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message 1: by Tom (last edited Apr 22, 2011 01:24PM) (new)

Tom | 92 comments Mod
http://www.armytimes.com/entertainmen...

The best military books of the decade
By J. Ford Huffman
Posted : Monday Jan 11, 2010 15:22:01 EST


message 2: by Tom (last edited Apr 22, 2011 01:23PM) (new)

Tom | 92 comments Mod






Shane Comes Home by Rinker Buck
Shane Comes Home
by Rinker Buck, 2005.
Buck reports on the days leading to the funeral of the first Marine casualty in Iraq, 2nd Lt. Shane Childers, a “Brad Pitt in uniform” whose integrity and energy were admired
by everyone, including the casualty assistance officer. In the end, you admire Childers, and the officer, too.


Joker One A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood by Donovan Campbell
Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story of Courage, Leadership and Brotherhood
by Donovan Campbell, 2009.
This is “sweat-soaked, blood-soaked reality,” written
by a Princeton and Harvard graduate and Afghanistan veteran who talks about managing warriors and himself. The story is a first-rate study of management and manhood. Campbell’s platoon taught him that “love was expressed in the only currency that mattered in combat: Action.”


The Fourth Star Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army by Greg Jaffe
The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army
by David Cloud and Greg Jaffe, 2009.
Two reporters present four personalities who have been off and on front pages since 2003: Army Gens. John Abizaid, George Casey, Peter Chiarelli and David Petraeus. The four have crossed paths — and one another — in the 40 years between Khe Sanh and Kabul. The four-character study has enough political and inside intrigue to humanize the brass.


The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq by John Crawford
The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier’s Account of the War in Iraq
by John Crawford, 2005. T
he writing is understated but powerful, some of the best to come out of Iraq. Crawford was in the Army’s 101st Airborne division, then joined the National Guard. He was called to active duty during his honeymoon. “The world hears war stories told
by reporters and retired generals who keep extensive notebooks and journals. They carry pens as they walk, whereas I carried a machine gun.” The gun is hot.


One Bullet Away The Making of a Marine Officer by Nathaniel Fick
One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
by Nathaniel Fick, 2005.
A Dartmouth graduate learns how to lead troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and how to understand his strengths and limitations. (“Generation Kill” is about Fick’s unit.) Because of “Fick’s descriptive and exacting writing,” USA Today put the book on a list of the “most promising memoirs.”


The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
The Forever War
by Dexter Filkins, 2008. T
his award-winning collection of reports and impressions takes you into harm’s way with a journalist’s eye for details and a dramatist’s ear for dialogue. In Iran, Filkins finds Warhols and Picassos. In Iraq, he finds two conversations: “The one the Iraqis were having with the Americans and the one they were having among themselves.”


The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
The Good Soldiers
by David Finkel, 2009.
A Washington Post writer goes inside the 2007 surge with an infantry unit out of Fort Riley, Kan., under the command of Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, who saw deployment as an opportunity to be a part of President George W. Bush’s effort to make a difference in Iraq. Finkel’s description of the Army’s burn center in San Antonio is as devastating as any combat scene.


Unfriendly Fire How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America by Dr. Nathaniel Frank
Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America
by Nathaniel Frank, 2009.
“Unfriendly Fire” separates opinion from fact, and a reader could suggest Congress and the Pentagon accept this engaging study as definitive. Why? Frank asks and tells, and service members and statistics lend credibility.


The War I Always Wanted The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq by Brandon Friedman
The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War”
by Brandon Friedman, 2007.
The story of a college “hawkish war junkie” who goes from Manhattan to Bagram to Hillah and discovers that being an Army officer is “not as easy as it looks on TV.” And after service in two battle zones, disenchantment displaces his desire. He writes he “wanted to believe in my work,” but “instead, I was watching as politicians with no military experience hijacked the Army.”


Cobra II The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq by Michael R. Gordon
Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, 2006.
The Marine Corps War College calls it “the definitive history.” This 600-page document
by a retired Marine lieutenant general offers indictments and cites intelligence as well as any lack of it. Five days before the assault, Army Gen. Tommy Franks summoned his team to his Qatar command center. Showing on the big screen? Actor Russell Crowe, ordering men to “unleash hell” in the opening scene of “Gladiator.” “Franks was trying to infuse his commanders with a warrior spirit.”


Just Another Soldier A Year on the Ground in Iraq by Jason Christopher Hartley
Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq
by Jason Christopher Hartley, 2005. War with wit.
“It’s no wonder so many homeless people are vets; they’ve all been trained to be professional bums. ... We lived in conditions that were part central booking, part homeless shelter with a twist of male brothel.” And this: “The average grunt is fairly in touch with his primary self and therefore wants generally only two things: To [have sex] and to fight, in that order.” Hoo-ah.


The Unforgiving Minute A Soldier's Education by Craig M. Mullaney
The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education
by Craig M. Mullaney, 2009.
Mullaney offers his lessons from blue-collar Rhode Island to West Point, Ranger School, Oxford University (as a Rhodes Scholar) and Afghanistan. The eternal student quotes everyone from Krishna to Clausewitz. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry at the clear-eyed, open-minded, warm-hearted candor. There’s a love story, too. And a reading list.


The Long Road Home by Martha Raddatz
The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family
by Martha Raddatz, 2007.
Others have compared the homefront with the battlefront. But Raddatz’s book about the 1st Cavalry Division’s operations in Sadr City in April 2004 is nonfiction that reads like a novel. After eight soldiers died and 70 were wounded in 48 hours, Gen. Peter Chiarelli “was horrified
by what he saw.” “Sir,” a sergeant asked the general, “why didn’t we bring our tanks?”


Fiasco The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
by Thomas E. Ricks, 2006.
“Cobra II” tells you what went wrong in the invasion of Iraq, and “Fiasco” picks up from there with descriptions of blunders and blowhards. One officer who was privy to discussions with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Ricks: “We didn’t get it right, and 1,500 troopers” — the number of U.S. dead in Iraq at the time — “have paid a price for that.”


Jarhead by Anthony Swofford
Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles
by Anthony Swofford, 2003.
The subtitle says the book is one Marine’s story — not all Marines’ stories. Despite the disclaimer, Swofford’s take on war has its detractors. Nevertheless, the book is sometimes funny but usually an intense look at life and death in Operation Desert Storm, “neither true nor false but what I know.” Read Swofford’s words for the language. Then watch the 2005 movie.


Generation Kill Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War by Evan Wright
Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War
by Evan Wright, 2004.
The adventure started in Rolling Stone magazine and introduced Marines including a lieutenant named Nathaniel Fick. Wright is embedded with a few (23) good men who face mud and dust, mortar and death, false starts and “bad comm” — and Wright’s reporting. One of the first books out of Iraq unwittingly set a standard for subsequent ones.



message 3: by Tom (last edited Apr 23, 2011 07:34AM) (new)

Tom | 92 comments Mod
Other suggestions from notable readers and writers:


Lt. Col. Frederick “Fritz” Gottschalk is an Army officer who served in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

“One goal of my reading,” he says, “is to try to understand why the terrorists (and the societies that support them) hate Americans enough to kill themselves while attacking us and our allies, and to try to understand how our own military and other agencies can best counter this threat to our nation.”

His list:

Black Hawk Down A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden
Black Hawk Down
by Mark Bowden, 2000.
I learned how difficult it was to operate in an urban environment in which most everyone wants to kill you, and how difficult the near-real-time communications capabilities can be for the leader on the ground.


Ghost Wars The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan & Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
by Steve Coll, 2004.
This book, plus the 9/11 Commission report, should be mandatory reading for understanding how our government enabled and missed the rise of the organization that has been attacking us since the 1990s.


The Carpet Wars From Kabul to Baghdad A Ten-Year Journey Along Ancient Trade Routes by Christopher Kremmer
The Carpet Wars: From Kabul to Baghdad: a Ten-year Journey Along Ancient Trade Routes
by Christopher Kremmer. 2003.
This book introduces the different pulls on the Arab society that are mysterious to an American: Families, tribes and religions, and how they are affected by the Arab world’s modern states and governments.


What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam & Modernity in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis
What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East
by Bernard Lewis, 2003.
Instead of the institutions of leadership, learning and discovery that marked earlier Arab cultures, a population has been left to scratch out a living in a part of the world that has only one resource the rest of the world wants: oil.


Not a Good Day to Die The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda by Sean Naylor
Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda
by Sean Naylor, 2006.
An incredible documentation of how difficult it is to operate on today’s battlefield and how much more difficult we can make it with our own operating techniques. (Naylor is a Military Times senior writer.)



Col. Michael Belcher, director of the Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Va., says a military career — whether four or 40 years long — is too short to read bad books.


These suggestions compiled by the faculty of the War College have scholarly merit, impact and timelessness, and “will underpin professional military education, not only for this decade, but for decades to come”:


Supreme Command Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime by Eliot A. Cohen
Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime
by Dr. Eliot Cohen, 2003.
A historical study of statesmanship and civilian-military relations.


The Accidental Guerrilla Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One by David Kilcullen
The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One
by David Kilcullen, 2009.
Counterinsurgency theory put into practice.


The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300-2050 by MacGregor Knox
The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300-2050
by MacGregor Knox and Williamson Murray, 2001.
The history of technology and transformation.


Leadership The Warrior's Art by Christopher Kolenda
Leadership: The Warrior’s Art
by Christopher Kolenda, 2001.
Anthology of the application of combat leadership.


U.S. Army U.S. Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual by David H. Petraeus
The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual
by Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. James Amos, 2007.
Counterinsurgency concepts, tactics, techniques and procedures defined.


Tiger Force A True Story of Men and War by Michael Sallah
Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War
by Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss, 2007.
The causes and consequences of small-unit combat leadership gone awry in a counterinsurgency operation.


Wired for War by P.W. Singer
Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
by P.W. Singer, 2009.
The future of military technology and transformation.


The Utility of Force The Art of War in the Modern World (Vintage) by Rupert Smith
The Utility Of Force: The Art Of War In The Modern World
by Gen. Rupert Smith, 2007.
Analysis of the modern system and a model for the future fight.


Decoding Clausewitz A New Approach to On War (Modern War Studies) by Jon Tetsuro Sumida
Decoding Clausewitz: A New Approach to On War
by Jon Tetsuro Sumida, 2008.
Modern analysis of classic theory.



Nathaniel Fick, of the Center for New American Security, points to:

The Accidental Guerrilla Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One by David Kilcullen
The Accidental Guerrilla
by David Kilcullen


Dr. Elizabeth Samet, professor of English at the U.S. Military Academy and author of “Soldier’s Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point” suggests

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart
The Places in Between
by Rory Stewart for
“nuanced insights into Afghanistan.”



Former Army officer Craig M. Mullaney, author of “The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education,” suggests these books:

Scribbling the Cat Travels with an African Soldier by Alexandra Fuller
Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier
by Alexandra Fuller, 2004,

The Utility of Force The Art of War in the Modern World by Rupert Smith
The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World
by Rupert Smith, 2007.


Lt. Col. Michael J. Shinners, fresh from Iraq, steps outside the military wire to suggest

Moneyball The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.
by Michael Lewis
He says the look at baseball’s Oakland A’s offers lessons “invaluable for an Army rethinking age-old assumptions.”



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