Veterans Day Reading List

November 11, 2011

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.


Veterans Day Reading ListCitizen 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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  • AnnaNovember 11, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Thanks for posting this list! I’ll make sure these are added to War Through the Generations. I’ve only read one on this list (Wings).

  • SuzanneNovember 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Great list, the only one I have read is Unbroken but I will be adding most of the others to my to-read list.

    I’m assuming you’ve read Ambrose’s Band of Brothers as well? That was a great book.

  • Alex BaughNovember 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

    This is a great list. I am particularly interested in Gated Grief and, of course, Wings. Thanks for posting these.

  • Agrippina LegitNovember 14, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Great list! I’ve not read any of those, because most of my war history has been focussed on Australia and the UK, for obvious reasons 😉 Some of the personal accounts look particularly interesting, so I shall have to take a closer look!

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