It is a rare nonfiction collection about these wars, but there is another reason it is unique as well: its mission is not only to bridge the deep divide between the military and civilian public, but also to bridges the divides between the unique experiences of all who have served, “active duty and veterans alike, men and women, gay and straight, across the multitude of ethnicity.” In other words, it is not just a collection of war stories, but rather a book intended to show the diversity of experiences and perspectives for those involved in the wars.
The piece studied two collections of stories: one from a single author, Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead along with our Incoming: Veteran Writers on Returning Home.
The literature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seems to be turning a similar corner. The initial push of largely excellent fiction about these wars from civilian and military writers alike is morphing into its second act, where much that was initially explored is now accepted as fact and provides the foundation for deeper exploration by other authors. The nonfiction of these wars, which has many more titles and many more years to contend with, is also moving away from the simple memoirs reporting on their places, battles, and people.
Incoming is important. As an outgrowth of several writing programs and initiatives, it offers what appears to be unfiltered and unmediated voices from the wars. Because it is the result of several writing programs and initiatives, there is hope that the editors will produce more works like it in the future. At least we can hope that they do.
We hope so too. Read the full review here.
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