This is one of the better personal accounts to come out of the Vietnam War. In a remote province in Vietnam's Mekong delta, First Lieutenant David Don...moreThis is one of the better personal accounts to come out of the Vietnam War. In a remote province in Vietnam's Mekong delta, First Lieutenant David Donovan became a de facto ruler. Hence the title – Once A Warrior King: Memories of an Officer in Vietnam. It is a gripping story of an unusual war and its effects on the young men who fought it. The vivid description of being saved from being overrun one night by the awesome destructive power of an Arc Light strike will probably stay with me forever.
Drift is a very important book. I hope it will be widely read in all circles -- especially by those involved in economic, political, and military deci...moreDrift is a very important book. I hope it will be widely read in all circles -- especially by those involved in economic, political, and military decisions. Rachel Maddow wittily and skillfully describes how the USA drifted into its present state of almost perpetual war. The executive branch of the government now wages war with little restraint. It is a serious condition and it is doing terrible damage to the economic health, the spirit, and indeed the safety of the country. She ends the book with a very good an eight-point to-do list. It is a call to action and I hope our leaders will heed it. (As good as the book is, I can't bring myself to give it five stars. That is because Maddow allowed her politics to color her writing somewhat. Though she gives nobody a pass, she directs bitter anger and ill-will most strongly at Republicans. This is unfortunate; however, it takes nothing from her basic message.) (less)
In In the Company of Soldiers Rick Atkinson chronicles his experiences as an embedded reporter with the 101st Airborne Division (air assault) during t...moreIn In the Company of Soldiers Rick Atkinson chronicles his experiences as an embedded reporter with the 101st Airborne Division (air assault) during the Iraq war in 2003. His book brings back the concerns and fears of that war that have become somewhat blurred by time. I didn't find this book to be quite as engrossing as Atkinson's earlier The Long Gray Line, perhaps because In the Company of Soldiers is in fact a chronicle -- a diary of events as it were -- without a strong core theme. Other than the war itself and the accounts of warriors doing their jobs, the most important thing in this book is Atkinson's portrayal of General David H. Petraeus. In fact it was the recent high-profile scandal leading to Petraeus's resignation that prompted me to read this book. The complex man Atkinson shows us is enigmatic -- driven and driving, highly intelligent, obsessive over details, hyper competitive, intense, honorable, and at times humorous. Leadership is both a trade and an obsession for him. That portrayal and the tale of day to day life with soldiers make this a good book. I recommend it to those interested in the military, the Iraq war, or General Petraeus. (less)