Veterans Book Group

Reading and discussion groups for Veterans.


Jan Bindas-Tenney
Program Officer
(207) 773-5051


Public Programs

Offering opportunities to engage with the experience of military service.

The humanities can play an important role in articulating the unique issues and concerns faced by Veterans: fostering connection, reducing feelings of isolation, and providing a safe context in which to explore issues regarding military service.

Our Veterans-related public programs provide an opportunity to open dialogue between the civilian public and Veterans about the experience of military service. These programs, which have been organized and designed alongside Veterans and Veterans organizations, aim to illuminate and explore service from multiple perspectives.


  • “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.”


  • “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.”


  • "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.'"


  • "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."


  • "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."


  • "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."


  • "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)."


  • "[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."


  • "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)."


  • "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."


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.