Soldier / Veteran Writers and Their Projects

Soldiers have long been writing about their experiences of combat and about returning home as a changed individual. Their testimonies and imaginations offer resilient observations about war, peace, history, society, and memory. Soldiers and veterans provide crucial commentary not only about their day and age, but also about the nature of humanity and the complexities of life and death. Perhaps most importantly, their writing is transformative and even cathartic to them on a personal level, as a way of putting the pieces together.

The following articles highlight the benefits of writing, for soldiers and veterans. You’ll find general reflections about writing as a tool for survival and healing. You’ll also discover some noteworthy projects undertaken by soldier/veteran writers, including some of the writers from the compendium of Soldier and Veteran Writers — Past and Ongoing Wars, featured individually below with links to their interviews and reviews.

R E F L E C T I O N S    O N    W R I T I N G   I N   W A R   &   P E A C E

Anthony Swofford, center, the author of “Jarhead,” leads a workshop at Western Connecticut State

To Mailer, A Good Soldier Puts War on PaperUSA Today, Bob Minzesheimer, 2003.4.10

War Writing Helps Soldiers Survive, CBS News, Caitlin A. Johnson, 2007.4.15

For Veterans Back From War, Writing Proves to Be a Balm, New York Times, Wendy Carlson, 2009.4.8

Veterans Turning to Poetry To Heal Their War WoundsStars and Stripes, David Allen, 2009.12.21

Workshopping the Next Generation of American War Literature, Virginia Quarterly Review, Michael Davis Lukas, Spring 2010

For Some Of Us, It’s Personal: Interview with George Kovach, Editor of Consequence, The Review Review, Jeremy Hauck Consequence is an independent literary magazine focusing on the culture and consequences of war  Kovach is a poet and combat vet from the war in Viet Nam

W A R / P E A C E   W R I T I N G   P R O J E C T S

Underground GI newspaper, ‘Last Harass,’ from May 1971

Sir! No Sir!, a documentary film which puts into context the proliferation of underground GI presses during the American War in Viet Nam, directed and written by David Zeiger, 2005

Inside A Veterans’ Group: Writing About War and Peace, Shepherd Bliss, 2006.8.5

Maxine Hong Kingston, Bill Moyers Journal, 2007.5.25

Maxine Hong Kingston (front and center) with her veterans writing group in Sebastopol, CA, in March 2006, just before their release of ‘Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace’ (Koa Books)

Veterans Group, Maxine Hong Kingston together use writing to heal: For 15 years, group has explored personal voices of war, SFGate, Justin Berton, 2008.1.7

Writing Project Helps Veterans Heal Wounds, NPR Weekend Edition, John McChesney, 2008.1.27

Vet Art Project: Understanding Through Art, 2009

Combat Paper Project, where veterans use their uniforms worn in combat to create cathartic works of art

Shredding War’s Dark Memories: Iraq War Veterans Release Their Angst By Turning Their Uniforms into Paper, Christian Science Monitor, Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, 2009.10.5

How to Build Your Own Veteran Writers Group, Maxine Hong Kingston, 2011

The Veterans Writing Project [State of Nevada], KNPR Nevada Public Radio, 2011.1.18

Veterans Writers Project asks veterans to write about experiences, Massachusetts Daily Collegian, Alyssa Creamer, 2011.4.21

In The Mind Field: News and Commentary from Veteran Writer-Activists, created by five members of Veterans for Peace

Warrior Writers Project, bringing together recent veterans and current service members to be in creative community and to use art to express themselves

Combat Paper Project, utilizing art making workshops to assist veterans in reconciling and sharing their personal experiences as well as broadening the traditional narrative surrounding service and the military culture

I N D I V I D U A L   W R I T E R S

These writers are all listed by war in the section Soldier and Veteran Writers — Past and Ongoing Wars, yet here’s some additional coverage of their individual bodies of work. Articles are listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name, and in chronological order by date of the essay, interview, review, or radio program.

W.D. Erhardt

For Mrs. Na, by W. D. Ehrhart, Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 1987

Last Flight Out From the War Zone, by W. D. Ehrhart, Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 1987

What Grace is Found in So Much Loss?, W. D. Ehrhart writes of soldier poets, Virginia Quarterly Review, winter 1997

War and Literature, review of Erhardt’s The Madness of It All: Essays on War, Literature and America Life, in Virginia Quarterly Review, Jan Barry, summer 2003

Jeff Key

Semper Fi’s Jeff Key: A Marine who did ask and tell, Examiner, Kim Williams, 2010.9.22

Gay Iraq War Vet Brings One-Man Show to New York, The Morton Report, Jon Sobel, 2011.6.6

Mehadi Foundation, helping Iraq and Afghan war vets heal from PTSD, founded by Jeff Key

Semper Fi: One Marine’s Journey, documentary about Jeff Key, Internet Movie Database

Phil Klay

National Book Award Goes to Phil Klay for his Short Story Collection, NY Times, Alexandra Alter, Nov 2014

Redeployment by Phil Klay review—’Incendiary stories of war,‘ The Guardian, Edward Docx, March 2014

The Long Road Home: ‘Redeployment’ by Phil Klay, NY Times, Dexter Filkins, March 2014

2014 National Book Award Winner, Fiction, National Book Foundation

‘Redeployment’ Explores Iraq War’s Physical and Psychic Costs, NPR, John Powers, March 2014

Norman Mailer

The Naked And The Dead (1948), excerpt

Martin Amis Interviews Norman Mailer: ‘I Can See A War Starting Within Capitalism Itself,’ BBC, 1991

A Brief History of Norman Mailer, PBS American Masters, J. Michael Lennon, 2001.10.19

Norman Mailer Society

Tim O’Brien

A Conversation With Tim O’Brien, Artful Dodge, Debra Shostak, 1991.10.2

‘The Things They Carried,’ 20 Years On, NPR, 2010.3.24

Big Think Interview With Tim O’Brien, Big Think, 2010.4.21

Wilfred Owen

The Wilfred Owen Collection, First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Wilfred Owen in Voices in Wartime, Voices Education Project, 2008.7.20

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), BBC, Historic Figures, 2011

James Salter

James Salter, The Art of Fiction, No. 133, Paris Review, Interviewed by Edward Hirsch, 1993

A Teller of Tales Tells His Own, New York Times, by Samuel Hynes, 1997.9.7

A Conversation with Author James Salter, Charlie Rose, 1997.7.19

Josef Škvorecký

Josef Škvorecký, The Art of Fiction, No. 112, Paris Review, Interviewed by John Glusman, 1989

Audio Interview with Josef Skvorecky, CBS, Don Swaim, 1984.9.18

All’s Well That Ends Well: An interview with Josef Škvorecký, Central Europe Review, Julie Hansen, 2000.10.30

Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone Goes Back to War, Time, Kay Johnson, 2007.9.7

Conversations with History: Oliver Stone, UC Television, 2008.7.15

Oliver Stone And The Politics of Film-making, Guardian UK, The Observer, Carole Cadwalladr, 2010.7.18

Oliver Stone Talks War, Politics, and Actors at BIFF’s Closing Night, Daily Camera, Amy Bounds, 2011.2.20

Anthony Swofford

“Jarhead” by Anthony Swofford,, Laura Miller, 2003.3.10

Anthony Swofford, The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, 2003.4.1

Jarhead, Mother Jones, Adam Shemper, 2005.11.3

Claude AnShin Thomas 

Claude AnShin Thomas and Larry Hamzah Chamberlain, American Zen Pilgrimage to a small traveling version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, Kansas, 1998

Zaltho Foundation, founder

Claude AnShin Thomas, The Progressive, radio interview

At Hell’s Gate, An Interview with Claude AnShin ThomasNew Connexion, 2004.11

Rev. Claude Anshin Thomas, “Veterans Retreat,” Omega Institute, 2009.4.7

Brian Turner 

Iraq Soldier Describes War in Poetry, NPR Morning Edition, 2006.1.6

Poet and Iraq Veteran Brian Turner Reads from His Collection “Here, Bullet”, The Fishhouse, 2009.7.3

Poet Profile: Brian Turner, Jim Lehrer News Hour, 2006.2.26

A Poem for the Last American Soldier to Die in Iraq, Brian Turner, fall 2008

Tobias Wolff

Tobias WolffSalon, Joan King

Brutal Beginnings, Guardian UK, James Campbell, 2008.7.19

Interview with Tobias Wolff, Bat Segundo Show, Edward Champion, 2008.4.14

War Stories, Tobias Wolff, O, The Oprah Magazine, 2008.7

Stephen Wright

Steve Wright Interview with Don Swaim, CBS, 1983

Drugged in Vietnam: Meditations in Green, New York Times, Walter Kendrick, 1983.11.6

Stephen Wright’s Literary Landscape, The Morning News, Interview with Patrick Ambrose, 2006.6.7

This list is an ongoing work-in-progress and by no means reflects the scope and range of veterans’ writings. Please post recommendations and corrections in the comments box below. See Soldier and Veteran Writers — Past and Ongoing Wars for a list of soldier-writers by war.

Soldier and Veteran Writers — Past and Ongoing Wars

Only partially complete, this is a compendium of writers who fought/worked through a war in their writings, beginning with World War I and continuing through the current war in Iraq. I try to highlight the writer’s works that deal specifically with war, drawing upon his or her experiences in service as a soldier, doctor/medic, or war correspondent. All genres are represented — I’ve included poets, prose writers, memoirists, playwrights, screenwriters, and historians.


A M E R I C A N    C I V I L    W A R

Ambrose Bierce — US, Union Army’s 9th Indian Infantry Regiment — editorials, journalism, prose, satire — memoir What I Saw of Shiloh (1881) — wrote realistically of the terrible things of war in such stories as An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1891), The Boarded Window (1891), Killed at Resaca, and Chickamauga (1891)

W O R L D  W A R  I

Richard Aldington — British, Royal Sussex Regiment — poetry, fiction — novel Death of a Hero (1929)

Henri Barbusse — French, Army — prose — novel Le Feu (Under Fire)(1916) based on war experiences

Laurence Binyon — British, hospital orderly — poetry, drama — most famous poem, For the Fallen (1914), war memoir For Dauntless France (1918)

Edmund Blunden — British, second lieutenant in Royal Sussex Regiment — poetry, prose, criticism — Undertones of War (1928)

Vera Brittain — British, field nurse — memoir — Testament of Youth (1933)

Smedley D. Butler — US, Marines, Major General, Western Front, and many other conflicts, highly decorated — nonfiction — War is a Racket (1935) was written from his nationwide speaking tour calling attention to the dangers of military profiteering

e.e. cummings — US, Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps, driver, prisoner of war — poet, prose — novel The Enormous Room (1922) about his imprisonment

Ford Madox Ford — British, War Propaganda Bureau — poet, critic, editor — The Good Soldier (1915) and Parade’s End tetraology (1924-28)

Robert Graves — British, Royal Welch Fusiliers — poetry — first volume of poems Over the Brazier (1916) about war — powerful autobiography Goodbye to All That (1929)

Jaroslav Hašek — Czech, Army, prisoner of war — prose, humor, satire — The Good Soldier Švejk and Other Strange Stories (Dobrý voják Švejk a jiné podivné historky)(1912) based on war experiences

          Hemingway, far right, with photographer Robert Capa, far left

Ernest Hemingway — US, ambulance driver in the Italian Front — prose, journalism — Nobel Prize winner — A Farewell to Arms (1929) is semi-autobiographical based on his time in Italy

David Jones — British (Welsh), Royal Welch Fusiliers, Western Front — poetry — In Parenthesis (1937)

Ernst Junger —  German, Imperial Army, Western Front —  memoir — Storm of Steel (1920)

T.E. Lawrence — British, Army, lieutenant colonel, aircraftman, intelligence surveys — memoir —major work Seven Pillars of Wisdom an account of his war experiences — posthumous The Mint about his experiences as an enlisted man in the Royal Air Force

Emilio Lussu — Italy, Army — prose — Un anno sull’altipiano (A Year on the Plateau)(1938)

Wilfred Owen — British, Army, soldier, pacifist, killed in action – poetry —  notable works include Dulce et Decorum Est (1917), Insensibility (1917), Anthem for Doomed Youth(1917), Futility (1918) and Strange Meeting (1918)

“I am furious with chagrin to think that the Minds which were to have excelled the civilization of ten thousand years are being annihilated – and bodies, the product of aeons of Natural Selection, melted down to pay for political statues.”  — Wilfred Owen, in a letter to his mother

Erich Maria Remarque — German, Army, Western Front — prose — the antiwar All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) became an instant bestseller around the world, then banned in Germany

       Siegfried Sassoon

Siegfried Sassoon — British, officer in Royal Welch Fusiliers, in Western Front and Palestine  — poetry, prose — after serving on the Western Front, made a public antiwar statement A Soldier’s Declaration (1917) — peace activist

Lajos Zilahy — Hungary, Army, Eastern Front — prose, plays — Two Prisoners (Két fogoly)(1931) — The Deserter (1932)

World War I Collections

Jon Silkin, ed. Penguin Book of First World War Poetry. Penguin, 1997.

W O R L D   W A R   I I

Saul Bellow — US, merchant marine — prose — winner of Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize, National Medal of Arts, National Book Award — first novel Dangling Man (1944) about a young man waiting to be drafted

Joseph Heller — US, Army Air Corps, bombadier of the Italian Front — prose, plays, satire Catch-22 (1961) about American servicemen during the war, one of the great literary works of the twentieth century

James Jones — US, Army, 25th Infantry Division, Guadalcanal — prose — From Here to Eternity (1952) based on Company E — The Thin Red Line (1962) based upon combat in Guadalcanal


Norman Mailer — US, Army, Philippines, 112th Cavalry — prose, journalism, essay,  poetry, plays, screenplays — winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award — The Naked and The Dead (1948) based on his experiences in the Philippines

Curzio Malaparte — Italian, Fifth Alpine Regiment — prose, journalism, plays — war novel-essay Viva Caporetto! (1921) — Kaputt (1944) — The Skin (1949)

William Manchester — US, Marine Corps, Pacific theater — memoir —  Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War (1980) was outstanding

Audie Murphy — US, Army, European Theater — memoir — To Hell and Back (1949) was a national best-seller

Irwin Shaw — US, Army, warrant officer — plays, screenplays, prose — first play Bury the Dead (1936) and first novel The Young Lions (1949) both based on war experiences

Josef Škvorecký — Czechoslovak, Army — prose — The Engineer of Human Souls (1984), The Republic of Whores (1995), The Bass Saxophone (1967) — founded 68 Publishers press and encouraged many dissident Czech writers

Gore Vidal — US, Army, Transportation Corps, Warrant Officer — prose, plays, essays, screenwriting – his first novel Williwaw (1946) was the first novel about WWII — Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (2002)

                            Vonnegut’s letter home after being captured as POW

Kurt Vonnegut — US, Army, private, 423rd Infantry Regiment, prisoner of war — prose, satire, gallows humor, science fiction — famous and popular novel Slaughterhouse-Five informed by his time as a soldier and POW

Richard Wilbur — US, Army — poetry, literary translations — former Poet Laureate and winner of National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry — The Beautiful Changes and Other Poems (1947) based on his war experiences

Howard Zinn — US — bombardier (over Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, France) — history, plays, memoir — notable selections include Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal (1967), A People’s History of the United States (1980, finalist for the National Book Award in 1981), You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (1994), Hiroshima: Breaking the Silence (1995)

World War II Collections

Harvey Shapiro, ed. Poets of World War II. New American Library, 2003.


James Salter — US, Air Force, 1st Lieutenant, combat pilot with 6th Troop Carrier Squadron  prose  winner of PEN/Faulkner Award  The Hunters (1957)  The Arm of Flesh (1961)

V I E T   N A M

John Balaban US, International Voluntary Service worker, conscientious objector poetry, memoir, translations twice nominated for National Book Award best known for Remembering Heaven’s Face: Moral Witness in Vietnam

Robert Olen Butler US, Army, sergeant in Army Military Intelligence Corps, counter-intelligence special agent, translator prose his Viet Nam-centered collection of stories, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for fiction

Philip Caputo US, Marines, Infantry lieutenant, war correspondent memoir, journalism, prose best-selling memoir A Rumor of War (1977) also published another memoir and four novels

Louis Peter Cimino US, Army plays Fragging (1997)

Richard Currey US, Navy, corpsman poetry, prose Crossing Over: The Vietnam Stories (1980) Fatal Light (1988) about the war is his best known novel

Đặng Thùy Trâm Viet Nam, Viet Cong, battlefield surgeon memoir diary collection Last Night I Dreamed of Peace (2007) translated widely and made into film Đừng Đốt (Don’t Burn It) (2009)

W. D. Ehrhart US, Marine Corps, Infantry Sergeant poetry, memoir, prose selections include A Generation of Peace (1975), Vietnam-Perkasie: A Combat Marine Memoir (1983), Carrying the Darkness: Poetry of the Vietnam War (1985), Going Back: An Ex-Marine Returns to Vietnam (1987), Passing Time: Memoir of a Vietnam Veteran Against the War (1989)

Dan Guenther US, Marine Corps, captain poetry, prose China Wind (1990), Dodge City Blues (2007), and Townsend’s Solitaire ( 2008) — trilogy of novels based on his experiences in Viet Nam collection of poetry, The Crooked Truth (2010)

Joe Haldeman US, Army, combat engineer, wounded in combat prose, sci fi first novel was War Year (1972) best known for The Forever War (1974), a sci-fi book that has sold over a million copies, winning both the Hugo and Nebula Awards

Gustav Hasford US, Marine Corps, combat correspondent prose semi-autobiographical novel The Short-Timers (1979) was basis for the film Full Metal Jacket

                    Le Ly Hayslip’s family

Le Ly Hayslip Viet Nam, Viet Cong, lookout memoir When Heaven and Earth Changed Places (1989) adapted for film by Oliver Stone (also on this list)

Larry Heinemann US, Army, 25th Infantry prose, memoir first novel Close Quarters (1977); novel Paco’s Story (1987) which won the National Book Award; memoir Black Virgin Mountain (2005) he refers to these as his ‘accidental’ trilogy on the war

“Any soldier returning home must rediscover his humanity and establish a livable peace with the discovered, liberated, permanently dark places in his own heart the darkness that is always with us.”  — Larry Heinemann

Michael Herr US, war correspondent journalism, memoir, screenplays Dispatches (1977) is his acclaimed gonzo journalist memoir about Viet Nam  co-wrote Full Metal Jacket screenplay

David Huddle US, Army, military intelligence specialist poetry, essay, prose novel The Story of a Million Years (1999)

James Janko US, Army, medic, 25th Infantry prose novel Buffalo Boy and Geronimo (2006) won the Northern California Book Award and nominated for Pulitzer Prize

Wayne Karlin US, Marine Corps, sergeant – prose, nonfiction novels: Marble Mountain (2009), The Wished-For Country (2002), Prisoners (2000), Lost Armies (1988), The Extras (1989), Us (1993), and Crossover (1984) three works of creative non-fiction: Rumors and Stones (1996), War Movies: Journeys to Vietnam (2005), and Wandering Souls: Journeys with the Dead and the Living in Viet Nam (2009)

Yusuf Komunyakaa US, Army,  correspondence editor for the Army newspaper poet winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for poetry two collections chronicle his war experiences, Toys in a Field (1987) and Dien Cai Dau (1988)  the latter, which won the Dark Room Poetry Prize, means “crazy in the head” in Vietnamese

“I think of all war writing as anti-war. And that’s what interests me: The fact that one has captured the spirit of that intense, brutal moment, and try to make some sense out of it.” — Yusef Komunyakaa

Ron Kovic — US, Marine Corps — memoir — Born on the Fourth of July made into screenplay, then received Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay peace activist

Robert S. McKelvey — US, Marine Corps, Captain — nonfiction — The Dust of Life: America’s Children Abandoned in Vietnam (1999) about Amerasian orphans fathered by US soldiers during the war — A Gift of Barbed Wire: America’s Allies Abandoned in South Vietnam (2002)

Marilyn McMahon — US, Navy, nurse at Da Nang Naval Hospital — poet — anthologized in The Vietnam War in American Stories, Songs and Poems, Visions of War, Dreams of Peace, and Writing Between the Lines: An Anthology on War and Social Consequences

Bo Ninh — Viet Nam, North, Glorious 27th Youth Brigade — prose — Thân Phn Ca Tình Yêu (The Destiny of Love) (1991) — English translation as The Sorrow of War (1994)

        Tim O’Brien in Viet Nam, 1969

Tim O’Brien US, Army, infantry sergeant prose his mostly-autobiographical The Things They Carried (1990) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize his other novels include If I Die in a Combat Zone (Box Me Up and Ship Me Home) (1975), Going After Cacciato (1978, won 1979 National Book Award), Northern Lights (1975), In the Lake of the Woods, The Nuclear Age (1979), and Tomcat in Love (1998) — his story “The Things They Carried” included in the Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike

Laura Palmer US, war correspondent journalism, poetry, nonfiction nominated for Pulitzer Prize for her syndicated column, Welcome Home, about coming to terms with the Vietnam War best known for Shrapnel in the Heart, the stories behinds letters and poems left at the Vietnam Veterans memorial in Washington DC

Mary Reynolds Powell US, Army, Nurse Corps nonfiction A World of Hurt: Between Innocence and Arrogance in Vietnam (2000)

David Rabe US, Army plays, screenplays known for his loose trilogy of plays drawing on his experiences as an Army draftee, Sticks and Bones (1969), the Tony Award-winning The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel (1971), and Streamers (1976) also wrote the screenplay for the dramatic film Casualties of War (1989)

Al Santoli US, Army nonfiction edited Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Thirty-three American Soldiers Who Fought It (1981) and To Bear Any Burden: The Vietnam War and Its Aftermath in the Words of Americans and Southeast Asians (1985)

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough US, Army, nurse prose, sci fi the Nebula Award-winning novel Healer’s War (1988) draws on her experiences as a nurse in Vietnam

Neil Sheehan US, war correspondent nonfiction A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam (1988) won Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award

Oliver Stone US, Army, 25th Infantry Division screenwriter wrote three films about Viet Nam: Platoon (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), and Heaven & Earth (1993) and he has called these films a trilogy, though they each deal with different aspects of the war Platoon is a semi-autobiographical film about his experience in combat

Robert Stone US, war correspondent prose wrote novel Dog Soldiers (1974) about a journalist smuggling heroin from Viet Nam, which won National Book Award

Wallace Terry US, war correspondent, Saigon Bureau Chief for Time history Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (1984)

Claude AnShin Thomas — US, Army, helicopter crew chief — memoir, pilgrimages — “Finding Peace after a Lifetime of War” (1996) in Arnold Kotler’s Engaged Buddhist Reader — excellent memoir At Hell’s Gate: A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace (2004) — founder of Zaltho Foundation

Charley Trujillo US, Army nonfiction Soldados: Chicanos in Viet Nam (1990)

                            ‘A Soldier’s Joy’ – Tobias Wolff’s 1985 article in ‘Esquire’

Tobias Wolff US, Army, Special Forces prose his novella The Barracks Thief (1984, winner of Pen-Faulker Award) about paratrooper training graduates awaiting their report to Viet Nam the recommended memoir In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War (1994, finalist for the National Book Award) records his tour in Viet Nam

Bruce Weigl US, Army poet his collections addressing Vietnam include The Monkey Wars (1984), Song of Napalm (1988), and Declension in the village of Chung Luong (2006)

Stephen Wright US, Army fiction his war-related novel Meditations in Green (1983) won the Maxwell Perkins Prize for promising first novels


Philip Mahony, ed. From Both Sides Now: The Poetry of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath. NY: Scribner, 1998.

P E R S I A N   G U L F   W A R

Gabe Hudson US, Marines, rifleman prose his debut collection of stories, Dear Mr. President (2003)


Anthony Swofford US, Marines, Scout sniper, Lance Corporal memoirist Jarhead (2003) won Pacific Northwest Bookseller Associations Award, PEN/Martha Albrand Art of the Memoir Award, and Michener-Copernicus Society of America Fiction Fellowship

Joel Turnipseed —  US, Marines memoir Baghdad Express (2003)

I R A Q 

Mark Boal US, journalist embedded with US bomb squad screenwriter The Hurt Locker (2008), winner of six Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay

Colby Buzzell US, Army, machine gunner blog, memoir best-selling author of My War: Killing Time in Iraq (2005)

John Crawford US, National Guard memoir bestselling author of The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier’s Account of the War in Iraq (2005)

Nathaniel Fick US, Marine Corps, Captain, platoon commander memoir One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer (2005)

Jeff Key US, Marines plays The Eyes of Babylon: One Marine’s Journey about serving as a gay soldier in Iraq created Mehadi Foundation (uses writing workshops and other creative activities to help Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffering from PTSD) on Board of Directors for Iraq Veterans Against the War

Phil Klay US, Marines, second lieutenant fiction Redeployment won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction  stories appear in collections, including The Best American Non-Required Reading 2012 (Mariner Books) and Fire and Forget (Da Capo Press, 2013)

James Mathews US, Air National Guard prose   short story collection Last Known Position (2008) won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Short Fiction

Steven McLaughlin British, Army, combat infantryman memoir Squaddie: A Soldier’s Story (2006)


Brian Turner US, Army, infantry team leader poetry his debut collection Here, Bullet (2005) garnered nine major literary awards, including Lannan Literary Fellowship, NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, and a Beatrice Hawley Award collection Phantom Noise (2010), about bringing the war home, shortlisted for the 2010 TS Eliot Prize

Collections spanning multiple wars 

Maxine Hong Kingston, ed. Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, Koa Books, 2006.

Please comment below to suggest additions or changes to this list. Thanks for your contributions.