A WWII Soldier reading quietly at a public library. You can see rows of books behind and in front of him. "n"nThese are authentic, professional WWII reenactment actors and models wearing authentic WWII era US Army military uniforms. The buttons and pins are also authentic for the period.

Mandatory Reads: The Best Books About Veterans to Read on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have served in the many branches of the military and to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that service required. Since we can’t ask the soldiers killed in battle what war was like for them, we have to rely on living veterans to share their stories – be they inspirational and heroic or cautionary tales.

The following list includes both fiction and non-fiction tomes that propel the reader into action-packed war scenes with visceral descriptions. The authors range from former servicemen and women to journalists who spared no detail of their experiences, no matter how heinous.

In a time when World War III often feels like it might not be that far off, these must-read books remind us what battle really looks – and feels – like, and why we should try to keep the peace whenever we can.

Cover Photo: LifeJourneys (Getty Images)


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