Resources for Veterans & Their Families

Library Materials which Focus on Those in Service, Veterans, and Their Families

Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Vietnam War (click here to go to a separate page)

Veteran with Family Image
The most recent American Legion magazine is kept near the regular magazine subscriptions. Ask at the desk for help in locating it.

Hot Off the Press

Title and Author Summary
APL Call No.

Fields of War: Fifty Key Battlefields in France and Belgium

by Robert J. Mueller

A visitor's guide for those traveling by automobile, this book is arranged chronologically by battle, beginning with the Battle of Crecy (1346) during the Hundred Years' War and ending with the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. The majority of the sites are from World Wars I and II, but there are also locations from the War of the Spanish Succession, the French Revolution, and the Franco-Prussian War. Mueller provides a historical narrative for each site, embellished by sidebars with additional data (e.g., forces involved, result and casualty figures). He provides driving directions to each battlefield and then directions for touring the sites themselves, noting important landmarks. No dining or accommodation suggestions are included, but for visiting these historic battlefields, the book is invaluable. It's a good option for armchair travelers and historians as well.

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

944 MUEL
Fields of War

Junior Officers' Reading Club: Killing Time and Fighting Wars

by Patrick Hennessey

Hailed as a classic of war writing in the U.K., "The Junior Officers' ReadingClub" is a revelatory firsthand account of a young enlistee's profound coming of age.

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

956.7044 HENN

Junior Officers' Reading Club

Obama's Wars

by Bob Woodward

Drawing on hundreds of interviews with key administration officials, their deputies, and other firsthand sources, Woodward ("The War Within") takes readers deep into the national security state and shows how Obama debates, decides, and balances the enormous pressures facing the modern president.

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

973.932 WOOD
Obama's Wars

Operation Dark Heart: a spy's chronicle of the tipping point in Afghanistan

by Anthony Shaffer

Shaffer, now an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, was for years a covert intelligence operative for the Pentagon. In this autobiographical account of his work in Afghanistan and his eventual fall from grace at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), he describes some of his experiences. After galleys were distributed, the Pentagon, with second thoughts about its approval of the book's release, bought up the entire first print run. The newly approved edition has all the same pages but with numerous redactions blacking out parts of the text. Like many autobiographies, this one seems self-serving and should not necessarily be taken fully at face value. Shaffer includes his formula for winning the seemingly endless war in Afghanistan. Readers interested in real-life spy stories will be attracted, and there is likely to be increased interest now that the book has been in the news.

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

958.1047 SHAF
Operation Dark Heart

Unbroken: a World War II Airman's Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

The author of Seabiscuit now brings us a biography of World War II prisoner of war survivor Louis Zamperini (b. 1917). A track athlete at the 1936 Munich Olympics, Zamperini became a B-24 crewman in the U.S. Army Air Force. When his plane went down in the Pacific in 1943, he spent 47 days in a life raft, then was picked up by a Japanese ship and survived starvation and torture in labor camps. Eventually repatriated, he had a spiritual rebirth and returned to Japan to promote forgiveness and healing. Because of the author's popularity, libraries will want this book both for general readers who like a good story and for World War II history buffs; however, it's not essential reading for those who read Zamperini's autobiography, Devil at My Heels, with David Rensin, in its 2003 edition.

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat



by Sebastian Junger

Embedded as a journalist in an infantry platoon of the U.S. 2d Batallion, Junger here tracks the unit's 15-month deployment at a desolate mountain outpost in eastern Afghanistan in 2007-08. Fighting is on foot, over rugged terrain, in a series of patrols and chaotic firefights interspersed with interminable periods of boredom. In a change from his earlier books (e.g., The Perfect Storm; A Death in Belmont), Junger here is an observer of the now, not simply a reporter of the past. Trying to capture in words the elements of combat, fear, and ennui through the eyes of the soldiers, he communicates with a level of objectivity that the soldiers cannot. Junger is there, in the moment, with them, but he can also of course pull back and give distance and perspective. Junger's work here is reminiscent of David Finkel's The Good Soldiers and Tim O'Brien's fictional The Things They Carried, yet his work is neither simple hands-on reportage nor a work of fiction. VERDICT Although ostensibly about combat in Afghanistan, War examines the raw, brutal reality of combat-period-and why men fight. More than anything else, soldiers fight for one another, and Junger paints them as humans, as heroes, as brothers.

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

958.104 JUN


Iraq & Afghanistan Nonfiction Resources

Title/Author/Call No. Summary  

Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery

Author: Terri L. Tanielian

Call No. 616.8521 INV

Since October 2001, approximately 1.64 million U.S. troops have been deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) in Afghanistan and Iraq. Early evidence suggests that the psychological toll of these deployments — many involving prolonged exposure to combat-related stress over multiple rotations — may be disproportionately high compared with the physical injuries of combat.

The study discussed in this Rand monograph focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and traumatic brain injury, not only because of current high-level policy interest but also because, unlike the physical wounds of war, these conditions are often invisible to the eye, remaining invisible to other servicemembers, family members, and society in general. All three conditions affect mood, thoughts, and behavior; yet these wounds often go unrecognized and unacknowledged. The effect of traumatic brain injury is still poorly understood, leaving a large gap in knowledge related to how extensive the problem is or how to address it.

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

Invisible Wounds of War

Invisible Wounds of War: Summary and Recommendations for Addressing Psychological and Cognitive Injuries

Author: Terri L. Tanielian

Call No. 616.8521 INV

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

This monograph summarizes key findings and recommendations from a larger RAND document entitled Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery (Tanielian and Jaycox [Eds.], Santa Monica, Calif.: MG-720-CCF, 2008), a comprehensive study RAND conducted of the post-deployment health-related needs associated with the three conditions among OEF/OIF veterans; the health care system in place to meet those needs; gaps in the care system; and the costs of filling those gaps and providing quality health care to all those in need.

Understanding Potential Changes to the Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) System: a Regression-Based Approach

Author: Jeffrey Wasserman

Call No. 362.1086 WAS

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

The Veterans Health Administration asked the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a division of the RAND Corporation, to undertake a quantitative analysis of the Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) system. VERA was instituted in 1997 and was designed to improve the allocation of the congressionally appropriated medical care budget to the regional service networks that compose the Department of Veterans Affairs health system. The study determines how particular patient and facility characteristics influence allocations to the regional service networks and simplifies and refines the models created in earlier RAND research to reflect policy changes and more recent data. Related documents: An Analysis of Potential Adjustments to the Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) System, MR-1629-DVA, 2003; and An Analysis of the Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) System, MR-1419-DVA, 2001.
Understanding Potential Changes to VERA

Flashback: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, and the Lessons of War

Author: Penny Coleman

Call No. 616.85 COL

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

In the early 1970s, Penny Coleman married Daniel O'Donnell, a young Vietnam veteran. It soon became clear to her that Daniel was deeply troubled. Tragically, he ultimately committed suicide. Daniel was suffering from what we now call PTSD. Coleman then embarked on what became an extensive research project into combat-related PTSD and its relationship to veteran suicides. In Flashback, Coleman examines this tragic phenomenon and the ways in which American military government institutions both contributed to the veteran's trauma and failed to respond appropriately.

Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families

by Keith Armstrong, et al

Call No. 155.93 ARM

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

The bravery displayed by our soldiers at war is commonly recognized. However, often forgotten is the courage required by veterans when they return home and suddenly face reintegration into their families, workplaces, and communities. Authored by three mental health professionals with many years of experience counseling veterans, Courage After Fire provides strategies and techniques for this challenging journey home.Courage After Fire offers soldiers and their families a comprehensive guide to dealing with the all-too-common repercussions of combat duty, including posttraumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. It details state-of-the-art treatments for these difficulties and outlines specific ways to improve couple and family relationships. Courage After Fire also offers tips on areas such as rejoining the workforce and reconnecting with children.
Courage After Fire

Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents

Issued by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs [2007 ed.]

Call No. REF 362.86 FED

This publication is a valuable tool for veterans and their dependents to use to ensure that they have the latest information on the benefits and rights they have earned.

It is also available in a Spanish edition: Beneficios Federales para los Veteranos y sus Dependientes, Edicion 2007.

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat


Uncle Sam's Shame: Inside Our Broken Veterans Administration

Author: Martin Kantor

Call No. 362.1068 KAN

Kantor was a doctor for the VA from the 1960s through the 1990s, and he offers a detailed look at the troubled system, from Walter Reed Hospital to concerns about misuse and abuse of posttraumatic stress disorder diagnoses.

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Picture of Uncle Sam's Shame
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Iraq & Afghanistan DVDs

Title/Call No. Summary
Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

The Soldier’s Heart [2005]

Written, produced & directed by Raney Aronson ; a Frontline coproduction with A Little Rain Productions, Inc.

Call No.  DVD 956.7044 SOL

As the War in Iraq continues, the first measures of its psychological toll are coming in. A medical study estimates that more than one in seven returning veterans are expected to suffer from major depression, anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For those who have survived the fighting, the battle is not over. For some, the return home can be as painful as war itself.
Soldier in Uniform Image

A Company of Soldiers [2005]

An October Films production for WGBH/Frontline and the BBC

Call No. DVD 956.7044 COM

Frontline reports from inside the U.S. Army's 8th Cavalry Regiment stationed in Baghdad for an up-close, intimate look at the dangers facing an American military unit in Iraq. Shot in the weeks following the U.S. presidential election, the film tracks the day-to-day challenges facing the 8th Cavalry's Dog Company as it suddenly has to cope with a dramatic increase in attacks by the insurgents.
Group of Soldiers Firing Image
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Iraq & Afghanistan Memoirs & Personal Narratives

Title/Author/Call No.

Click on the call no. to locate in V-Cat

From Baghdad, with Love

Author: Jay Kopelman [2005]

Call No. 636.7 KOP

The story of Lava, a stray puppy who was discovered in Fallujah by a marine unit and, against regulations, transported back to the States, where he was adopted by Kopelman after his return from Iraq.

From Baghdad with Love

From Baghdad to America: Life Lessons from a Dog Named Lava

Author: Jay Kopelman [2008]

Call No. 636.7 KOP

This sequel chronicles Kopelman and Lava’s postwar transition into civilian life, and its most touching element is the story of how the author was able to learn valuable things about himself through observing his dog.  Lava’s increasingly aggressive, almost dangerously protective behavior was a clear sign of post-traumatic stress – and that if Lava was suffering from PTSD, then perhaps Kopelman needed to stop denying his own psychological symptoms and seek some help.  Inspiring story.

From Baghdad to America

Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo

by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence

Call No. 590.73 ANT

South African conservationist and environmentalist Anthony received the Earth Day Medal for his work in Baghdad. Here he recounts his own efforts and those of Iraqis and Americans to care for the animals in the Baghdad Zoo as people were getting killed all around it. Part of the story includes saving a pride of Uday Hussein's lions, closing a black-market zoo, and rescuing Saddam's Arabian horses from a hidden stable in Abo Ghraib.
Babylon's Ark

Blood Stripes: A Grunt's View of the War in Iraq

by David J. Danelo

Call No. 956.7044 DAN

A sometimes harrowing, often humorous, and occasionally tragic look at the Marine Corps from the inside out in its struggle with the insurgency in Iraq. Drawing from personal experience in the confusing, deadly conflict currently being fought in the streets and back alleys of Iraqi towns and villages, Danelo focuses on the young Marine leaders--corporals and sergeants--whose job it is to take even younger Marines into battle, close with and destroy an elusive enemy, and bring their boys back home again. Sadly, there are losses, but true to the Marine Corps spirit, they soldier on, earning their blood stripes the only way they know how--the hard way.
Blood Stripes

Gift of Valor

by Michael M. Phillips

Call No. 956.704 PHI

Every day ordinary young Americans are fighting in Iraq with the same bravery, honor, and sense of duty that have distinguished American troops throughout history. One of these is Jason Dunham, a twenty-two-year-old Marine corporal from the one-stoplight town of Scio, New York, whose stunning story reporter Michael M. Phillips discovered while he was embedded with a Marine infantry battalion in the Iraqi desert. This story illustrates the stunning bravery of a Marine officer who was severely wounded and subsequently nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor." Phillips provides a minute-by-minute chronicle of the chaotic fighting that raged throughout the area and culminated in Dunham's injury, providing a grunt's-eye view of war as it's being fought today. His account of Dunham's eight-day journey home and of his parents' heartrending reunion with their son powerfully illustrates the cold brutality of war and the fragile humanity of those who fight it. Dunham leaves an indelible mark upon all who know his story, from the doctors and nurses who treat him, to each person who reads of his singular act of valor.
Gift of Valor

The Long Road Home: a Story of War and Family

by Martha Raddatz

Call No. 956.7044 RAD

Only minutes after taking over operations in Sadr City, on a routine patrol, Lieutenant Shane Aguero's First Cavalry Division platoon faced hundreds of Iraqi militants who opened deadly fire. As he led his men to cover in a back alley - wounded and under attack, his gunner shot dead beside him - his wife Amber's warning echoed in his head. "In every war there is always a platoon that gets pinned down," she'd said. "Don't let it be yours." Back in Fort Hood, Texas, horrifying reports from half a world away began filtering in about casualties in the First Cav. Within hours, many of the women might receive "the knock on the door" - the notification that a husband or brother or son had been killed or wounded in action. The twenty-four-hour firefight - which would ultimately cost eight Americans their lives and leave more than sixty wounded - marked the beginning of the full-blown Iraqi insurgency. Martha Raddatz's account of the ambush and the courageous effort to save Shane Aguero's platoon offers perhaps the most riveting picture of hand-to-hand battle to come out of the war in Iraq. Yet it is the intimate portrait of the close-knit community of families back home that distinguishes The Long Road Home from other works of war reporting.
Long Road Home

Love my Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army

by Kayla Williams with Michael E. Staub

Call No. 921 WILLIAMS

Williams, part of the female 15 percent of the US Army, served five years in the military, including a year's deployment in Iraq during and after the US occupation. Her gritty memoir tells what it's like to be a woman in a macho universe, treated variously as a soldier respected for her skills and as a sister, mother, bitch, and slut.
Love My Rifle

Moment of Truth in Iraq: How a New "Greatest Generation" of American Soldiers is Turning Defeat and Disaster into Victory and Hope

by Michael Yon

Call No. 956.7044 YON

Internationally acclaimed for his "vivid" "shocking" and "intimate" coverage, no reporter knows the battle zones of Iraq better than former Green Beret Michael Yon. No one has better access, deeper sources, or greater credibility. Yon has never been co-opted--by Left or Right, Military or Media. Now, in a work with all the drama of his famous battlefield dispatches but cutting far deeper than anything he has published before, Yon tells the true story of the dramatic turnaround on the ground in 2007--and the still-critical dangers that will make 2008 the "Moment of Truth in Iraq".
Moment of Truth in Iraq

No True Glory: a Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah

by Bing West

Call No. 956.7044 WES

Here, in this singular book, is the unprecedented frontline look at the struggle in Iraq to replace American soldiers with Iraqis in the face of continued resistance. What unfolds is a vivid portrait from a veteran author who is in the line of fire right now.
No True Glory

The War I Always Wanted: the Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War: A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq

by Brandon Friedman

Call No. 956.7044 FRI

The "war he always wanted" took him to the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq as a young infantry officer in the elite 101st Airborne Division. For Lieutenant Brandon Friedman, however, the reality of his war fell far short of his youthful fantasies of combat heroism: he never stormed a beach, he never ducked tracer fire while parachuting onto an enemy-held airfield, and his best buddy didn't die in Brandon's arms talking about his mom and the girl back home. There was nothing Hollywood about it. In a literary style reminiscent of the late Kurt Vonnegut, Friedman helps readers understand the apparent contradiction of soldiers who can reflect upon the worst period in their lives as "a pretty good time."
War I Always Wanted
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