This is an anthology of 32 pieces, many directly relating to war and its aftermath, or, in general, kinds of violence humans inflict upon each other and the ensuing suffering: hence the title, "echoes of war." The pieces include short fiction, essay, a dozen poems, and a photo collection. Since none are lengthy, this is a good reader to supplement other longer texts or to serve as an anthology for a reading group. A short essay, "Suggested Longer Readers," mentions some three dozen pivotal topics, including "homecoming" and "sense of identity." 


Editor Suzanne Hunter Brown (Dartmouth) has led a Literature and Medicine reading and discussion group at Vermont's White River Junction Veterans Adminstration Medicine Center since 2005. This is a fine collection, with variety by theme, format, and subject. There are well-known writers (Hardy, Tennyson, Williams), but mostly writers from 1960 onwards, with a blend of men and women, minority and ethinic voices, physicians and nurses. Brown organizes the entries by author's names in alphabetical order, leaving readers to make their own groupings.

If I were leading a reading group, I'd suggest:
Between Patient and Caregiver, including pieces by John Stone and William Carlos Williams;
Damage to Body and Mind, including pieces by Nancy Mairs and Atul Gawande;
War, Violence, Bloodlust, including pieces by Thomas Hardy and Andre Dubus, as well as an extraordinary photo collection by Platon of military, veterans, wounded survivors, and family;
Multicultural Aspects, including pieces by Wanda Coleman, Louise Erdrich, and Arthur Kleinman; and
A Reprise, including Atul Gawande, Flannery O'Connor, and Raymond Carver.

The readings are powerful, individually and collectively, and saddening. Will humans ever stop maiming, raping, humiliating, killing each other?


This volume is part of the Maine Humanities Council's initiative "Literature and Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care," a nationwide reading and discussing program (see:


Maine Humanities Council

Place Published

Portland, Maine




Suzanne Hunter Brown

Page Count