War Comes Home

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What does it mean to come back home from war? How can we build bridges of understanding between those who have served and those who have not?

Please note that this page is under construction. Thank you for your patience.

War Comes Home, our current thematic initiative, aims to raise awareness of and promote greater understanding of our veterans and explore the impact of war on our communities. Through hundreds of events throughout California, we are working to bring communities together with veterans and their families, writers, and historians for thoughtful reflection and lively discussion in the aftermath of more than 12 years of war.

Please join us in the following programs:


California Reads + Author Tour

Participate in our statewide read of best-selling novelist Karl Marlantes’ book, What It Is Like to Go to War (Grove/Atlantic 2011).  Events include a 12-city tour by Karl Marlantes, in partnership with the California Center for the Book.

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Community Stories

What can we learn from our veterans?  How are their stories part of the California experience? Check out some of our Community Stories grant funded projects featuring the voices of veterans.

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In Schools

How can students learn about U.S. history and government through the eyes of veterans? This year-long teacher professional development program provides a curriculum guide, discussion ideas, and more. (In partnership with the California History-Social Science Project)

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In Summer 2014 Cal Humanities interviewed veterans, scholars, advocates, and caretakers about what it means to come home from war. Our goal was to create a series of interviews that reflects the diversity of experience and perspective of veterans of different eras, backgrounds, and conflicts and help to build bridges of understanding between those who have served and those who have not.

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Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Healthcare®

Can reading a poem by Thomas Hardy help a nurse better understand a veteran at her hospital? Yes! This innovative program invites VA health care workers to join facilitated discussions on meaningful issues revealed by poetry, plays, personal narratives, and films. The program improves patient care by fostering empathy and understanding, improving communications skills, and enhancing job satisfaction among participating providers and care-givers. (In partnership with major VA medical centers in California)

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Public Conversations

View recordings of five public dialogues on topics related to the veteran experience including post traumatic stress disorder, mythmaking, and the changing faces of veterans. These conversations held at five public libraries in summer 2014 brought together veterans, scholars, artists, activists, and policy makers to exchange ideas and share a variety of perspectives.  Conducted in partnership with UCHRI and the California State Library.  

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War Comes Home: The Legacy 

This fall, see the banner exhibit that presents veterans’ perspectives through letters and journals from history. Easy to install and travel, War Comes Home: The Legacy is available for libraries, colleges, small museums, cultural centers, and more. (A partnership with Exhibit Envoy)


About War Comes Home

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War Comes Home FAQ

For Press

For more information and specific details about War Comes Home, please contact California Humanities Senior Program Officer Felicia Kelley at fkelley@calhum.org.

Please see our Searching for Democracy homepage for information about this past (2012) initiative of Cal Humanities.

War Comes Home Partners Include

The California Center for the Book is a nonprofit reading promotion agency affiliated with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the California State Library.  CCFB develops and supports statewide programs that celebrate California's rich literary heritage and that help libraries promote literacy, authorship and civic engagement.


Based on the UC Irvine campus, UCHRI serves all ten campuses in the UC system, interacting with UC campus humanities centers, other campus research centers, and with individual faculty and graduate students to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary humanities research and pedagogy throughout the University of California system and within the larger communities they inhabit. Stressing interdisciplinary research, the UC Humanities Research Institute bridges gaps between disciplines across the humanities and human sciences and seeks to overcome the intellectual and institutional barriers that can separate the humanities from other fields.

 Exhibit Envoy provides high quality, affordable, traveling exhibitions and professional services to museums and other host venues throughout California. Its mission is to build new perspectives among Californians, create innovative exhibitions and solutions, and advance institutions in service to their communities. Created in 1988 by Cal Humanities as a consortium of small community‐based museums, Exhibit Envoy became a separate non‐profit organization in 2002.

The California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP) is a K-16 collaborative of historians, teachers, and affiliated scholars dedicated to the pursuit of educational excellence in history and social science. Headquartered in the Department of History at the University of California, Davis, there are seven CHSSP sites across California. 



War Comes Home and its many programs are made possible by the generous support from our funders-the National Endowment for Humanities, the BayTree Fund, the Whitman Institute, and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, the California State Library, California Humanities and/or its funders and no official endorsement by any of these institutions should be inferred.




See multimedia related to War Comes Home on our Experiences page, and join the conversation on social media using the #warcomeshome hashtag.



Attend any of the hundreds of War Comes Home related events occurring fall 2014 at a location near you!

Thank you for joining.

Join the Initiative

We want YOU to participate!


  • Read Karl Marlantes' What It Is Like To Go To War, along with thousands of other Californians this fall! Get a copy from your local bookseller or library or through online vendors.


  • Attend an Author in Conversation event, featuring Karl Marlantes!
  • Attend one of the many War Comes Home-related programs at your local participating CA Reads library (click for map)!
  • Attend a War Comes Home-related event being hosted through our Community Stories program.
  • Share the high school curriculum developed by the California History-Social Science Project with teachers in your community. This free curriculum is designed for 11th & 12th grade history and civics classes and aligns with state and national standards.
  • Experience the humanities through our various War Comes Home related interviews and videos.


  • Join the the conversation face-to face and on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Tag your comments and photos with #warcomeshome.
  • Organize a reading group at your workplace, school, veterans agency, or civic or faith-based organization, using our free discussion guide which includes questions, an author interview, and other helpful resources. Special discounts on bulk purchases are available through the publisher – contact Senior Program Officer Felicia Kelley for details.