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"What Martial Conflict Spawned the Best Literature?" Topic

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26 Feb 2019 4:07 p.m. PST
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Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2016 2:15 p.m. PST

Last week I asked which were the best novels from the major conflicts seen in wargaming. WW2 suprised me in how few titles there were to choose from.

Most does not equal best of course.

So, the question remains: what (historical) martial conflict spawned the best literature?

Sundance21 Jul 2016 2:25 p.m. PST

Napoleonic Wars. War & Peace, Les Miserables, and I know there are a couple more I'm forgetting. It also inspired the 1812 Overture and at least one of Beethoven's symphonies.

brucka21 Jul 2016 2:34 p.m. PST


Weasel21 Jul 2016 2:43 p.m. PST

Alistair McLean or whatever his name was seems to have held up ww2 writing pretty well on his own :)

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2016 2:44 p.m. PST

"Wellington's Victory"--but the man did say literature. And is Jane Austen's Persuasion literature from the Napoleonic Wars? (I say yes.)
I'd also say for literature, it's probably in order
--ACW (GWTW, Red Badge of Courage, John Brown's Body)
--Napoleonic Wars
--(Tie) Trojan War and Russian Civil War. But it's worth keeping in mind that it isn't all written yet, and just asking the question in English distorts the answer. Too many books not translated, not translated well, or not well enough known.

Oh. And there are only a few best of anything. That's part of the definition.

Leadjunky21 Jul 2016 2:48 p.m. PST


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2016 3:07 p.m. PST


Best is not most

I think Napoleonic Wars or WWI have some pretty good work – but my choice would be WWII

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2016 3:24 p.m. PST

1990s gangster rap battles.

BW195921 Jul 2016 5:04 p.m. PST

ACW – You have, Red Badge of Courage, Killer Angles, & Cain at Gettysburg.

corona66 Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2016 5:51 p.m. PST

Another vote for the ACW. And it also had many literate soldiers who wrote powerful letters and reports.

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2016 9:21 p.m. PST

What about the Siege of Troy or the Crusades?

emckinney21 Jul 2016 9:38 p.m. PST

Jane Austen and many of the women writers were the product of a society with a shortage of (marriagable) men whether from death, absence, or incapacitating wounds. It's a reasonable proposition that the Napoleonic Wars caused the emergence of the female author in English society.

daler240D22 Jul 2016 1:27 a.m. PST

Kevin C has it right. The Trojan War.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2016 3:53 a.m. PST

A significant amount of American WWI and WWII literature is set outside the combat zones.
What Price Glory?
South Pacific
Mr. Roberts
Stalag 17

For the British, Pat Reid's Colditz stories are among the century's greatest adventure stories.


Atomic Floozy22 Jul 2016 5:34 a.m. PST

"Best Literature" is very subjective. Personally, I would have to also go with the Trojan War. The Iliad is the only "war spawned" book I've read more than twice.

thorr66622 Jul 2016 10:07 a.m. PST

The Bible?

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2016 10:16 a.m. PST

The Great Revolt 11731174, spawned by Eleanor and Henry's marital conflicts.

Elizabeth Chadwick, The Greatest Knight is one of my favorites of the historical fiction in the Angevin genre.

jowady22 Jul 2016 4:01 p.m. PST

Well The Hundred Years War inspired 4 Shakespearean plays as did The Wars of the Roses. The Roman Civil Wars that began with Julius Caesar inspired 2. The Napoleonic Wars, especially if you include the French Revolution undoubtedly inspired the most literary works, and musically operas and symphonies (but please don't include "Wellington's Victory", it's as horrible a piece of musical deck as ever written).

Personal logo ACWBill Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2016 5:41 p.m. PST

The Great War was the root of the entire "lost generation" of artist and writers.

Inkpaduta23 Jul 2016 9:53 a.m. PST

Either Trojan War or Napoleonic.

Ottoathome25 Jul 2016 3:25 a.m. PST

Most of the stuff you guys have listed is either bad (historical novels) or little read today, or is the "Harlequen Romance" counterpart for the historical buff crowd.

Thucydides, "The Peloponnesian War" is still read today and prescribed in many college courses in both literature and history. You could teach a whole course on international Relations using just that one text. All the arguments are there, all the examples of nationals strategies are there, all the issues. It's timeliness is proved by two simple quotes.

One is spoken by the Athenian Ambassadors…."Do not be hasty in involving yourself in the affairs of others. Consider while there is still time the inscrutable nature of war, and how, when prolonged, it often ends in a matter of mere chance."

The other is spoken by one of the Spartan Ephors in their debates. In typical Laconic style…

"War is not an affair of arms, but of money."

That's it, that's the best. All the rest are nice for stroking yourself by, but if you want both real insight and great literature, go right back to Thucydides.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2016 7:22 a.m. PST


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