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
I browsed that one at Amazon before your post, now I may take a second look, thanks.
Fiction? Only in the sense that the author purports to get into Lee's head from time to time and tell us what he's thinking. I believe he used Lee's writings as a basis for such passages, and maybe the recollections written later by others. Some of the discussions about the soldiers' reasons for fighting are probably fiction, but based on the sort of things soldiers actually wrote in their letters. But all the facts of the battle, and all the military characters, are real. The description of Pickett's Charge is absolutely breathtaking.
B-24 ops in the southwest pacific; no heroics, lots of routine bravery, not much sense of accomplishment and a fair amount of confusion. Remarkably like my own war a generation later.
CQB by Mike Curtis. Good read on the life of a SAS soldier. Covers Falklands War, the madness in Bosnia and Gulf War
The One That Got Away by Chris Ryan, Story of SAS Bravo Two Zero patrol in Gulf War that went on the run after being compromised while looking for SCUD launchers. Ryan was the only one to E&E out of Iraq to freedom. The others died or where captured. Ryan's E&E is the longest in SAS history and pretty incredible with half the countryside looking for him.
Not yet. It's on my list.
The book is still sitting on my desk where I quit at page 261.
The hell that those brave guys went through was too much for me. I wanted to do nasty things to the military and civilian pricks who let them down.
For that reason, I won't watch the movie or video-tape.
I trust we learned something useful from this incident but doubt it.
I first read it in 1979. I have never read anything as powerful before or since.
When I first heard that a movie was being made from it, I considered it a personal gift from the Gods. The movie is based on a few characters from one chapter of the book. As with most movies, justice to the book was not done.
The story of what Hitler did to the men of the 6th Army is a monument to the stupidity of hubris.