Today US citizens mark Memorial Day, an American holiday dedicated to honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day during the Civil War era, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971.

We also want to commemorate all these people. To do this we’ve prepared a list of three world-known and even classic books about wars. The Trojan War, the French invasion of Russia, World War I—all these wars took place in different periods, between different countries and nations and for different reasons. But all of them were extremely cruel. Let’s never repeat this cruelty again. And now the books!

1. The Iliad by Homer (translation by Robert Fagles)

Written in the ninth century B.C., Homer’s poem still vividly conveys the terror and heroism of men and gods, who struggle with towering emotions and fight amidst devastation and destruction, as it inexorably moves towards the wrenching, tragic end of the Trojan War.

The translation was made by Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Combining his skills of a poet and scholar, Robert Fagles brings the energy of contemporary language to this timeless heroic epic. Besides, he maintains the drive and metric music of Homer’s poetry and evokes the impact and nuance of the Iliad’s mesmerizing repeated phrases.

2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (translation by Louise Maude)

On June 24, 1812, Napoleon’s Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian Army. That’s when the French invasion of Russia began. In Russia’s struggle with Napoleon, Leo Tolstoy saw a tragedy that involved all mankind. War and Peace is more than just a historical chronicle, it is an affirmation of life itself, “a complete picture of everything in which people find their happiness and greatness, their grief and humiliation,” as a contemporary reviewer put it.

We recommend you to read this particular version of the book, as Tolstoy gave his personal approval to this translation. Read and enjoy!

3. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

The book tells the story of Paul Bäumer, who belongs to a group of German soldiers on the Western Front during World War I. It all started in 1914, a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic are goaded by their schoolmaster to volunteer for military service. With the fire and patriotism of youth, they sign up. While fighting at the front, Bäumer and his comrades have to engage in frequent battles and endure the treacherous and filthy conditions of trench warfare.

Erich Maria Remarque was a German veteran of World War I, and he faced all the atrocities of the war. Consequently, the book does not focus on heroic stories of bravery, but rather gives a view of the conditions in which the soldiers find themselves.

Read more about all these writers on And we invite you to tell the story of your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, or just some acquaintances of yours, who took part in any war. Create their biographical profiles on our website. Let’s never forget these people!

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