We’re closer to a Nuclear War now than ever before. Every day, when you turn on the news, log into your favorite social media platform or just talk to colleagues and friends, you hear about the war in Ukraine. And that’s normal; none of us ever expected to live in such turbulent times in Europe in 2022. No one thought we would ever have to fear the possibility of a future after a Nuclear war. And maybe, it’s our fault that we forgot war was at the core of the human problem. Maybe it was naive for us to assume wars were behind us and that we could move on to a more peaceful feature.
However, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get sucked into believing that war is normal. We shouldn’t stop fighting for a more peaceful future. We shouldn’t keep on pushing for more violence. We all need to remember how horrible wars are. And the following titles will help you do just that.
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
The greatest anti-war book of all time. Written by a veteran of the First World War, “All Quiet on the Western Front” shows the war as it is — with all the quiet brutality, with the suffering of the dozens of young men sent out to die for no reason at all. It reminds us that it’s a zero-sum game, no one wins, and worst of all, we all lose as a society. We lose entire generations of young boys, and we witness the pain of generations of mothers who are all dying along with their children. And finally, the most important lesson of this book comes towards its end, and it reminds us that no matter what politicians tell us, no matter how much they try to make us believe we’re different, we need to remember that we’re all the same. We have similar aspirations about the future — we want to live in peace and happiness, we want our kids to grow up in a better world, and we don’t want to be spending money, time, tears, blood, and sweat fighting about the aspirations of global leaders.
“But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony — Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?”
King Rat by James Clavell
Yet another war-inspired novel that shows us how truly terrible war can be and how awful it is to go through it. Set in a Japanese prison camp during the Second World War, this novel by Clavell gives us all the details of how awful life is for soldiers who weren’t killed by capture. It reminds us that death is not always the worst outcome and that being a prisoner during a war can be even worse. I have not met a single person who has read “King Rat” and hasn’t been shaken by it, moved to their very core. And so, to everyone that believes war is a part of human nature, we should accept; I recommend this book.
“Guard yourself and your conscience. No one else will, and know that a bad decision at the right time can destroy you far more surely than any bullet!”
Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
If you’re a sensitive person, this book will not be a good read for you. Especially right now. It’s more or less a bold prediction of a Russian author as to what the Earth would look like in case an actual Nuclear War actually happened. And as you can guess, it’s not good. In “Metro 2033”, humanity is almost extinct; it lives fully underground as the outside world is full of mutants and animals who turned into monsters due to radiation. People have done their best to destroy the world as we know it and are now bound to suffer under the ground, fighting off one threat after the other with no hope of ever returning to life as it was. Gluhovsky’s book reminds us how great the world we live in is and how bad it could become if we dare to underestimate the nuclear threat and further try to engage in wars.
“And then, after five minutes of silence, almost inaudibly, the old man sighed and said, more to himself than to Artyom: ‘Lord, what a splendid world we ruined . . .”
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
This is a book about the war in Vietnam, and it’s hard for it to be defined as a novel or a short story collection because it’s neither. It’s more so a collection of episodes that tell us the horrors of war in the most honest way possible — through the eyes of the soldiers that seem them. It reminds us that war doesn’t live only in the now — the people who witness it firsthand carry it within themselves for the rest of their lives. It’s a scar that never fully heals.
“I survived, but it’s not a happy ending.”
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
When I first read this book, I was 14 years old, and it shook me to my very core. I remember turning one page in particular and being sick to my stomach. At that age, I couldn’t believe people would do these types of things to each other. At that point, I hadn’t read too many war novels, so the entire genre was sort of unknown to me. And I certainly hadn’t expected to read about the kind of cruelty that exists in “The Kite Runner.” It’s a book you read and then never forget. And every time you see pictures of war-ridden cities, you remember it.
“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime….”
At the end of this article, I just want to say one thing. I hope we remember that we’re more alike than we’re different. I hope we continue striving to make the world better, not worse. I hope we respect each other. I pray for peace.