Operation Homecoming:
Writing the Wartime Experience


Operation Homecoming is an audio CD featuring the literature of war, read in the voices of ten of America’s most esteemed writers, most of whom served in war themselves. Narrated by NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, the CD presents fiction, poetry, letters, and memoirs from the Civil War, World War I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The Operation Homecoming CD will be given free to troops to help them explore and realize their own literary potential.

A special audio program, presented by the National Endowment for the Arts, featuring: Will D. Campbell, Shelby Foote, Barry Hannah, Victor Davis Hanson, Bobbie Ann Mason, Marilyn Nelson, James Salter, Louis Simpson, Richard Willbur, Tobias Wolff, and narrated by Dana Gioia.

[Site owner note: In pursuit of making this CD available to active servicemembers and veterans alike, these tracks were created from an original CD purchased at a thrift shop. You can find this CD on Amazon (as of 17 April 2021). Please right-click and Save As… to copy these files to your collection.]

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, Operation Homecoming


Dana Gioia, writing the wartime experience

Letters Home

Hugh Alexander Leslie, Read By Edward Gero (WWI)

Hazel Jane Raines, Read By Diane Cooper-Gould (WWII)

Samuel Cabble, Read By Ed Bishop (Civil War)

Sullivan Ballou, Read By Edward Gero (Civil War)


Shelby Foote, From Shiloh (Civil War)

Bobbie Ann Mason, From In Country (Vietnam)

Barry Hannah, From “Testimony Of Pilot” (Vietnam)


James Salter, From Burning The Days (Korea)

Tobias Wolff, From In Pharaoh’s Army (Vietnam)

Will D. Campbell, “A Christmas Gift” (WWII)

Will D. Campbell, The Return Of The Enola Gay (WWII)

Victor Davis Hanson, “A Ring” (WWII)


Richard Wilbur, “First Snow In Alsace” (WWII)

Marilyn Nelson, “Star-Fix” (WWII)

Louis Simpson Recalls The Battle of the Bulge (WWII)

Louis Simpson, “On The Ledge” (WWII)

On Writing

Tobias Wolff On Literary Influences

Shelby Foote On Literary Influences

Richard Wilbur On Writing

Louis Simpson On Military Experience

James Salter On Writing


Operation Homecoming is made possible by The Boeing Company.

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This website is independently owned and operated, and is not affiliated with Boeing, the Southern Arts Federation, or the National Endowment for the Arts.