Veterans Book Group

Maryland’s veterans connect through humanities discussion

After a successful launch three years ago, Veterans Book Groups return for 2018.

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.

Here’s a selection of titles, some of which are read by our Veterans Book Groups.

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

Check below for details on discussions near you!

  • Baltimore County - Towson Library
    Select Mondays, January to May 2018
    January 29, February 26, March 26, April 30, and May 21, 2018
    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 - Bel Air Library
    Select Wednesdays, February to May 2018
    February 14, March 14, April 11, May 9, and May 30, 2018
    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

  • Prince George's County - Montpelier Arts Center
    Second Tuesday of the month, March to May 2018
    March 13, April 10, and May 8, 2018
    6:30 p.m. – 9:00 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. Participants should plan to attend all three sessions. Registration is required.

    Register: Call  (301) 377- 7800

    Preview the Syllabus   Get Directions

  • St. Mary's County - Lexington Park Library
    1st Friday of the month, February to June 2018
    February 2, March 2, April 6, May 4, and June 1, 2018
    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.

Veterans Book Group is supported in part statewide by David Bruce Smith and additionally in Baltimore County by the Citizens of Baltimore County.

  • “I met some great people, read books I might never have otherwise, [and] had great discussion.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “This was the first time I felt comfortable admitting that I was a female Viet Nam vet!”

    Veterans Book Group 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
  • It was more than just a research project, it was more personal than that.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student 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’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
  • In history class you always read books written by people who didn’t experience it so it was nice to get an actual view on it. It was different because you got actual stories from history that many people don’t learn. I would like to thank you for giving me this experience in my freshman year.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student 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’s different from other projects because I actually got to interact with someone and get information from something other than a history book.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • 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
  • I just wanted to tell you, I really enjoyed the visit…Your students were wonderful and the questions were fair and good. I enjoyed the experience and hope it will helpful to your classroom experience…I like it when students ask questions on things they may have wondered about. 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…it is a really worthwhile experience for the students “as well” as us Vietnam vets.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • I enjoyed it very much and I learned quite a lot. I think there is a lot that can be learned from these experiences and I think this could be a positive experience for the veterans also.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student 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
  • 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
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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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