It’s hard to imagine an American adolescence that doesn’t include reading A Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Salinger’s masterpiece was released 61 years ago today, on July 16, 1951. In addition to writing part of the American Canon, Salinger was a soldier during the Second World War. He trained as a counter-intelligence specialist and went ashore among the 4th Infantry Division troops at Normandy.

Here’s a piece about spending an evening with Salinger. It offers a view of a man who rarely went out.

For a view of what the war likely did to him, give his short story, “For Esme, With Love and Squalor,” a read. Jerome David Salinger died on January 27, 2010. RIP, soldier.