Roamy tagged me with this on Facebook. What are ten books that have stayed with you?
The Bible. For my secular friends, I’d encourage you to read it, even if just as a novel. It’s a pretty interesting piece of historical literature. And if the spirit should happen to move you, so much the better.
The American Heritage History of World War II. My folks had just about every American Heritage book from the 60s and 70s. It played a major role in my decision to become a soldier.
The Hunt for Red October. Clancy’s book made my fascination with the platforms of warfare socially acceptable.
The Blueberry Pie Elf. No great influence on me. I just really loved that book as a kid.
Stuart Little– E.B. White is probably better known for Charlotte’s Web, but I always preferred this mousy little book. Mice don’t scare me. Spiders do. And pigs should be made into pork chops and bacon. Every writer should have Strunk & White handy, but if you’ve read much of my work, you know I keep my copy juuuuuuuuust out of reach.
About Face. Hackworth’s book reached me at a time when I had some serious decisions to make, and it helped me make them.
There’s a War to be Won. Geoffery Perret’s excellent history of the US Army in World War II. Think of it as a primer for the layman to understand the campaigns and the people of the war. And it’s a very easy read.
C. B. Colby’s series of children’s books about the military. I read them again and again through my first couple years of elementary. Today the books would be banned in any school, and I would have been medicated and sent to counseling.
The Brotherhood of War by W. E. B. Griffith. Oddly, I read the main body of the works in reverse order. You could hit up just about any platoon in the Army in the late 80s and someone would be reading one of his books.
The Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. Who doesn’t love the swashbuckling of Lucky Jack, and the cold intrigue of Stephen?
Now… who do I tag with this challenge?
Me? Well, several things right now…
I’m re-reading the Honor Harrington novels by David Weber. It’s a lot like Horatio Hornblower 2500 years from now… I’ve got the whole series on CD.
I’ve also got all three of the Hammer’s Slammers books, courtesy of a regular commenter here.
I’m not really a big fan of sci-fi, so I’ve got some non-fiction stuff too.
I’m a huge fan of Norman Friedman’s works, when I can afford them. I used to have the complete set, but right now, all I have is U.S. Small Combatants, and U.S. Amphibious Ships and Craft. When I win the lottery, I’ll get the rest of the design history series again. As you can tell, they ain’t cheap.
Also re-reading a couple of old favorites. There’s a War to be Won by Geoffrey Perret, and S.E. Morrison’s The Two Ocean War.
After I get done with this nautical kick, I’ll get back into some more Army-centric reading.
What’s on your bookshelf?
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?