It is one of the conventions of literary criticism that World War I produced great writers but World War II did not. David M. Kennedy, for instance, claims that World War II “did not loose the same creative wave in American literature that World War I did,” and that the literature of the Second World War lacked both the “stylistic inventiveness” and “the direct and searing anger” [Kennedy’s emphasis] of World War I writing.3 Perceived wisdom aside, it is diffi cult to fi nd the justifi cation for such a critique. Writers such as Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller, James Jones, Kurt Vonnegut, Herman Wouk, Randall Jarrell, and John Ciardi, all of whom experienced the war directly, produced sardonic, penetrating novels and poems that had much in common with the work produced by World War I writers such as Ernest Hemingway and e. e. Cummings. Th e unconventional organization of Mailer’s Th e Naked and the Dead and the elasticity of time in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five are as stylistically inventive as any writing that came out of World War I, and there are few poems in English literature that are as disturbing as Randall Jarrell’s “Th e Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” or John Ciardi’s “A Box Comes Home.” Th e connections between the authors’ own war experiences and their writings are oft en so direct that the “fi ction” produced by this generation of writers should be considered as much a chronicle of this war as the nonfi ction.