MT. VERNON — Southern Illinois author Harry Spiller will speak about his new book, “Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan,” during a special presentation at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Brehm Library.
The book includes interviews with 22 American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who provide personal accounts of their experiences.
Spiller, who lives in West Frankfort, said his goal with the book was to educate the public about what soldiers go through and how they feel.
A number of the soldiers he interviewed for the book are from Southern Illinois, Spiller said.
“It’s their personal stories. It’s what they experienced,” Spiller said.
Thursday’s author event will be free and open to the public. After his speech, Spiller will be available for a book signing.
A Marion native, Spiller said he’s written books on several U.S. conflicts, including World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
His aim with these nonfiction works is to learn about the soldiers on the ground and what they experienced, as opposed to the generals and more prominent figures who tend to receive the most attention.
“I (want) to get the personal experience of the individuals that actually do the fighting,” Spiller said.
Spiller has written 14 books in all, only a portion of which are about war.
He is also the author of a true crime series called “Murder in the Heartland” that deals with real-life murder cases in Southern Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky.
Author events like the one being held at Brehm Library provide an ideal forum for writers to discuss their work, Spiller said.
“I think it’s beneficial to have the program for the authors to be able to express themselves,” Spiller said. “(And) it’s certainly going to be interesting for people to speak to authors.”