Veteran books: Tales of war, heroism, and healing  

Veteran experiences can only be understood by those who have served. Understanding and appreciating the true cost of freedom can be learned by reading and listening to their stories.

Veterans' books, whether you served or not, provide valuable insight into the realities of war. Here are the top books for veterans, from inspirational memoirs to guides to benefits.

In Tribe, Sebstian Junger history, psychology, and anthropology are used to explore what we can learn from tribal societies.

According to the author, tribal societies have exerted a gravitational pull on Westerners for centuries. Veteran's returning home to find themselves missing the close bonds they naturally form in platoons is one of the most recent examples of this phenomenon.

After their deployment, veterans may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the loss of that closeness. Tribe explains how even in a divided world we can still achieve closeness.

U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was known as “the most lethal sniper in U.S. history.” Kyle writes about his upbringing in Texas, his Navy SEAL training, and the pain of war in this memoir.

Kyle's wife, Taya, writes in moving first-person passages about the strain the war has placed on her family and on Chris.

Kyle was tragically killed in 2013, one year after this book was released. Bradley Cooper starred in Clint Eastwood's 2014 film adaptation, which received many nominations.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel embedded with the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the infamous surge, a 15-month tour that changed them all forever.

Now, Finkel has embedded once again with some of the 2-16 men, but this time at home. In his portrait of what life after war is really like for soldiers as well as their wives, widows, children, and friends, he captures the intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as the soldiers try to recover.

A platoon of American soldiers fighting on the ground in Vietnam are the subjects of The Things They Carried, a collection of short stories. It has been hailed as a "groundbreaking meditation" on war and a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

O'Brien based the story on his own experiences as a soldier in the 23rd Infantry Division, despite being a work of fiction.

He was promised promotion if he survived his first day by his commanding officer in Normandy during World War II.

There was no breach of contract between the parties. Wilson fought in the thick of the action from July 1944 to the end of the war, helping to take the small towns of northern France and Belgium building by building.

Only Wilson finished out of all those who joined Company F with him in the 4th Infantry Division. He felt exhausted by the end, and had nothing left except his life, emotions, and this harrowing story.

Colonel Cory's first hand account of flying combat missions in the jungles of Vietnam is featured in Undaunted Valor.

Colonel Robert Cory recounts how he fought through some of the most intense helicopter and ground combat of the Vietnam War to bring his fellow soldiers home, including dodging enemy ground fire and mortar and rocket attacks.

Kayla Williams is one of the 14% of active duty women. Her honest, gritty, and often funny memoir describes how she enlisted under Clinton, mastered Arabic, experienced both bravery and bigotry, and watched 9/11 unfold on Al-Jazeera, knowing then that she would be going to war.

A compelling and raw account of what it's like to be a woman at war, Williams describes caring for a wounded civilian, aiming a rifle at a child, and dealing with today's infuriating bureaucracy and conflicting messages.

Tuesday Tucks Me In narrates a day in the life of this wonderful service dog who is a tail-wagging ambassador for all things positive and uplifting. A typical day is recounted in the book, beginning with Tuesday waking up military veteran Luis Carlos Montalván in the morning and greeting him with dog breath in the face, and ending with Tuesday cuddling up to Luis on their bed, their last moment before going to sleep.  

Soldiers are dropped by helicopter into the remote mountains outside Kandahar City during the height of the Afghanistan War.

Among the squad's fire team leaders, Joseph Kassabian is the youngest and most junior member. Joseph must lead a team of soldiers who are too young to drink, and are being mismanaged by the command.The squad must rely on each other to survive as they face Taliban sleeper agents and an insane staff sergeant. 

PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety were well hidden by Brian Reese. He even told himself he did not "deserve" benefits, which later turned out to be complete nonsense. He embodied the motto of "service before self" as an air force officer in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, like many veterans, he suffered from mental health issues and abused alcohol and drugs to deal with them. Brian began a journey of overcoming social stigmas and persevering through adversity by God's grace and pure vulnerability. Veterans Helping Veterans Worldwide(TM) has grown into a global movement.

Brian explains how veterans can obtain virtually unknown federal and state benefits in You Deserve It. Brian offers readers his unparalleled insight and expertise that forms the foundation of his SEM Method, which is built upon his many years of personal experience and over ten thousand hours of helping veterans get the benefits they are entitled to. Whatever your service to our country was, this book will help you reap the rewards for your honorable service.

Books for Veterans

Those returning from war and conflict can feel incredibly isolated and alone. When veterans read books by fellow veterans and others with similar experiences, they can feel understood and seen.  

Seek professional help if you or someone you know suffers from PTSD, and consider reading  books about trauma that can provide additional insights.

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