Every book has the potential to affect the reader on a personal level. I think most books are written for that purpose. Some fail disastrously. Some succeed beyond anyone's wildest expectations, and the rest fall in between.
I recently finished Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor, and you strip away the political discussion, the pros and cons of war, or more specifically, the reason of even building a fighting force in the first place, what you find in Luttrell's re-telling of the horror he met in Afghanistan is a story about survival and the will to live.
And, even if you disagree with everything he stands for as an American soldier, it's a story that remains with you and forces you to contemplate living and dying, good and evil.
Of course, I read the story after it's been out for several years and after a film of the event has been made (of which I haven't seen...). However, I don't believe the time that's passed makes a difference in the experience I had reading the book. The book's narrative mirror's that of another story I read about the Navy Seals, Mark Owen's No Easy Day, a detailed account of the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Luttrell describes his becoming a Navy Seal. And since the story is so well known, we know the physical and mental punishment he experiences prepare him for what lies ahead.
We then learn of his assignment and he brings us along into the Afghan mountains. We learn of decisions made and eventually the gunfight that ensues. As I read this story it made me think of my life, how I live, what would I do to protect something--anything, and what the term "sacrifice" means to the storyteller.
It also describes in agonizingly great detail the horrors of war. It's one man's story. It's a tough story to read, which, I believe, is why it was written. Books try to affect the reader. For me, this one succeeded.
* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/711901.Lone_Survivor?ac=1