Last week I attended the Pritzker Military Library’s book talk given by David Finkel on his new book Thank You For Your Service. I admit I have not yet read the book and at first was not sure why I wanted to attend because my focus is World War II right now. But he was going to talk about PTSD and that ties into part of what book 3 in my Stories of the Lost series is about. So I attended.
I have a great deal of respect for Finkel, who stood on stage and said he has received a lot of feedback, not good by the way, about his books, because they were stories and not filled with policy. His first book, The Good Soldiers, reports on men who served in Iraq, while this second book follows their lives and how they and their families deal with the PTSD and aftermath of service. He said his purpose was not to provide policy or a history of the war overseas. It was to tell the stories of these men and their families. For that he has my respect.
I have run into similar comments about my To Soar with the Tigers book and people wanting the history of the Flying Tigers in addition to Robert’s story. But that was never the point of that book and I stand by that. In the second edition I did add a little more context and history of Chennault and the Flying Tigers – that I agree needed to be expanded. But I did not make it an entire history. I imagine I’ll receive similar comments when I release my series of books, but the point is to tell stories and help people understand what it was like for our service men and women.
Finkel told stories throughout his book talk. His storytelling approach is similar to mine and it was both a joy and very sad to listen to him speak. By the end I had tears in my eyes. His book is not for the faint of heart. It is filled with a lot of pain from the lives of these men and their families. I believe it is something everyone should read. It is on my list to read after I finish writing my first two books by February. Then I can deal with the emotional subject matter this contains which I believe will help give me a new perspective as I write book 3 of my series.
Look for Finkel’s book and if you read it, please let me know what you think. If you are in the Chicago area and can attend a Pritzker Military Library lecture, please do so! They are fantastic and I guarantee if you hang around afterward, you will meet some very interesting people.
© 2013, Generations, Woodridge, IL