This year’s 15th National Book Festival is all about milestones. Not only is the festival itself marking 15 years, it is also celebrating 200 years since Thomas Jefferson’s personal library came to the Library of Congress. Another key celebration is the 15th anniversary of the Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress.
VHP collects, preserves and makes accessible personal accounts of American war veterans so future generations can hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
Firsthand audio and video recordings with veterans, original personal correspondence and visual materials like pictures and scrapbooks, comprise the collection, which is the result of Congress’s creation of the project in 2000.
A special festival program, “The Human Side of War,” will feature some of the nation’s most distinguished writers about war, both fiction and nonfiction, in the Special Programs Pavilion.
Participants include Tom Brokaw, author of the best-seller “The Greatest Generation”; Rick Atkinson, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the Liberation Trilogy; Christian G. Appy, author most recently of “American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity”; and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former foreign correspondent for The Washington Post and author of “For Love of Country,” written with Howard Schultz.
A panel discussion, “Novels of War”, features writers Elliot Ackerman (“Green on Blue”), Roxana Robinson (“Sparta”) and Phil Klay (“Redeployment”) and will be moderated by Elizabeth Samet, professor of war literature at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.Emceeing the program is Robert Patrick, U.S. Army Col. (Ret.), director of the Veterans History Project. Between blockbuster authors, Bob will showcase some of the extraordinary oral histories that have been assembled through this historic project over the past 15 years – nearly 100,000 of them, yet another milestone!
To learn more about contributing stories or collections to the VHP, see //www.loc.gov/vets/kit.html.
And, if you are a D.C. resident, see the information here (//www.loc.gov/today/pr/2015/15-134.html) for some special opportunities in August and September.