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Updated by scott-a-meehan on Mar 27, 2020
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Classic Military Books!

Here is a list of my 10 favorite military books (in reverse order) that I have read since high school (1972-1976) and the reasons why. Please feel free to add your input or other books to the list. Vote for your favorites too!

1

A Young Adult / Teen Civil War novel

A Young Adult / Teen Civil War novel

A Young Adult / Teen Civil War novel that won the John Newberry Medal, which is awarded to the author of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

With fighting erupting around his Kansas farm, 16-year-old Jefferson Davis Bussey can hardly wait to join the Union forces. He wants to defend his family from the dreaded Colonel Watie and his Cherokee Indian rebels. After enlisting, Jeff discovers the life of a soldier brings little glory and honor.

This book was recommended to me by a friend that I was serving with during my third tour to Iraq.

2

A very candid book on Iraq

A very candid book on Iraq

This has been considered to be a modern-day successor to the Vietnam classic EVERYTHING WE HAD. Award-winning investigative reporter Trish Wood offers a gritty, authentic, and uncensored history of the war in Iraq, as told by the American soldiers who were fighting it.

This book is both revealing and in many ways sad. I did three tours to Iraq and did not experience some of the trauma that was told in these stories.

3

World War II novel

World War II novel

Jack Higgins was one of my early favorites while I was still in high school. I devoured his books when they came out but my favorite was this one, THE EAGLE HAS LANDED. It is a classic World War II novel with a surprise ending.

In November of 1943, an elite team of Nazi paratroopers descends on British soil with a diabolical goal: to abduct Winston Churchill and cripple the Allied war effort. The mission, ordered by Hitler himself and planned by Heinrich Himmler, is led by ace agent Kurt Steiner and aided on the ground by IRA gunman Liam Devlin.

4

When the U.S. Army Special Operations went into Afghanistan after 9/11.

When the U.S. Army Special Operations went into Afghanistan after 9/11.

HORSE SOLDIERS is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban. Outnumbered forty to one, they pursued the enemy army across the mountainous Afghanistan terrain.

I for one knew who these American soldiers were when the major news stations showed them on horses in Afghanistan after 9/11. This book inspired one of my earliest novels, LOVE IN THE HOUSE OF WAR.

5

A Cold War Thriller

A Cold War Thriller

TEAM YANKEE presents a glimpse of what it would have been like for the soldiers who would have had to meet the relentless onslaught of Soviet and Warsaw Pact divisions. Using the geo-political and military scenarios described by General Sir John Hackett, former NORTHAG commander and author of World War Three; August 1985, Team Yankee follows the war as seen from the turret of Captain Sean Bannon's tank.

I really enjoy reading Harold Coyle books. For one, he is a veteran and knows what he is talking about. His military lingo is right on.

6

Military History

Military History

How's this for an opener? "What do the jungles of South America, the Russians in Berlin, and the deserts of the Middle East have in common?"

I am a little biased with this one, of course. STONE IN A SLING is my real-life story of a modern soldier, serving from 1980 to 2005. I was what is known colloquially as a Maverick or a Mustang; a soldier who started out as an enlisted man and later became an officer. With an amazing career that spans 25 years, I rose from the ranks of a Private E1 to Major. I don't want to spoil the fun.

7

A Cold War classic

A Cold War classic

The classic Cold War thriller that put Tom Clancy on the map. Just reading the "blurb" will catch your interest: "Somewhere under the freezing Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. The chase for the highly advanced nuclear submarine is on-and there's only one man who can find her."

8

World War II thriller

World War II thriller

This one is an early favorite that has made it through the years. Another high school read by another thriller author like Jack Higgins. Alistair MacLean was my favorite though. Yes, I scarfed up his books as soon as they came out (in paperback) as well. WHERE EAGLES DARE was my favorite MacLean book because there was non-stop suspenseful action-the edge-of-your-seat kind. There was even a movie made from this book starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.

"One winter night, seven men and a woman are parachuted onto a mountainside in wartime Germany. Their objective: an apparently inaccessible castle, headquarters of the Gestapo. Their mission: to rescue a crashed American general before the Nazi interrogators can force him to reveal secret D-Day plans."

9

CIVIL WAR

CIVIL WAR

Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War classic, The KILLER ANGELS, remains as vivid and powerful as the day it was originally published. How many of us felt like we were there feeling the rain, watching the stars, and smelling the gunpowder? This was a required read when I was in ROTC at Florida Southern--one of the only times I was really glad that I was required to read a book.

10

A Vietnam War classic

A Vietnam War classic

THE GREEN BERETS may not have been the best book that I have ever read, but it was certainly the most life-changing, impactful book, other than the Bible. Not long after completing this book, I joined the U.S. Army Special Forces--thanks in part to the book. Yes, I know what you're thinking. But, it was in 1980 and the Army was taking SF recruits straight from the streets, without needing to be an E-5 or above. We were dubbed, "Street Babies" and I believe some of the last ones in that post-Vietnam era before Reagan.

In my first year, I went from basic training to AIT, Airborne school, pre-qualification, Phase I at Camp Mackall, EMT school, and Phase II (300 F-1). Talk about a coming of age year.