Monday, November 14, 2022

Nine titles that take aim at the myth of the American hero

Brian O’Hare is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former U.S. Marine Corps officer. Currently, he’s an award-winning writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in War, Literature and the Arts, Santa Fe Writers Project, and Hobart, and has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. He was recently named a Writing Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

O’Hare's new story collection is Surrender.

At Electric Lit he tagged nine books that serve as guideposts on his quest to learn "why my father raised me to be a Marine. Why, after his profound trauma—the pain, the flashbacks, and finally, the humiliating exit—he deemed I share the same experiences." One title on the list:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

US Army private Billy Lynn is a hero, or so he’s been told by Fox News and President Bush. Fresh from combat in Iraq, Billy and his squadmates embark on a 2-week “Victory Tour” of America, culminating with the annual Cowboys-Redskins Thanksgiving football game, where they’re ritually adored on national TV. The stakes couldn’t be higher—or more American—as Billy, disillusioned by all he’s seen, contemplates ducking his return to Iraq. An absurd and utterly heartbreaking indictment of America, and our addiction to its noxious yet intoxicating brew of Christianity, capitalism, and nationalism. A damn near perfect book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is among Phil Klay's top ten books about returning from war.

--Marshal Zeringue