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Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
I don't have much to say about this book, to be honest. Mogelson doesn't seem to have actually attended an MFA program, but he has the kind of spare, observational, undistinctive style I associate with MFA programs. The stories are all war stories, but they focus on the people affected by war, not the fighting: damaged vets, family of veterans, people in combat. Too many are about men who become abusive toward their family. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but in Mogelson's hands these don't really rise above the level of cliché; they don't have much interesting to say about these kind of men. The mean thing to say would be that Luke Mogelson is no Tim O'Brien.

Still, there are a couple stories that stick in the mind a couple months later. I liked "New Guidance," about a translator assigned to a military unit whose always at a distance from everyone else, and "Kids," about a military base's strange relationship with local kids who might be working with terrorists. The best was "Visitors," about a woman whose veteran husband is in prison for killing a man, and who must navigate the weird terrain of her new life.

The back cover trumpets that characters recur between stories at different stages of their lives; I have seen this done well elsewhere, but I assume the back cover flags it up because the links are so slight, and add so little, that you wouldn't notice unless someone told you. There are probably people who will really like this book, but I just was not among them.
Stevil2001 | outras 83 resenhas | Aug 25, 2023 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
Sad, depressing, dark, violent... pretty on par for soldiers returning after deployment. 
fields.steph | outras 83 resenhas | Mar 9, 2022 |
A challenging, but important short story collection relaying the stories of those who've gone to war and what it's like to live with it after.
LivingReflections | outras 83 resenhas | Dec 2, 2018 |
I received an advance reader's uncorrected proof of THESE HEROIC, HAPPY DEAD as a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Winner and in exchange for writing and posting my honest review of the book.

As a civilian with little to no exposure or education as to the myriad of alterations - involuntary, intentional, voluntary, intended, predicted, potential, probable, unknown, and expected - the human psyche undergoes when directly involved and indirectly affected by war, I am filled with sincere gratitude to Luke Mogelson, His courageous act of service as an Army Infantry medic throughout several combat tours in Afghanistan coupled with his uniquely skilled observation, recording and sharing of stories that demonstrate the severe, profuse, and lasting consequences for all people, soldiers and civilians alike, of wars conceived and fought as part of a planned destruction of countries, cities, homes, and land, and all the while set on destroying the very belief systems and rights that protect and separate humanity from other life forms. Any intelligent person knows that in order to make it home from the battlefield, one is forced to undergo transformations in thought processes and value systems. once you have looked into the pit, you can never undo the damage or remove that part of you that enabled you to cause the damage. The acknowledgment of the consequences without whitewash, sugarcoat or hero announcements provides a spectacular window of respect for the battle scars that will never fully heal. I cannot be more resolute in my belief and desire for the American civilian population to educate itself and expend more energy and attention into greater awareness and stronger support to the troops that served America in its wars.

The book's title is a line from the e.e. cummings poem "next to of course god america i." Further display of the breadth and scope of Luke Mogelson's character..
MelissiaLenox | outras 83 resenhas | Jan 13, 2018 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
As brilliant a collection of stories as I have read. I am not a prolific reader of war stories per se, but I liked this is much as anything from Tim O'Brien or Kurt Vonnegut, and more than any of Hemingway, Greene, etc.

What resonated with me with how hard all of Mogelson's characters were trying to have control of their lives. Most failed to varying degrees, but all of them made an effort. It gave an air of tragedy to most of the stories, but there was humor in stories too.

The story that resonated with me most deeply was one about a son sent to live with his father for the summer, and taking the measure of the man, the son gains a new perspective.

A great collection of short stories. I'd recommend them to anyone.
jscape2000 | outras 83 resenhas | May 1, 2017 |
I received this book for free through Bookstr's giveaways.

Like most short story collections, there were some stories I liked and some that I didn't. My personal favorites were "To the Lake," "Sea Bass," and "Visitors".

The author did a good job of showcasing how war can affect people and their families.

Overall, it was well written and I enjoyed it.
oddandbookish | outras 83 resenhas | Apr 19, 2017 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
I'm a fan of short stories and I find stories that revolve around the effects of war fascinating, so Mogelson's collection really struck all the right chords for me. Mogelson does an excellent job of portraying the depth and span of war through the lens of PTSD as he explores various forms of abuse that veterans and their loved ones suffer.

Each story is told from the perspective of the veteran. This point of view adds strong emotion to each story. I was consistently surprised out how painfully emotional, yet different each story was in this collection.

I can see how the stories might get overwhelming if someone was looking for a diverse selection of topics, but if you're looking for a realistic, abrasive view into the world of veterans this is a must read.
MarcusH | outras 83 resenhas | Mar 8, 2017 |
The effects of war are unpredictable and ever-reaching. Luke
Mogulson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead, a collection of modern
war-related short stories, provides unsettling, haunting glimpses into
the lives of veterans suffering from varying degrees of PTSD. Like Tim
O’Brien’s epic Vietnam war novel The Things They Carried, (one of my
all-time favorites), These Heroic, Happy Dead exposes readers to the
unspoken issues, the ugly, dirty truths, and the huge burdens our
veterans, along with their families, are left to bear following their
service to our country.

Drug and alcohol abuse, violent mood swings and domestic violence are
but a few of the many post-combat issues Mogulson explores in his
series of short stories. Though the individual tales shift between
multiple veterans at various times in their military careers, the
common thread of alienation unites the characters. Following exposure
to the awful and at times beautiful elements of combat, the former
soldiers find re-acclimation to civilian society all but impossible.
Personal relationships, particularly romantic and marital, are shown
to suffer, often critically, unable to make allowances for the new
anger and proclivity for violence. In “To the Lake” and “Visitors”,
troubled veterans Bill and Rob, following their service, are prone to
violence. This results in loss of familial and romantic relationships,
and in Rob’s case, freedom, when he is imprisoned as a consequence for
acting upon his rage. Alcohol replaces conversation for several of the
characters who cannot discuss their experiences with friends or
family. This substance abuse serves to further alienate the character
from society, as well as exacerbate feelings of anger and depression.

Though dark in subject, These Heroic, Happy Dead is not without humor.
There are many instances of quirky, surprising comic relief littered
throughout the work which I found very welcome. This collection is not
a diatribe, but rather an evocative piece reminding us of the
ever-complicated messiness of war. Mogulson conveys empathy for not
just the veterans he creates, but for their families, friends, foreign
allies, and the many lives who are and forever will be affected by
their actions.

I enjoyed These Heroic, Happy Dead. Like Vonnegut and O’Brien before
him, Mogulson left me moved, uncomfortable, and in question of how
many elements of his work of fiction are, in part or in whole,
inspired by actual events. I appreciate his style and narrative voice,
shifting between characters and periods of time and resplendent with
many an interjection and expletive. Luke Mogulson has set the bar
quite high with this, his debut novel, thus ensuring that I, and no
doubt many others, will be keeping an eye out for his future works.
Bookwormshawn | outras 83 resenhas | Mar 2, 2017 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
I offer two options for reading this book. Take your time and savor it like a 5 course meal with a good bottle of wine OR devour it in one sitting like a gluttonous critic.
Either way, you must read this one.
Tim O'brien may have met his match. Simply gorgeous.
martingayle | outras 83 resenhas | Jan 8, 2017 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
Having served in armed conflict, it is great to have the stories from the perspective of veterans after they have served written. Many of the stories are filled with grief, pain and sadness and do not give you a neat and tidy endings. A stand-out story for me, was to the lake, it provided a glimpse into several generations of veterans suffering from their service, but still provided a story that was relateable.
RobFow | outras 83 resenhas | Nov 3, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
Did not finish.
This is a book of short stories about military people, often veterans. I started reading when I received the book (thanks Library Thing for the early read!), and was excited. However, I put it down for a long time because I didn’t really like it. I picked it up again. One story was okay. The other story I read was back to military people being not good people: neglectful, abusive, among others. While I do not doubt this is true of some veterans, this book seems to overemphasize these outcomes which for me undermined the difficulty of re-assimilating into civilian life.

Writing was okay.
kparr | outras 83 resenhas | Oct 30, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
These stories are well crafted with a pleasing diversity of structures and topics, while maintaining a constant focus on character, tight observations, and a good sense of dialogue. Small threads connect the stories in the book, making the collection tie together nicely as a discrete work, but without being too gimmicky or novelistic. While the characters and focus are overwhelmingly male, these are not overly-masculine stories and Mogelson gives us a lot more than the (sadly true) but overly familiar post-combat cliches. These are short stories that take every advantage of the form, and if you are a short story fan, this one is going to be a treat.

[full review here: ]
kristykay22 | outras 83 resenhas | Oct 1, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
This is a short story collection. All stories show individuals who have been affected by war. The stories were disturbing. They showed how violence can have long lasting effects.
chgstrom | outras 83 resenhas | Sep 19, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
These stories--of heroes who'd prefer not to be heroes, of returned heroes who never learned how to be heroic or survive after war, and of men and women and children who don't know quite how their lives turned into what they are--are easy to slip into. Too easy, because they are also so real, and so hard, and so brilliantly depicted in this brief collection. If anything, they are too real.

Mogelson's writing is sometimes abrupt--in one story in particular, it really threw me off--but his style on the whole fits his territories of war and struggle. From piece to piece, the characters fight to remain human, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing. In some cases, they watch those around them win or lose this same fight, and in some cases, this territory is the hardest to witness as a reader.

I think this is one of those rare short story collections which will be hard to forget, and where the stories both work separately and together to explore particular ideas without becoming repetitive or boring--which, simply, never happens in this book. And yet, it's a difficult one to recommend--it's full of what is so much easier to ignore than is to face, and full of difficulty. And, what's hardest of all, Mogelson's smart writing makes even the hardest of his characters easy to understand, easy to relate to... and that can be a bit terrifying.½
whitewavedarling | outras 83 resenhas | Sep 16, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
In my opinion, this is an uneven collection of short stories some being very good and some not so much. A particularly strong story is "Visitors" abut a lady who visits her husband in prison which gives great incite into that experience. The very next one called "Kids" I believe was confusing. On the whole, the stories stateside are better than the stories set in our wars in the Middle East. I have read several other books by vets that are based on their experiences that are presented in a more coherent way.
muddyboy | outras 83 resenhas | Sep 11, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
Very disjointed stories. I had a difficult time reading this book. Just not my cup of tea.
Devlindusty | outras 83 resenhas | Sep 2, 2016 |
There was just something missing from these stories. They all seemed unfinished to me. I certainly don't need to be spoon-fed content, but I was unable to intuit what the author's intent was in his writing. I just finished this book and I can honestly say that I can't remember any one of them that made a lasting impact on me. Shame, a lot of potential material to draw from but Mogeleson just didn't quite get there.
Maureen_McCombs | outras 83 resenhas | Aug 19, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
I usually do not like to review books on topics such as the ones shared in These Heroic, Happy Dead by Luke Mogelson. There's a reason for it - actually a couple reasons. And because of my reasoning, I stayed away, but once a book is given to me for review, I have to hold to my obligations. I have to read it and give my thoughts, and so I review the thought-provoking, unsentimental shares of this debut author.

These Heroic, Happy Dead is a compilation of stories that go deep into the lives of fictional characters, who're either on the line of war, behind the lines or awaiting those returning from the war. Because my father and many others in my family served, I found myself with an aching heart of a mother, the loss of children and the confusion of the men who died.

This book is real. It hurts and it brings pride. It allows you to travel in time and deal with an alcoholic vet who can't adapt. The stories even come together, a sort of puzzle in the way they relate, but each tale seems to be its own. To be all come together in such a book, made me not regret receiving this book. I enjoyed it very much.

**Book was provided, free from Library Thing, for an honest review.
AReneeHunt | outras 83 resenhas | Aug 15, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
I’ve had this book since March and realized I hadn’t saved my review properly the first time, so here it is: Various people affected in different ways by war populate these stories. A couple of the stories are familiar. I read the quietly distressing “To the Lake” in the Paris Review, in which vets from two different wars attempt to cope. In “Peacetime” (previously published in The New Yorker) a National Guardsman lives in a New York armory while he’s separated from his wife. He works as a paramedic, steals small items of little value, “knickknacks,” from patient’s homes, and finally leaves something he shouldn’t in one – the drug box.

In “Sea Bass” the narrator tells about how his father who couldn’t cope with civilian life and divorce returns to the army and war. An unarmed contractor transports large amounts of cash through the desert in “A Beautiful Country.” A mother visits her veteran son in prison in “Visitors.” A journalist survives a Kabul bombing in “Total Solar.”

Every character is affected by war. Luke Mogelson tells some wonderful stories here using that frame of reference.
Hagelstein | outras 83 resenhas | Aug 9, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
These Heroic Happy Dead by Luke Mogelson. For one I love the title...that's what drew me to the book. Intrigued to know more I requested a copy...

This is a quick read of about 10 post 9/11 stories. Stories that take the readers into the lives of the people that come back from war. The people that have seen and lived through the devastation of war and war torn countries...come home and deal with yet another battle...falling back into "normal" lives. The anguish, angst, inner struggles and trauma. Haunting tales of all too real situations of real people. It's heartbreaking and brilliant in that we get a glimpse of something we so easily take for granted, look past, and most times don't even think about when it comes to the men and women that fought/fight for our country. They come back home...all is well..they should be blessed to be back. How ignorant we are to think that. These short stories tell us so much more....the true impact of war for those "fortunate" to make it back with their lives. It may not always be the case, or the trauma this extreme, but there is a reality in which for some it is.

Again, a brilliant, haunting read. I personally think this book should be required reading for the high school level youth....required reading for the home.

A big thanks to the peeps at LibraryThing and to the author Luke Mogelson for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.
dalaimomma | outras 83 resenhas | Aug 8, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
These Heroic, Happy Dead is a short story collection written by Luke Mogelson. The stories have to do with veterans and the people in their lives. The stories are unique, engrossing and haunting. I found this collection to be skillfully written and memorable.

I received a free ARC through LibraryThing Early Reviewers and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
SAMANTHA100 | outras 83 resenhas | Jul 15, 2016 |
UPS delivered my copy in the morning and I'd finished it by the end of the evening. These short stories are that compelling.

I've read much of the best fiction (and nonfiction) that has come out of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this definitely ranks with the best. But it's also not quite like anything else I've read to come out of those wars. There's a very unique voice in these deeply unsettling stories: dark, honest, and sometimes very funny.

We're kept off balance and are never comfortable reading these stories. I like the unpredictability in here. Characters don't say or do what we expect, and plots (such as they are) don't develop in obvious directions. There are no happy endings, no closure, no easy outs. Heroism (in a traditional sense) is not on display here. These are stories of damage and loss; of lives ended prematurely and lives that will never be the same. Here we see tough lives, bad choices, and things gone horribly wrong. And not just for the veterans themselves, but also those they come home to.

The stories are loosely interwoven, showing us some of the same characters back and forth in time. We see the effects of war, but not in an explicitly causal sense. "To the Lake" is a masterpiece and a hell of a ride. Each individual story is good, but (like all good collections) the power is in the whole. The stories play off each other with cleverness and subtlety.

There isn't an ounce of sentimentality in these stories, but there is a deep empathy. Mogelson isn't beating us over the head with a "message" or a "moral"; but in the end we've been smacked by a 2x4 all the same. This is powerful stuff, but deftly done.

(Thanks to Crown for an advance copy via a giveaway. Receiving a free copy did not affect the content of my review.)
Wickabod | outras 83 resenhas | Jun 22, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
This book is a collection of stories about veterans. Each story is unique in that we catch a glimpse of how the individual is adapting to civilian life after service or coping with changes that took place while they were away - changes in American society, changes within themselves, or changes in the lives of their loved ones. There's some very strong writing in this book, and stylistically I enjoyed the prose. It's concise and moves the story along well. However, this book is not for individuals with a weak stomach - there are some graphic descriptions of injuries and I found myself cringing more than once (and I have a fairly high tolerance). Worth the read if you're interested learning a little more about the aftermath of combat.

Note: I was given a free ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Neftzger | outras 83 resenhas | Jun 14, 2016 |
Not all casualties of war happen on the battlefield – or even inside a war zone, for that matter. Thousands occur long after soldiers return to what should be the safe havens of their homes and families. It is only then that these young men and women finally succumb to the pressures they lived under for so many months while serving as repeated targets for Islamist extremists in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. And when they finally crack, the results are tragic for them and everyone close to them.

Luke Mogelson, in his debut short story collection These Heroic, Happy Dead, offers ten stories about men and women who survived “the war” only to be undone by “the peace” to which they came home. Each brought the worst of what they saw and did in the Middle East home with them, and each is paying a heavy price for having done so. What makes the stories in the collection so effective is that they are presented first and foremost as character studies of people finding it near impossible to cope with the modern world. They may be jobless, estranged from their wives and children, homeless, suicidal, victims of addictions, or prone to violent outbursts, but what they all have in common is that they are casualties of war. Remarkably, however, the tone of Mogelson’s ten stories is not particularly anti-war, something that makes them all the more powerful.

The book’s overall tone is solidly set by its first story, “To the Lake,” in which two veterans, one a double-amputee, meet in the holding tank of a remote county jail. Mentally and physically fragile as both men are, it still remains for the amputee to come to the rescue of his more able-bodied comrade. But now it might be up to the rescued vet to save the life of the man who just bailed him out of jail.

Not all victims of war ever were soldiers. Some of them are the parents of soldiers, some are the spouses of soldiers, and some are the children of soldiers – and Mogelson includes stories about them, too. “Visitors” tells of a mother who drives long hours every Wednesday to visit her veteran son in prison - where he’s paying the price for killing a man in a bar fight that happened just two months after he came home from what was supposed to be his real war. “Sea Bass” is a boy’s account of how difficult his father found it to hold a job after returning from war, and what happened on the last day he ever saw him. And in perhaps the most perplexing story of the entire collection, there is “Kids,” the story of a boy in Afghanistan who was either trying to steer an American patrol away from or toward a booby-trapped room. Without a translator, no one could be certain, and whatever the boy intended, it could not have been what ended up actually happening.

These Heroic, Happy Dead is a remarkable short story compilation, and it marks Luke Mogelson as someone to watch for in future.
SamSattler | outras 83 resenhas | Jun 3, 2016 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
The financial costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were treated like “off the books” expenses and kept out of the U.S. budget. For many years of those long wars, the Pentagon banned media coverage of the return of military dead to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Keeping the war at a distance allows us to remain unaccountable. That’s why These Heroic, Happy Dead, Luke Mogelson’s debut short story collection, should be essential reading. Each story examines the impact of war, not just on the men returning from battle, but on those to whom they return--spouses, lovers, children, co-workers. The reverberations of violence shake lives apart in startling ways: a mother whose son is imprisoned shortly after his return is secretly grateful to know where he is; a military contractor is no longer able to return home between assignments; a child is seriously injured while visiting his father, who re-enlists in the aftermath of the accident. The veterans of Korea and Vietnam who appear as minor characters are unable to offer any clear path forward. Their presence amplifies the ambiguity and necessary lack of resolution in Mogelson’s stories. He shows us war’s unfinished business without blinking. The war correspondent who narrates the collection’s last story, “Total Solar,” asks a final question that serves as a fitting summation to this fine addition to the literature of war: “What happened here?”
maryscherf | outras 83 resenhas | May 30, 2016 |