LOST at War

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War is an ugly thing, and war is divine. It is a necessity, a contagion. And war is where it's at, where boys are made into men; where war stories are born; where the country and often the world focus their support, their thanks, and their blame. But outside of politics, the people remain — the men and women who fought and who served — and here, LOST collects a few of their war stories.

From the country's founding in revolution to the Iraq War, ongoing now for five years, war defines the history of the United States. It centers generations and shapes what we look at, when we look back. But if war defines the country, it seems clear that people define war, and so we've built our annual summer issue around the words of our wars' people:  we're featuring one piece of first-person nonfiction for each of 10 major American conflicts.

This special theme issue of LOST makes no attempt at comprehensiveness. It simply samples moments from two and a half centuries of war and, we hope, gives a glimpse into the world of the American soldier, a constant figure in the American narrative. Military life can be a dangerous life, especially when a war is on, and coming off Memorial Day we see more clearly, perhaps, the sorrow and anger surrounding the fact of it. But there is often honor there, too — and dedication to a greater cause, regardless of what leader puts that dedication to test, or why.

In this special issue you'll find lots of what's gone lost at war, including a new interview with Frank Buckles, the last living World War I veteran who served in Europe; advice from a Marine who served in Vietnam to one about to serve in Iraq; memories of the War of 1812 from a doctor who served (and sawed) in it; a song straight from the fields of the Civil War; and more.

And you'll find us again, in our usual format, in September. Onward.


Articles in this Issue

The Revolutionary War, by James Thacher, M.D.
War of 1812, by Dr. William Beaumont
Mexican-American War, by James Nagle
The Civil War, by Bret Harte
The Spanish-American War, by Theodore Roosevelt
World War I, by Frank Buckles
World War II, by Audie Murphy
Korean War, by James Brady
Vietnam, by Crane Davis
The Iraq War, by Joshua Key
Pixels, by Clay McLeod Chapman
Clamor, by E. B. Moore