Sunday, October 16, 2005

Reading is FUNdamental

I like to read, especially about military history. What follows is a list of my faves and what I'm reading now. Feel free to add to the list in the comments section.

READING NOW

Imperial Grunts by: Robert D. Kaplan
The author who is a corespondent for The Atlantic Monthly follows US soldiers around the world and reflects on how it's the soldier on the ground not the State Department that is the main instrument shaping the opinions and feelings of those around the world toward the US. Quite interesting. I tend to drift when he gets into philosophical prose about imperialism and the United States passing resemblance to a declining Roman Empire. But his descriptions of soldiers in the field doing what soldiers do is priceless.

Omaha Beach by: Joseph Balkoski
Anyone who was a fan of Band of Brothers should go out and get this book right now. If your local book store doesn't have it, try the on-line stores...that's where I got mine. Balkoski has painstakingly researched oral histories of the Normandy invasion and assembled them here and in his companion book Utah Beach and has achieved a very readable, fresh and entertaining (if that's a word one can use about D-Day) book. Anyone interested in WWII, especially the Normandy invasion should pick up this book.


ALL TIME FAVORITES

CW2 by: Layne Heath
This book is a work of fiction, but if you can find it I recommend it highly. As a helicopter pilot I found his descriptions of the pre-flight and start-up so spot on I could hear the ticking of the the igniter's in the old L-13 engine as I read. I have read this book several times over the years. Can't say how a non-aviator would feel about it...but I really like this book. Besides the author is from Texas, so union rules say I have to recommend it.

Thud Ridge by: Jack Broughton
A book about flying F-105 Fighter Bombers in Vietnam by A former commander of the USAF Thunderbirds. I was loaned this book by the commander of my USAF ROTC detachment in college. He warned me that this book was different. If you are expecting a feel good, god and country book, this isn't really what you are looking for. Lt Col Broughton was rather disillusioned by the constrained nature of the air war in Vietnam and the methods he used to "take the fight to the enemy" ultimately got him relieved of his command. It will give the reader a good idea of what it was like back then and the things the "Thud Driver" had to face over the Red River Valley. Also on the same subject I would recommend When Thunder Rolled: An F-105 Pilot Over North Vietnam by Ed Rasimus...not nearly as bitter but informative and very readable.

SOG: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam by John L. Plaster
You will read this book and swear it's some movie the stories are that fantastic and made more so by the fact that they are true. I can't recommend this book enough. The things these Special Forces men did for this nation must be remembers and honored. This book stands as a testament to their courage.

I have many more I could tell you about (Black Hawk Down, To Hell and Back, The Green Berets) but it's your turn now! What are you reading besides AAFES porn?
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