Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is it time that the tale were told?

I've been reading an ass load of books about the various wars and conflicts in which the US is currently engaged. One, which I quite liked, My War, has been described as an instant classic. What I wonder is whether people will be reading these books in ten or even five years. If you look at the Amazon lists for World War 2, you have to get to book 25, With the Old Breed, to find a book written about the time of the war. The Vietnam page has Dispatches, but that was written six years after the last US troops left major combat operations*.

So I wonder if when these wars end, some new authors will take the old books, what the academic world produces and takes a look at whatever the world looks like in 2009, and then write the books we will all be reading in 2015. The consensus on wars change over time. While Korea looked like a bitter stalemate, best forgotten, back in the 1950s, people know see it as a wise choice to limit the war. Time changes the viewpoint, which I suppose makes earlier accounts less useful or interesting.

*There are also a lot of sniper books. I was unaware of this subculture until a few years ago. I was reading a book that involved the use of snipers. My friend said "Oh you like sniper books?" He pretended he didn't say it when I expressed my surprise that such a fixation existed.

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