A Current Reading List

In no particular order, or in fact any rhyme or reason, here’s a look at some of the books on my shelf and on my nightstand:

Rampant Raider– An A-4 Skyhawk Pilot in Vietnam (interesting in its own right, it is doubly interesting because his wartime cruise coincided with my father’s cruise on a different carrier. It is weird reading about strikes that I know my father flew on.)

An Army at Dawn– Rick Atkinson and I may not agree on much, but he’s a hell  of a writer, and the story of the Army in North Africa is well told, if somewhat unsettling.

The Day of Battle– Part Two of Rick Atkinson’s LiberationTrilogy. More great reading.

The Civil War: A Narrative– Shelby Foote brings us the best popular work on the Civil War. It is a wonderful primer on maneuver warfare, politics in war, and the way events control politics. A must read.

The Brotherhood of War– WEB Griffin’s tale of the Army  from WWII to the end of Vietnam. Sure, it’s a guilty pleasure, and I plead guilty to finding it pleasurable. And once you get hooked on this series, you get hooked on all his other stuff. I’ve never been on  a trip to the woods with the Army where copies of his books weren’t being passed around.

Moment of Truth in Iraq– pretty much everyone has Michael Yon on their reading list. Having said that, I was disappointed in this book as it is primarly a rehash of columns. I suppose that is a hazard of a columnist writing a book.

Sailors to the End-Greg Freeman does a service bringing this story of valor to our attention, but the book is somewhat facile. I can’t recommend it to historians, but it is a good introduction to the events of the Forrestal fire.

Thud Ridge– Everyone interested in the air war in Vietnam has either read this book, or should.

There’s a War to be Won– Geoffrey Perret’s must-read about the US Army in WWII.

That’s just a thin slice of the bookshelf. What’s on yours?

11 thoughts on “A Current Reading List”

  1. Just finished “A Brief History of Nearly Everything* ” and about to start Freakonomics. Loved, loved, LOVED David McCollough’s “1776”, “Mornings on Horseback” and “The Path Between The Seas”. “Contact Charlie”, a retelling of the Canadian Army in Afghanistan is in the mail right now.

    Fiction-wise, I’ll read just about anything from Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker or C.J. Box.

    And there’s always Shakespeare.

  2. Bryson rocks, and “Brief History” should be required reading. I’ll put it on the next list. McCollough’s Path was terrific as well.

  3. I finished Luttrell’s book about 2 weeks ago. Where do men like that come from?
    I am still wading through McCollough’s Adams. I think I am reading about 3 pages a night it varies from boring to ok. (300 pages a night is more like my average)
    Read Griffin so long ago I forget when, but they were addicting when I finished all the Army series, I read the Police one too.

  4. Also, David Bellavia’s “House to House” is an amazing re-telling of the 2nd Battle of Fallujah, told from the perspective of a platoon of Bradley-borne infantry.

  5. Alastair Horne. To Lose a Battle (fall of france) and A Savage War of Peace (algeria)
    Horne’s writing makes extensive use of French accounts, and he isn’t a flagrant communist. That seems to be pretty rare.

  6. Best account of the fall of France that I’ve read was Winston Churchill’s The Second World War.

    But you always have to remember a quote of his: “History shall be kind to me, for I intend to write it.”

  7. An Army at Dawn is good reading. I agree. I felt Atkinson did, if in a small way, break down the myth that the Americans (both at the strategic and tactical level) fought in North Africa like some blithering idiots. Instead he did a pretty good contrast with the “seasoned” British command that seemed lethargic (and dare I say lacking the aggressive spirit to close the deal?)

    Its been a while since I read the book. And I’ve put two overseas tours behind me in the span. But I recall some very strong points made regarding the performance of the Americans. The machine wasn’t running full tilt as in 1945, but the basics were there.

  8. If you enjoyed Thud Ridge, I would also suggest “Going Downtown” Broughton’s follow up that talks about the trouble he got into regarding bombing unapproved targets and destroying evidence…it’s pretty interesting and infuriating.

    I’ve found the Mitch Rapp book by Vince Flynn pretty entertaining.

  9. Perrett’s Winged Victory was very good…story of USAAf in WW 2.

    Gordon Rhea’s Overland Campaign series of books (Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor) is some of the best Civil War writing you will ever come across. I also recommend A. Wilson Greene’s Breaking the Backbone of The Rebellion (fall of Petersburg), Peter Cozzens’ books on the Army fo the Cumberland are all excellent as well.

    McCullogh’s Truman is a must read…I agree on Adams and 1776 as well.

    I would also add Bernard Cornwell for Novels. His series on Richard Sharpe are excellent as are all of the other series he wrote.

Comments are closed.