Skip to comments.43 Books About War Every Man Should Read
Posted on 01/10/2014 5:48:26 PM PST by dynachrome
War is unquestionably mankind at his worst. Yet, paradoxically, it is in war that men individual men often show the very best of themselves. War is often the result of greed, stupidity, or depravity. But in it, men are often brave, loyal, and selfless.
I am not a soldier. I have no plans to become one. But Ive studied war for a long time. I am not alone in this.
The greats have been writing and reading about war its causes, its effects, its heroes, its victims since the beginning of written text. Some of our most powerful literature is either overtly about war or profoundly influenced by it. Homers epic poems are about war first, ten years of battle against Troy and then ten years of battle against nature and the gods. Thucydides, our first great historian, wrote about the Peloponnesian War the great war between Sparta and Athens. Rome was built by war and literature, and the world has been influenced by that ever since. The American Empire is no different our men came home and wrote about the Civil War, about the Spanish-American War, about WWI, about WWII. A new generation has come home and has written (and is still writing) powerful books about the counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The study of war is the study of life, because war is life in the rawest sense. It is death, fear, power, love, adrenaline, sacrifice, glory, and the will to survive.
(Excerpt) Read more at artofmanliness.com ...
I am surprised how many I have read and how many I now need to read.
There is a lot of money to be made in war. I’m surprised there’s no book about it.
“Theres no question it is a good thing a full generation has passed in the West without requiring the majority of young people to feel the full brunt of war.
At the same time, this can lead to a profound ignorance and naivete”
So women should be excluded? Maybe everyone should read them. One of my favorites is The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman. There are several books on the War of Secession aka The Civil War. Then there is the biography of Curtis LeMay, Ulysses S. Grant, Eisenhower, Churchill, etc. Not being argumentative and all but .....
Why do I need 43 books about war?
What you expect from a site called “The Art of Mnaliness”?
This idiot downplayz Sun Tzu. Chairman Moa’s Little Red Book was almost a verbatim plagiarism of Sun Tzu.
“The Art of War” was in fact and indeed the “ART OF WAR.”
Couple THOUSAND years OLD. And as new as the newest day.
ps. Guns of August is very good. Should be on the list.
I agree with a few of the books but not most of the list.
I have read most of these books, and most of those that I haven’t read I will add to my list and read in short order. But, very few of these books would have made much sense to me until I had experience the unmistakable sound and pressure of a bullet passing by my eye. Until you have seen the elephant, you know little and can understand nothing. Manliness in the metrosexual context of present day has nothing to do with it.
>> Not being argumentative
Are too! :-)
The list cannot be taken seriously. He has Caputo’s drugged out freak fantasy on Vietnam which is an insult to Vietnam vets who served honorably. Caputo even makes insulting comments about the bodies of dead American soldiers.
The list is a hodgepodge made up over many minutes of consideration.
That is one I have not read. I’ll take a freeper’s word for it.
I was surprised that I had read several of these since I am not much of a reader.
I agree that Xenophon’s story of the 10,000 Greek Mercenaries is an absolute must not for just a military historian but for everyone.
Thucydides is a real treasure but it is really long and tough going. The amount of information is really incredible.
Perhaps with one I just finished. It's one of the best accounts of WWII submarine warfare I've ever read, and I've read several great ones:
Am not@! :)
Read it several times. Very good agreed. But those others I mentioned are good too, esp. LeMay. I see a bit of James T. Kirk in the reading. I wonder ... hmmmm......
Lost Victories by von Manstein. One of the most brilliant German generals speaks about what it was like obeying a fool and playing with a losing hand.
The Real War, 1914-1918 by B. Liddell Hart. A guy who interviewed all of the WWII generals on an even basis. This is his take on WWI.
The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer. Astonishing.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer. Take your time with this one. It's worth it.
The Second World War Six volumes by somebody named Churchill. If you have to ask you'll never know.
Anything by John Keegan, Victor Davis Hanson, or Bruce Catton.
It isn't so much war, I think, it's about war as a facet of the overall human condition. Why can we not do this? What is it about war that is so inextricably linked with what we are? Good stuff...
I’m disappointed that Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo didn’t make the list.
At the very least the opening paragraph, where Ted Lawson mentions that he watched as a friend sawed off one of his legs, makes it a worthy contender.
Victor Davis Hanson is controversial? Right away I have to disregard whatever this person has to say.
He also has a book by vicious, anti-American, NY Slimes writer Chris Hedges. Anything by Hedges is guaranteed to slime the U.S. It looks like there are some good books on this list, but I’d beware a lot of them.
The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer
Try not to be on the losing side. (I guess debunked, but even if mostly fiction,a very good depiction of the horrors on the eastern front. You might try Siege, A Novel of the Eastern Front. about the siege of Cholm. pretty depressing to be a common soldier for Hitler. http://www.amazon.com/Siege-Novel-Eastern-Front-1942/dp/1582880468/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389407054&sr=1-1&keywords=siege+a+novel+of+the+eastern+front )
Just did a search on it. Yep, will hit the library to see if I can get it.
The Forgotten Solder by Sajer, is really something.
Everyone should read that.
After the first shot all plans go to hell.
Cripes. A swipe of 43 titles. That’ll take 15 min just to scroll past.
Face of Battle by John Keegan is a book that follows a handful of important battles. Each is from the view of an actual specific soldier or low officer fighting it. Fascinating and sobering. Needs to be in the top five here.
J.F.C. Fuller’s classic two volume tome: Decisive Battles of the Western World is important in that it contradicts the modern psuedo-wisdom that the tides of history are such that the battles are unimportant. No, often it is a closely won battle that changes the tides.
I’m surprised, but I’ve read about half of these listed books.
He also wrote the movie "Operation Dumbo Drop" for Disney.
Anyone else notice that nearly all of his Civil War books are by Union Generals. None by Confederate ones.
+1 for Unbroken! It is like three books in one. Each segment of Louis Zamperini’s life could be a book in itself. Good thing this is non-fiction. Were it a novel, no one would buy into it because the story is too fantastic to believe.
huh. You’d think one or two would write something.
You make me laugh. Victor Davis Hanson can only be controversial if you do not like facts or truth (or a liberal . . . oh, I repeat myself!).
Some that should be added to the list:
The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 BC to the Present, by R. Ernest Dupuy, Ernest R. Dupuy, Trevor N. Dupuy. The essential guide to battles and wars, great and small. The index is divided into three parts: “General Index,” “Index to Wars,” and “Index of Battles and Sieges.” It is an important feature of the encyclopedia since it is the best way to pinpoint information in the chronological arrangement.
The Influence of Sea Power Upon History: 1660-1783, by Alfred Thayer Mahan. It details the role of sea power during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and discusses the various factors needed to support and achieve sea power, with emphasis on having the largest and most powerful fleet. Scholars consider it the single most influential book in naval strategy. Its policies were quickly adopted by most major navies, ultimately causing the World War I naval arms race.
War On The Eastern Front 1941-1945 : The German Soldier in Russia, by James Lucas. Some of the most extraordinary and surreal battles between intelligent, determined Germans and rigidly hierarchical Russians, who while vastly outnumbering their enemy, abhorred initiative and common sense, resulting in terrible destruction of men and equipment.
Devil’s Guard, Recall to Inferno (Devil’s Guard II), Devil’s Guard III: Unconditional Warfare, all by George R. Elford. The story of a Waffen-SS battalion at the end of WWII that was converted to French Foreign Legion and sent to fight in French Indochina. One of the top 10 books read by US soldiers fighting in the Gulf War.
The Liberators, by Viktor Suvorov (Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun). The Liberators is a collection of Viktor Suvorov’s shockingly revealing, and often hilarious, first-hand stories about the inside of the Soviet-army during the 1960’s, culminating in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. The author brilliantly contrasts the outside world’s perception of the Soviet Union with the pathetic reality: an internally weak nation run by a system of corruption, brutality and incompetence. (Several of his books are top notch, both informative and entertaining.)
While many people have read All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, few have read its sequel, entitled The Road Back, about the hardships suffered by veterans, many of who were horribly crippled, after World War I.
As indicated by the narrative here itself, anyone before the Civil War in America is pretty ignored.
Great 2-volume on the RevWar is by Christopher Ward, simply “War of the Revolution” or originally “Rag, Tag and Bobtail”. It’s not long, could’ve been 1 large book. Very good.
My parents said “Washington’s Crossing” by Fischer was excellent, bearing much actual data about the whole war and not really just the Trenton battles. Husband also liked it alot. Still haven’t read it. Internet has messed me for real reading.
As for so-called 1812, “Dawn’s Early Light” was really good, by same author of the famous “Night to Remember”, Walter Lord. He was writing in this case about his own hometown. Being raised on history particularly battlefields, and raised by native history teacher, I was astounded to learn about the gigantic breast works put in by natives through the city. Much, much more to the Battle of Baltimore than the Star-Spangled Banner. In fact, you probably didn’t know there was a Battle for Baltimore, much less the more specific Battle of North Point. It really wasn’t just Navy and fortress, people. I read another very good book, called I think “Battle for Baltimore” IIRC. Very good, recent. Met the author at the time and have signed copy.
A great book! Bought two, gave one away and have yet to finish mine. The recipient said it was great and even lent it to another!
It starts out as a good list until a half a dozen positions down its interests become parochial and war obsessed. Thanks, but no thanks.
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