How Aaron’s War by Richard McMaster Highlights the Impact of War on Soldiers

Wars are gruesome, deadly, and horrifying despite movies glorifying soldiers killing enemies under the perception of patriotism or heroism. Wars have far-reaching physical and psychological implications for soldiers and their families, typically not depicted in movies or shows. Hollywood usually depicts wars as a means of national unity, bonding among soldiers, and soldiers’ heroism in defending their country or national spirit. Many books about war also glorify soldiers or their unique relationships with their peers, friends, and loved ones. However, Hollywood does not show war’s gruesome consequences, leaving thousands of soldiers crippled or dead. Popular media does not show how war instills lifelong psychological implications in survivors in the form of depression, PTSD, and other disorders. Aaron’s War by Richard McMaster is a unique book offering an entirely different perspective by highlighting the adverse implications of the war on soldiers.

Thousands of books portray WWII circumstances and events, focusing primarily on soldiers’ heroics, war strategies, espionage, and other elements. However, Aaron’s War takes an entirely different perspective by focusing on the factors affecting soldiers’ behavior on the battlefield and the emotional and psychological effects after the war. Aaron’s War is a coming-of-age story about Aaron Vanko and his psychological, social, religious, and romantic predicaments during and after the war. The book, authored by Richard McMaster, portrays how the religious and social dilemmas affect Aaron and his actions during the war. Set in the 1940s, Aaron’s War shows the story of a young soldier, Aaron Vanko, who enlists in the army to fight against the Nazis during World War II. However, the horrors of war and religious conflict raging in his mind overwhelm him and influence the soldier’s decision to kill another human.

Aaron’s War depicts how religious and social values affect a man’s decisions despite fighting an enemy on the battlefield, contrary to the perceptions regarding war built by the media and movies. McMaster portrays the soldier’s dilemma before and during the war and the adverse effects on soldiers after the war. The book follows the journey and transformation of Aaron Vanko when he enters the war and comes out as a completely changed man while experiencing severe emotional and psychological trauma. Aaron’s War incorporates several elements to depict how moral and religious values, religion, emotional attachments, and social influences affect a person’s decisions. The book also highlights how war experiences adversely affect a person’s physical, social, psychological, and emotional well-being. The book by Richard McMaster follows Aaron’s journey while portraying the different phases in a soldier’s life before, during, and after the war.

The first section highlights how religious, moral, and emotional dilemmas influence soldiers’ decisions before and during the war. The subsequent sections focus on the adverse outcomes and implications of the war’s effects on Aaron’s emotions and psychological state as a soldier. Aaron has constant nightmares about the war and contemplates leaving his wife and child to safeguard them from his self-perceived danger. Soldiers and veterans face significant emotional and psychological issues after returning from war, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, nightmares, and trouble developing or maintaining relationships. PTSD is one of the most common effects of wars affecting soldiers and veterans. McMaster explains the effects and symptoms of PTSD by portraying how it affects Aaron Vanko and his family. Richard McMaster uniquely depicts how people behave in wars and how wars affect people by highlighting the various phases of Aaron’s life as a soldier.

Richard McMaster became interested in reading and writing early but chose the business career section. Faced with the decision to pursue a career in business or write books, McMaster chose the former due to a lack of confidence in writing despite his passion. However, he did not stop reading and took inspiration from numerous writers on his journey as a writer. McMaster faced hesitation early in his writing career due to his apprehensions regarding the embarrassment of someone reading his books or people’s reaction. He started writing because he had something to say and transcribed it into words. McMaster also wrote because of the cathartic experience he derived from the process rather than expecting fame or money.

Richard McMaster journeyed from being a healthcare executive leading three startups to an accomplished author with several novels, including Voyage of Life, A Love Divided by Time, and Aaron’s War. The writer takes inspiration from his favorite books and movies while reviewing people’s circumstances. The book, On Killing, by David Grossman, where the author explains how only 15 to 20 percent of the soldiers fired their weapons, was McMaster’s primary inspiration for Aaron’s War. McMaster paints a vivid picture of a soldier’s circumstances during and after the war in Aaron’s War and how diverse social, religious, and cultural issues influence Aaron’s actions.

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