Veterans Day Reading List

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As those who fol­low this blog know that I love books about the mil­i­tary, fic­tion and non-fiction. In honor of Vet­er­ans Day I thought I'd post a list of books I enjoyed over the past year or two about this sub­ject. I assume we all love to read about some­thing which is close to our hearts, whether it's a place, a feel­ing or an expe­ri­ence. I know I do.

Non-Fiction:

Citizen Soldiers by Stephen AmbroseCit­i­zen Sol­diers by Stephen Ambrose

A fas­ci­nat­ing book about the Euro­pean the­ater in World War II, as told by the men on the front lines, not a media hug­ging offi­cer or a dry his­to­rian. Ambrose cap­tures the sense of his­tory from both sides of the fence, sticks to the facts as we know them and keeps his com­ments to a minimum.


Command Influence By Robert A. ShainesCom­mand Influ­ence By Robert A. Shaines

A cap­ti­vat­ing book in which Mr. Shaines recounts his mem­o­ries as a defend­ing lawyer in the case of The United States v. Lt. George C. Schreiber.  Lt. Schreiber was the appointed scape­goat in a trial for the mur­der of a Korean man (whose real name was never found).  Mr. Shaines, a mil­i­tary attor­ney on the Lieutenant's defense team, was fight­ing a bat­tle which out­come was already decided.


Fly Navy by Alvin TownleyFly Navy by Alvin Townley

Once could sense Mr. Townley’s enthu­si­asm towards the men and women in uni­form who per­form a touch, often thank­less, vig­i­lant and very respon­si­ble duty on a daily base to their best of their abil­ity. That, in my opin­ion, is the strength of the book. These peo­ple should be cel­e­brated and, to the author’s credit, he lets them do much of the talk­ing.


Gated Grief by Leila LevinsonGated Grief by Leila Levinson

Leila Levin­son who started the char­ity Veteran's Chil­dren (web­site | Face­book | Twit­ter)  wrote this non-fiction book about the author’s five year research to under­stand her father’s trauma from lib­er­at­ing a con­cen­tra­tion camp in World War II. The book is filled with graphic pic­tures which will stay with you for a long time.


Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell ZuckoffLost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

A grip­ping book which takes a hold of you from page one, and doesn’t let go until the very end. Mr. Zuck­off makes his­tory comes alive by intro­duc­ing the reader to the sur­vivors, those who died, the res­cuers, friends and fam­ily. I was so engrossed in the book I felt almost as if my friends were the ones on the ground.


SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Élite Navy Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen TemplinSEAL Team Six: Mem­oirs of an Élite Navy Sniper by Howard E. Was­din & Stephen Templin

A well writ­ten mem­oir which walks the reader through Wasdin’s child­hood, Navy SEAL train­ing, sev­eral mis­sions and Mr. Was­din set­tling down with his beloved wife and children.

This is an excit­ing book, an easy and fast read. While the authors cover a lot of ground, the book kept my atten­tion through­out.


Unbroken by Laura HillenbrandUnbro­ken by Laura Hillenbrand

The amaz­ing non-fiction story of Loius Zam­perini, an Amer­i­can ath­lete, World War II Air Corp bom­bardier who sur­vived a crash and inter­ment in a Japan­ese POW camp.

Fiction/Historical Fic­tion:

Killing Rommel by Steven PressfieldKilling Rom­mel by Steven Pressfield

Not only a fas­ci­nat­ing story about the Long Range Dessert Group (LDRG), but it is also an accu­rate por­trayal of how war is fought — months of bore­dom pep­pered with sec­ond and moments of sheer exhil­a­ra­tion, dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion and horror.


Wings: A Novel of World War II Fly­girls by Karl Friedrich Wings: A Novel of World War II Fly­girls by Karl Friedrich

A fas­ci­nat­ing book cen­tered around strong female char­ac­ters. It is no secret that I love World War II book and the sto­ries which come out of that period of time never cease to amaze me.


The Profession by Steven PressfieldThe Pro­fes­sion by Steven Pressfield

Mr. Press­field envi­sions a future where pri­vate armies for hire roam the world, pro­fes­sional sol­diers real­ize that they could do bet­ter than fight­ing for a cause they don’t believe in, for peo­ple who they don’t like.


The Rising Tide: A Novel of World War II by Jeff ShaaraThe Ris­ing Tide: A Novel of World War II by Jeff Shaara

The first book of a series about WWII. The book explores the lesser known African cam­paign(s) which began in late1942. Mr. Shaara goes into the minds of such mil­i­tary greats as Eisen­hower, Mont­gomery and Rom­mel as well as other gen­er­als and even the men in the field.


The Steel Wave: A Novel of World War II by Jeff ShaaraThe Steel Wave: A Novel of World War II by Jeff Shaara

The sec­ond book of a tril­ogy of this his­tor­i­cal fic­tion series. The topic for this book is the events lead­ing up and after D-Day (Jan­u­ary through Sep­tem­ber 1944) see­ing through the eyes of the aggres­sor (Eisen­hower), the defender (Rom­mel), the gen­er­als (Bradley, Pat­ton, von Rund­st­edt) and best of all, the ordi­nary sol­diers (Sergeant Jesse Adams, a para­trooper of the 82nd Air­borne and Jack Logan, a tank gun­ner with the First Armored Division).


No Less Than Victory:  A Novel of World War II by Jeff ShaaraNo Less Than Vic­tory– A Novel of World War II by Jeff Shaara

Solid sto­ry­telling, pri­mar­ily focus­ing on the Bat­tle of the Bulge, as seen through the eyes of the grunts, and as man­aged by the gen­er­als on both sides of the fence. Unlike the authors other books, this book has less char­ac­ters (or so it seemed at least) which I find to be more appeal­ing and less con­fus­ing. Even though it's always fun to read about Eisen­hower deci­sion mak­ing process or the clashes between Mont­gomery and Pat­ton the story focuses on Pri­vate Eddie Ben­son and his expe­ri­ences at "mud level". Some inter­est­ing char­ac­ters, such as Ger­mans Gerd von Rund­st­edt and Albert Speer,  also rep­re­sent the axis' point of view.


The Final Storm: A Novel of World War II by Jeff ShaaraThe Final Storm: A Novel of World War II by Jeff Shaara

Picks up where his World War II tril­ogy ended. The war in Europe is all but over; how­ever Japan is stub­born as ever despite massive loses.

True to form, each chap­ter in the book intro­duces the war from a per­spec­tive of a his­tor­i­cal fig­ure. Most of the story is told through the eyes of Marine pri­vate Clay Adams and his fight on Oki­nawa. The bat­tle is also told through the eyes of Japan­ese gen­eral Mit­suru Ushi­jima, com­man­der of the forces on Oki­nawa. Both men are true sol­diers who will do their duty or die trying to.

Zohar — Man of la Book

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