Skip to comments.Best Books - Non-fiction military (war story) - Freeper opinions wanted!
Posted on 07/05/2002 4:46:49 PM PDT by Enlightiator
I would like to hear freeper recommendations on military "war story" books. What are your favorites? I have read and highly recommend:
1. "The Last Battle, The Mayaguez Incident and the End of the Vietnam War", Ralph Wetterhahn. The best read ever on the rescue of the crew of the ship 'Mayaguez' from the Khmer Rouge shortly after the Vietnam War proper ended. An absolutely fascinating story, I could hardly put it down (even stopped reading Blackhawk Down to read this). Politics, incredible combat, honor and sacrifice, huge governmental and IMHO military leadership blunders. And astoundingly, the story and shock of discovery of three Marines unknowingly left behind on a small island off Cambodia as the evacuation helicopters flew away. I must warn that this is the worst edited book I have read, repetitions galore, incorrect indexes, etc, but the conviction of the author and the sheer power of the story overcame this for me.
2. "Ghost Soldiers", by Hampton Sides. A great story of WWII rescue of soldiers in the Phillipine POW camps, many of them survivors of the Bataan Death March. In prison for years, abandoned by their country and MacArthur (until he did "return" to Manila and the Philipines as promised), their stories of survival and finally rescue are amazing.
3. "Black Hawk Down", Mark Bowden. IMHO, the new standard of writing for war stories - fair, balanced, bluntly honest, and extremely well researched and documented. Going after the Mogadishu, Somalia warlord, success and tragedy, more failed leadership, hero's on the ground, and last but not least Clinton's wasting of the 18 (I think) lives lost by abandoning the whole effort and freeing the captured leadership of the warlord. Great read, but haven't seen the movie yet.
4. "Band of Brothers", by Stephen Ambrose. WWII, Easy company, 506th, 101st Airborn. Very good book.
5. "We were Soldiers Once..and Young", Lt. Gen. Harold Moore and Joe Galloway. The best book I have read to date on Vietnam, and overall, a great book.
----- Books I am considering buying, but would like freeper opinions of these and others:
"Flags of our Fathers" - by James Bradley, Ron Powers (WWII, Iwo Jima battle and raising of the flag).
"The Commandos: The Inside Story of Americas Secret Soldiers",by Douglas C. Waller
"Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit", by Eric L. Haney
Gates of Fire, Stephen Pressfield
Stalingrad by Beevers,
WInter War by Foss
Infantry Tactics by Erwin Rommel
Last Man in Rome (political mostly, some military)
Flags of our fathers
With the Old Breed at Okinawa and Pelilu
Hope these Help...its about 2 mos worth of reading.
Rape of Nanking
and how about "Unintended Consequenses by John Ross (if you want a domestic war, and your blood boiling)
Lewis and Clark is a good one
Rebels and Redcoats (not Redcoats and Rebels).
I just got an MP3 player for my daily runs, and downloaded "American Caesar: Douglas McArthur" by William Manchester as my first audiobook. I'm about 2 hours into it so far.
As you can see, I listen to a lot more books than I read. I'll bookmark this thread for more ideas later on.
Unlikely Liberators by Masayo Umezawa Duus. About the Japanese-American troops in WW II, who fought to free Occupied Europe.
When the Guns Roared by Philip Van Doren Stern. Has to be read to be (dis)believed. Very entertaining as a result. Highly biased, to put it mildly. I don't believe this book has ever been reprinted once, and this country has an unquenchable appetite for civil war books.
I both agree and disagree. Cornielous is a notorious exaggerator. He is discredited by historians and veterans alike in his version of events. Although it is an entertaining and tells the basic tale, your advanced WW2 authors will be Ambrose, John Keegan, and Raminov (for those of you who read Russian).
No. I cannot narrow the most destructive century in mankind (the 20th century with 500 million dead in war), and definately will not narrow the biggest EVENT in the history of mankind, World War II, down to two or three books.
The person that would want 3 books for WW2 should have received that education in High School, or college level courses in contemporary European (or military history) history.
The reason I say this is WW2 was HUGE...and on purpose, I studied Russian so I could read Russian version of events on the East Front.
Did you know that seventy percent (70%!!!!) of all combat casualties from were on the EASTERN FRONT? Thats all the way from 1933 (when China went into Manchuria) to VJ day in 1945, the Russians bore the true hell of WW2.
I suggest the book "The Second World War" by John Keegan, for basic understanding of WW2. He writes from an ENGLISH perspective, not American. For an American perspective, contact Ambrose, or Theodore Wilson at University of Kansas.
Keegan also is an author on WW1.
Glad I could be of help.
I add "Death of a Navy" but I read it 35-40 years ago and don't have a copy for a quick review.
Final note: I find Keegan to be a boring writer. The facts are there but his style is just too dry.