Good Reads

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by BoxerXO, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. BoxerXO

    BoxerXO Member

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    Here's a list of books Ive read and am reading now that I would deffinitely reccomend for anyone wanting to learn more about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Afghanistan

    The Places in Between
    Author Rory Stewart walks over 500 miles on foot! across Afghanistan in 2001, months after the Taliban fell. A great find for anyone interested in the different tribes and cultural details of the many ethnicities of Afghanistan

    Blood Makes the Grass Grow Green
    Much less serious, this one will require a bit of a calm head. Johnny Rico (legally changed his name to that) is a perfect combination of Catch 22's Yossarian and Catcher in the Rye's Holden. Fed up with being a parole officer, Rico enlists in the Army and goes to Afghanistan for a year. The reason i say you need to stay calm is how much he criticizes the army and those in it. If you can get past his liberal tones and critiques, there is some funny stuff, such as him feeding Scooby Snacks to the #2 Taliban leader in their district.

    Iraq

    The Prince of the Marshes
    Also by Rory Stewart, this follows his year as a governor of the Maysan province in southern Iraq in the early years of the war. Very informative on Iraqi tribal politics and culture, as well as the failures of the CPA in the war.

    Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the search for a way out of Iraq

    This is an outstanding look into how the "Surge" saved the war from being lost. The author had exstensive access to Petraeus and his aides for the look into how the surge was implemented. A must read for anyone interested in counterinsurgency, Petraeus, the Iraq War, or all three!

    If anyone has any other good books on either topic, I'd appreciate it. Ive still got some Barnes&Noble gift cards left from my birthday and christmas :biggrin:
     
  2. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    I am currently plowing through "Tell Me How This Ends". Good read, indeed.

    A couple of books I have read that I learned a lot from are:

    "This Man's Army" by Andrew Exum. Exum is a Penn grad who did ROTC to put himself through Penn (yep.) He graduated and was commissioned in 1999, went through Ranger school and was twiddling his thumbs as a new platoon leader up in Fort Drum on 9/11/01. He lead troops into Afghanistan in 2003. Great descriptions of Ranger school, being a platoon leader and thrust into a war.

    A journalists view - "Breathing the Fire" by Kim Dozier. Awful and tragic but compelling tale of being hit by a car bomb, nearly dying and recovering. She was saved the same way many of our soldiers are saved but tells the story. Anyone who is interested in combat medicine shoud read this. She also did a lot of research and talks about PTSD.

    "In a Time of War: The Proud and Perilous Journey of West Point's Class of 2002" by Bill Murhpy.
    This book is as described.

    If you are interested in reading about COIN, check out:
    "The US Army Counterinsurgency Handbook" by Petraeus. you can get it at amazon.com
    Also "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife" by John Nagl.

    On my reading list are two by Tom Ricks - "Fiasco" and "The Gamble"; "Baghdad at Sunrise" by Peter Mansoor and "The Strongest Tribe" by Bing West.
     
  3. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    Boxer - I have read this one too. I like to read books from all points of view. I don't agree with much of what he says but the book was entertaining (the scooby snacks thing was really good :shake:).

    If you haven't already read "Lone Survivor" by Marcus Luttrell, I highly recommend it.
     
  4. BoxerXO

    BoxerXO Member

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    JAM: Thanks, Ill look into This Mans Army. My dad got me The Gamble for my birthday last week, and I just got a copy of Soup with a Knife the other day. Not to mention, FM 3-24 and The Strongest Tribes are in my sights as well haha.

    WAM: Ill look into it, thanks for the tip. Yeah, I really didnt like some of what Rico said, but it reminded me that not everyone in the army is going to be right out of a recruiting poster
     
  5. Antoinette

    Antoinette Founding Member

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    I found this book thought provoking: The Limits of Power by Andrew J. Bacevich

    And this one, too: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin (http://www.threecupsoftea.com/)
     
  6. BoxerXO

    BoxerXO Member

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    that seems to be a good one too. My pop picked up a copy while in D.C. a while ago, but I havent had enough time to get to it.
     
  7. DMeix

    DMeix Retired Staff Member

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    CMC Walters, of SEAL Team Two, came to talk to us last week about his 21 years of experience in the Teams. It was pretty entertaining, and not to mention eye opening.

    He was the Troop Chief for LCDR Kristensen when LT Murphy's recon team was sent in during Redwing. When they got the call from Murphy, he and Kristensen jumped on the helos to go get them, but the aircraft were having trouble getting up to altitude. The pilots made the call to drop half the men at a point a couple miles from the intended drop zone, then return to pick them up. Walters took his 8 guys off to wait, while Kristensen continued on in. Those who have read the book, or been to the Academy's cemetary, know that the helo took an RPG hit going in, killing all aboard.

    And to think that 10 minutes prior Walters had been on the same helo. Definitely one of those moments that just makes you stop and wonder...


    Anyway...yeah...Lone Survivor is a great book.
     
  8. packermatt7

    packermatt7 USAFA Cadet

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    I read the topic of the thread and was going to suggest Lone Survivor, but you beat me to it! Fantastic book.

    Just read Wings of Fury, good stuff if you are interested in flying.
     
  9. flyersboy114

    flyersboy114 USAFA Cadet

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    If you are into history, Ike: An American Hero. Great book, I'm up to Pre-US involvement in WWII and it is great! I have learned so much! The thing that stuck out the most though is that Macaurther was crazy!!!
     
  10. kaullman

    kaullman Member

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    The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education

    Written by a USMA grad who taught at USNA. It has high praise from a number of pre-reviewers. A large number of his former students at USNA speak very highly of the author. The book will be released 19 Feb.

    The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education
    by Craig M. Mullaney


    http://www.craigmmullaney.com/news/2009/02/book-trailer.asp

    From the author's website:

    The Unforgiving Minute is the extraordinary story of one soldier’s singular education. From a hilarious plebe’s-eye view of the author’s West Point experience to the demanding leadership crucible of Ranger School’s swamps and mountains, to a two-year whirlwind of scintillating debate, pub crawls, and romance at Oxford, Mullaney’s winding path to the battlegrounds of Afghanistan was unique and remarkable. Despite all his preparation, the hardest questions remained. When the call came to lead his platoon into battle and earn his soldiers’ salutes, would he be ready? Was his education sufficient for the unforgiving minutes he’d face? A fascinating account of an Army captain’s unusual path through some of the most legendary seats of learning straight into a brutal fight with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, The Unforgiving Minute is, above all, an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of his hard-earned knowledge while coming to grips with becoming a man.
     
  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I really enjoyed the book Absolutely American, by Lipsky. I sometimes wonder what happened to those kids in the book, especially George Rash.
     
  12. BoxerXO

    BoxerXO Member

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    Fencer: Haha, me too! Rash may not have been the most Hooah cadet, but me and my parents (who also read it) couldnt help but root for him to make it

    Also, just picked up FM 3-24, the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, up today. I only flipped through a little, looks pretty informative
     
  13. flyersboy114

    flyersboy114 USAFA Cadet

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    I heard that was a good book, but I am currently in the middle of Ike, a 725 page book. I have two to read after that, one about SF operations and another about Iraq so I'm not sure if I will get to it anytime soon. Although I am spending a week and a half in Florida, so maybe find time on the beach to read it :thumb:
     
  14. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    'Sources' say that Craig Mullaney is about to be appointed to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Central Asia.
    Stay tuned.
     
  15. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    JustaMom: I heard that too, but I got an (unsubstantiated) email that said he'd refuse the appointment. Anymore news? I never trust that person who emailed me and I would really like to know.

    Central Asia... there cannot be ANYTHING easy about that post.
     
  16. TWinter

    TWinter Member

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    "One Bullet Away"
    - Story of a Marine officer in Afghanistan/Iraq. Excellent read and important to any new officer.

    "No True Glory"
    - Story of Marines in Fallujah, covers many aspects of the tale in close up detail as well as 'big-picture' strategy.

    "Battle Cry"
    - Want some moto? World War II semi-fiction about Marines in the Pacific. One an award from the Marine Corps itself.

    "A Brief History of Modern Warfare"
    - Moves from the strictly military arena to also the political influences on military decision making. Ranges from the Falklands to Afghanistan.

    "Starship Troopers"
    - The definitive book for anybody looking into the Military at any level. On the Commandant's reading list. I cannot recommend this highly enough. If you have seen the movie, erase that from your mind and just read. The movie RUINED it.
     
  17. Antoinette

    Antoinette Founding Member

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    "Once an Eagle" by Anton Myrer
    - fiction, good read, considered one of the great books about leadership
     
  18. frankski28

    frankski28 Member

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    Operation Iraqi Freedom

    Personally, I would recommend two books that have been published by commanders on the ground. (at one point)

    American Soldier by General Tommy Franks

    Wiser in Battle by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez

    Although they made grave mistakes in their times of command, I believe in always seeking the opinion of the men who were there, even though they are subject to some bias about their own command. Through these two books, I think that you are able to realize the serious mistakes that were made at the high level of decision making.

    I would also recommend:

    U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual

    Based mostly on the influence of current Centcom Commander General David Petraeus. Through Odierno and Petraeus is the key strategy behind the so called surge and the only reason why success has been made in Iraq.

    Also:

    Fiasco by Thomas E. Ricks

    This book is an overall good perspective of how things went wrong.
     
  19. Profmom2

    Profmom2 Member

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    He will be at West Point on Wed, AFA a week Thursday (March 5th) and USNA March 12th.
     
  20. kaullman

    kaullman Member

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    NY Times Review of The Unforgiving Minute

    The link below is to a review by Janet Maslin, published yesterday in the NY Times.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/26/books/26masl.html?_r=1

    THE UNFORGIVING MINUTE

    A Soldier’s Education

    By Craig M. Mullaney

    Illustrated. 386 pages. The Penguin Press. $28.95.

    (Available through Amazon for $19.11)
     

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