Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Five best books on looking at war from many angles

David Mamet, a playwright, screenwriter and film director, is the author of Theatre, recently published in paperback, and coming in June, The Secret Knowledge.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books about looking at war from many angles.

One title on the list:
The Mint
by T.E. Lawrence (1955)

"A day-book of the R.A.F. Depot between August and December 1922 with later notes by 352087 A/c Ross." Who was this Aircraftman Ross with the "daybook"? T.E. Lawrence, who, in 1922—having had enough of fame as the British army's Lawrence of Arabia—sought privacy but also adventure by changing his name to John Hume Ross and enlisting in the Royal Air Force. His identity was rather an open secret in the barracks, but he nonetheless endured a great deal of the bashing that greeted new recruits. He kept a record of his experiences but barred the book from being published during his lifetime because of its raw depiction of military life. Mourning the "self-pity which debilitates," he wrote: "While my body has toughened here in the depot, and budded muscles in all sorts of unused places, my stoicism and silence of mouth gradually fade. I begin to blab to the fellows what I feel. Just like any other chap."
Read about the other books on Mamet's list.

--Marshal Zeringue