Veterans Book Group

Maryland’s veterans connect through humanities discussion

After a successful launch two years ago, Veterans Book Groups return for 2017.

At Maryland Humanities, we know that the humanities can play an important role in articulating the unique issues and concerns faced by veterans. Using literature to discuss service fosters connection, reduces feelings of isolation, and provides a safe context in which to explore issues regarding military service.

Veterans Book Groups aim to bring veterans of all eras together to talk about military experiences and returning to civilian life while providing an informal, supportive environment for discussion.

Readings range from classics to contemporaries – that means Herman Melville to Khaled Hosseini and everywhere in between! Syllabi vary, but all groups read the full gamut of literature including memoirs, novels, poetry, short stories, and essays.

Browse what our groups are reading with the Veterans Booklist.

Groups gather regularly in Harford, St. Mary’s, and Baltimore Counties

Check below for details on discussions near you!

  • Baltimore County Public Library - Towson Branch
    Select Mondays, February to May 2017
    February 13, March 6, March 27, April 24, May 15, 2017
    6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

    Led by Dr. Karen Arnold, former visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, this book group is open to current service members and veterans from all eras. Participants should plan to attend all five sessions. Dinner and materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register: Call (410) 887- 6166 or email

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   Get Directions

  • Harford County Public Library - Bel Air Branch
    Select Wednesdays, February to May 2017
    February 15, March 8, March 29, April 19, and May 17, 2017
    6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

    Led by Dr. Karen Arnold, former visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, this book group is open to current service members and veterans from all eras. Dinner and materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register: Call  (410) 638-3151

    Preview the Syllabus   Get Directions

  • St. Mary's County Library - Lexington Park Branch
    1st Friday of the month, February to June 2017
    February 3, March 3, April 7, May 5, and June 2, 2017
    11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

    Led by Vietnam Veteran, Author, and College of Southern Maryland Professor, Wayne Karlin, this book group is open to current service members and veterans from all eras, as well as their spouses, children, and other family members. Participants should plan to attend all five sessions. Lunch and materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register: Call  (301) 863-8188

    Preview the Syllabus   Get Directions

Veterans Book Group is coordinated statewide by Maryland Humanities and presented locally in partnership with the Baltimore, Harford, and St. Mary’s County public libraries. The program was created by the Maine Humanities Council to promote understanding of the military experience and to support returning veterans.

  • We were really moved by the testimony of the veterans and impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the students.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, parent
  • Good way to make learning real world. I learned first-hand what it was like in Vietnam, I learned a lot from this and enjoyed the experience.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • I felt that I had a very unique oral history experience. It was very emotional and I feel that I learned valuable information. I got to learn stories and practice skills that normally I wouldn’t have been comfortable with.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • I didn’t know that with history came such unique stories and experience.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I considered other perspectives both of other service members and others who did not serve.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • It was an interesting thing to do. The process of digging through photos, souvenirs, copies of old orders, and other memorabilia was meaningful after 43 years…I was impressed with all of the students I met.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • It was more than just a research project, it was more personal than that.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “I feel more connected to history.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • I’m so glad I did the interview and would do it again. Now I realize just how much history affects people.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “[Veterans Book Group] was better than expected! [I got] a feeling of connection and pride with the other member [and] I’d love to participate again in any future book clubs—I enjoyed the stimulation.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I learned a different way to explain combat experience to one who has never been in the service.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • I thought it was a very good learning experience. We actually got to talk to someone who took place in the Vietnam War.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “Again it was a wonderful experience with your students and a great project for them. To see and talk to real Vietnam vets is important to get real stories. You have a lot of work to do but it is a really worthwhile experience for the students “as well” as us Vietnam vets.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • “The enthusiasm, and preparedness of your students was impressive. I have spoken about them at different forums, as the leaders of a new generation of Americans, who will study the past, so, not to repeat the mistakes.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • “Being a part of the group provided me with a safe area to revisit my thoughts and feelings on my experience during the war.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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