from the Jewish ghettos and concentration camps. And then of course there are countless fictional stories involving spies, and prison camp escapes, and rescue operations etc. I think the kinds of war stories I've been most interested in are "ordinary people" struggling to survive, though, rather than actual stories from "the front" and involving military strategy etc.

Then there is the Bible. It's full of accounts of war. And then there is the world of Fantasy... War against Evil, in endless varieties: The Lord of the Rings... The Chronicles of Narnia... Harry Potter...

So yes, I do read war stories. Fictional and historical. Not as particulary interested in warfare as such; but because war is part of human history and reality.

3 comments:

Ginny said...

I would have said that I never read a book about war, but now you are telling me that I have! I never thought of it that way, but you are right!! In grade school, we had drills where we all had to file into the halls and kneel down in case if air-raid attacks. Duck and Cover was the slogan then. Kruschev had said "We will bury you!" But Russia seems to be the least of our worries now, doesn't it?

Sandra said...

I have always loved war stories, fiction to read and real ones to listen to. i spent many happy hours listening to my uncles war stories and being in the South of the USA I was raised on Civil War stories, because my grandparents lived through the aftermath of the war between the states. you are so right, war started in the Garden of Eden and will be here when we are all long gone. and also you are right, whether in the war or out of it, we are all IN it together because it effects the world. The USA has been at war so many times i can't count them all and like ginny I did the duck and cover and we had drills to practice getting on buses. the sirens would go off and we would do as told for practice. Savannah was only a short distance from Cuba and we were right on the middle of the target.
if people could just follow the one commandment, love others as you love yourself, there would be no wars.

Tribute Books Mama said...

I only read fictional ones. The White Queen, The Red Queen, and some Civil War books.

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