Veterans Book Group

Connecting through shared experiences

“Homer’s Odyssey offers a map for Soldiers coming home. A reading group provides the opportunity for Veterans to read the map.” - Program participant

MHC book groups have always happened in places where people are already gathering for important reasons … but the pandemic has taught us swiftly that it is the connection among people that is the most important element of the work we do, even across distance.

Now, when great flexibility is what the moment calls for, we are excited to provide a new, flexible opportunity to host a text-based discussion program that meets the needs of your own community, whether you are working independently or as part of an organization.

Learn more about the Discussion Project!

Testimonial

  • “I heard about this group and I thought, ‘Coming Home, what a concept.’ I’m older, I’m tired, and I’m ready to get on with the rest of my life… [The Odyssey] was telling a story to us from 3,000 years ago and yet we were telling the same story to each other… It felt good to be part of something the society we live in doesn’t really offer, especially to veterans. We tend to be apart from what goes on.”

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  • “I don’t get out much. In fact, I rarely leave my home. This has been good for me–to meet other Vets and think about some things I haven’t wanted to think much about, maybe it’s time to now…I like that it is a book group. I can think about these things that the readings bring up but can talk about the book, not my personal story.”

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  • "Being a Veteran is much like being in a fraternity, these discussions work best as 'members only.' It seems easier to talk when you know people around you 'get it.'"

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  • "It was good to be able to share my experiences with other fellow Veterans and not be judged or criticized for how I feel or think."

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  • "It allowed Veterans who normally spend a lot of time alone to actually come to the group and talk about their experiences when they normally wouldn't in a forum."

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  • "It's a good place to connect, through reading and discussion, with other veterans and their experiences. Helping us to process and deal with our own."

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  • "Remember, it is HARD to acclimate back into the civilian world when you have lived a military life 24/7 for a number of years. So much of America's contemporary culture is meaningless to a veteran...we were trained to lose our self and replace it with our unit; our mentality is different now and we cannot go back easily (some never do)."

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  • "[The] readings are from all perspectives and as a person you might be surprised that some issues that are present today aren't all that different from past conflicts. This point of view helps widen the spectrum of understanding and helps break the tunnel vision of isolation."

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  • "For forty years I have been looking for words to describe my experience and I finally found them right here in this ancient book (The Odyssey)."

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  • "If there had been a project like this both before we deployed and certainly after returning home, I would not have had the problems I had."

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Funded by:

The Welch Charitable Fund at the Maine Community Foundation

 

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Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.