Books and programs about veterans, their time at war and returning home to be featured across county

Chris Wright. File photo
Chris Wright

By Chris Wright

Fall in Orange County will bring a series of programming devoted to veterans and their return home, aptly named “War Comes Home.”

I will be moderating a panel with two authors and former Marines: Frank McAdams of Dana Point and Marco Martinez, the Orange County Veterans Service Officer. Both served our nation during war and have written memoirs.

Marco is also a Navy Cross Recipient from Operation Iraqi Freedom. His memoir, Hard Corps written in 2007 discusses his transformation from an immature youth into a Marine non-commissioned officer leading the way into Baghdad at the tip of the spear with Marine infantry. It’s visceral and not for the faint of heart.

Frank McAdams ran truck convoys in Vietnam and his book just published in 2013, Vietnam Rough Riders: A Convoy Commander’s Memoir, describes his experience keeping the infantry resupplied over some very dangerous roads through the jungle and mountains of Vietnam. However, once you read his book you’ll come to discover his greatest challenge was dealing with his own command.

These two panels will go on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Laguna Niguel Library on Nov. 5 and Tustin Library on Nov. 12.

The culminating event for “War Comes Home” will be Karl Marlantes speaking at The Bowers Museum on Wednesday, Nov. 19. This event is free to the public thanks to a grant from Cal Humanities. Please see their website at

Karl Marlantes will discuss his second book, What It Is Like to Go to War. His first book, Matterhorn, some say is the best war novel since The Naked and the Dead. In his much acclaimed second book Marlantes candidly discusses his own homecoming experience, good and bad. It’s an intense discussion of war and society through the ages, tapping into religion, mythology and psychology. He offers solutions on how to better welcome our warriors and opines that many traditional societies got it right. But we live in changing times and Marlantes offers insight into the future as well. A great read and a must be at event.

Check the OC Public Libraries webpage at for a complete list of programs to include book clubs and film showings.

Chris Wright is not sure if he lives to read or if he reads to live. He has been a public librarian with the OC Public Libraries since 2006.

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