Reading for War

The Truth in Fiction: An Interview with Mike Bond

By Vicky Osborn February 13, 2019


We read fiction to be entertained, so why not read to be educated at the same time?

There is a long history of fiction that provides a great basis for professional development, right from Tom Clancy and 'Red Storm Rising' (available on the DLS as an audiobook) all the way through to the recent 'Ghost Fleet' image of a Third World War.

Here Jo Byerly's brilliant 'From the Green Notebook' blog conducts an interview with Mike Bond, the author of Assassins (2016).  While written as a work of fiction, Assassins is actually the product of Mike's thirty years experience studying the conflict between Islam and the West.

When asked why he decided to write a fictional novel instead of a non fiction text, the author explains: 'Fiction allows us to live an experience, not simply learn about it. Fiction connects with the emotions, whereas non-fiction deals primarily with the left brain, the intellect. It is what we have experienced that we know best, and most trust. That is my intent. I try to place my readers so deeply in a situation that they feel they have lived it themselves, and remember the experience as their own'.

He continues by stating the importance of reading and writing fiction.  'Great strategic planners rarely go by the book; they face each new situation creatively, including the knowledge of whether the enemy is going by 'his' book. Thinking outside the box is nourished by fiction, not non-fiction'.

A few questions to think about:

  • Do you agree that fiction can be a more powerful means to learn then non-fiction?
  • Should we be teaching creative writing skills?
  • Are there any fiction novels that have helped you along your professional journey?

CO 1RAR just published his reading list which includes a number of fiction novels. Can you recommend any others? Why not hit contribute and let us know. You can read more from Jo Byerly's at 'From the Green Notebook'.



Vicky Osborn

Vicky Osborn is an Education Officer posted to Headquarters Forces Command, Directorate of Professional Military Education. Previous postings include the Army Knowledge Centre (ALPC) and Army Logistics Training Centre.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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