What are your favorite books on war and/or weapon related subject matter?


June 29, 2010, 09:46 PM
The reason I am starting this thread is that recently I was introduced to the following 2 books (although both have been around for quite some time): "Guns Up!" by Johnnie M. Clark (the Vietnam war as witnessed by Marine M60 Gunner L/Cpl. Johnnie M. Clark) and "Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills" by Charles Henderson (the story of Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock).

While I have several books related to weaponry, weapon craft and the like (too many to list), these two books about various experiences during the Vietnam war really hit a nerve. Both of these books, from what I gather, are classics...and are classics for a reason. Great stuff indeed.

More importantly, after reading these two books, I have a greatly renewed respect for the great men who fought in this war, the hardships they had to endure and what guts it took to do the job they did.

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June 29, 2010, 09:51 PM
The Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob

June 29, 2010, 09:51 PM
I liked Marine Sniper and another good one was Generation Kill. It probably wont interest the older generations but if you have served in Iraq or Afghan you would probably like it.

June 29, 2010, 09:55 PM
The Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob

This is a good one as well. Other M. Ayoob titles I have enjoyed are the classics "In the Gravest Extreme" and "The Ayoob Files: The Book."

June 29, 2010, 10:32 PM
Only war related novel that was incredible, plus having some good firearm related stuff is the classic "Once an Eagle" by Anton Myrer.

June 29, 2010, 10:35 PM
War - many, many good ones, but these are my favorites:

A Dawn Like Thunder
We Were Soldiers Once, and Young
The Killer Angels
To the Last Man
This Kind of War
Once an Eagle (thanks for reminding me - that was a very good book)


Hatcher's Notebook
The Book of the Garand

I've liked everything I've read by Bruce Canfield.

June 29, 2010, 10:44 PM
I have read quite a few, right now I'm concentrating on the German side of WW2. Fascinating read, they had the best military thinkers in the world. I can see why they overran Europe so quickly. The Germans and to a lesser extent the British largely created modern warefare.

Panzer Battles, by Major General F.W. von Mellenthin. Cheif of Staff, 4th Panzer Army. This is a really good book, Mellenthin is very analytical and lived long enough to comment on more current politcal events. I beleive his book and tactics would be very usefull to this day if we ever had to fight a major ground war in Korea. The German army was able to operate very affectivly against far greater numbers, 5:1 was considered ok, 10:1 was quite doable. Mellenthin boils down Germany tactical theory on how small highly trained and well commanded units can master units many times their size in both numbers and fire power. While Manstein is more strategic, Mellenthin is more tactical.

Panzer Commander, by Hans Von Luck. I would have loved to share a beer with him, he was quite a good story teller. I highly recomend this book.

Panzer Leader and Achtung-Panzer by Heinz Guderian. He didn't write the whole book on modern warefare, but he helped and implemented it quite well slicing up the French and British forces. If Hitler didn't stop him Guderian would have taken the BEF prisoner.

Lastly Lost Victories written by the military genius Field Marshal Erich Von Manstein. I have no doubt Mainstein given a free hand in Russia could have taken the German army to the Volga, and bleed the Soviet forces white.

If you want to get a basses for Germany military thought you have to start with On War by General Carl von Clausewitz.

I have little doubt that if Hitler simply stepped back and said win the war and let his Generals have a free hand they would have done so. The German forces amoung other things had a very interesting command struture. There officers received very broad orders, and much was left up to them to decide in the field. This is why they were able to exploit favorable events so quickly, also high command lead from the front and was very often right behind the forward most units. So decisions could be made on the spot at a very high level. They were also masters at putting together "battle groups" from whatever units they had around.

Contrast this to the French in 1940 who were still fighting WW1. Their command structure simply could not cope with a fast moving conflict and broke down. Their command structure was set up for static warefare and they received very specific orders from HQ which was hundreds of miles away. So very often French units were ordered to move areas that were already long overrun, and were caught with their pants down.

June 29, 2010, 10:50 PM
The Forgotten Soldier was a view of the German side of WW2 on the Eastern Front.
I didn't think the guy was going to live to write the book, but he must have.

June 29, 2010, 11:04 PM
The Eastern Front was brutal, prisoners were not taken, wounded were shot, neither side was allowed to retreat.

June 29, 2010, 11:12 PM
I personally couldn't get all the way through Henderson's Hathcock book--it struck me as poorly written, but hey, what do I know.

I'll second "We Were Soldiers Once, And Young...." It's a great chronicling of the first all-out battle of the Vietnam War. For histories of the rest of the war, of similar quality, check out anything by Keith W. Nolan.

It's not a historical book, but the best written Vietnam book I've come across is "Dispatches" by Michael Herr. I love that book to death.

The best war book is probably "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy.

"The Forever War" by Dexter Filkins is kind of a contemporary version of "Dispatches," albeit not as well-written. He just about makes up for it by having seen way more than Herr.

June 29, 2010, 11:28 PM
Hatterasguy those are pretty good books and in fact Panzer commonder was the first book on military history and armor warfare I ever read and I loved it.

Any Louis L'Amour novel or story has allot of historal firearms in it and they are great story too, along with most westerns

June 30, 2010, 12:08 AM
To Hell and Back by Audie Murphy, the most highly decorated US serviceman in WWII. Very good.

June 30, 2010, 12:16 AM
Some great books related to war(not so much guns) are.....

War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning by: Chris Hedges (you can tell he's an anti-war person right off the bat, nevertheless his book does make you take second look at some modern wars and really think about their morality and bloodshed.)

On Killing by: Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (great book into the aspect of people in battle and the psychology of our fighting men/women)

The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell by: John Crawford (Fantastic look into the life of a modern solider who served in the modern war in Iraq.)

June 30, 2010, 12:33 AM
I have little doubt that if Hitler simply stepped back and said win the war and let his Generals have a free hand they would have done so. The German forces amoung other things had a very interesting command structure. There officers received very broad orders, and much was left up to them to decide in the field. This is why they were able to exploit favorable events so quickly, also high command lead from the front and was very often right behind the forward most units. So decisions could be made on the spot at a very high level. They were also masters at putting together "battle groups" from whatever units they had around.

I agree that the German General Staff, and senior commanders were some of the best ever collected together with a single military Concept, brought to the German Army by "Panzer Heinz", Guderian.

Constant training and commitment to a minimum of paper work. Most of this was all brought on by the German Army restrictions foisted on them by the settlements after the first World War. They found a way, and created at that time an efficient and effective force. The problem was the madman that got hold of that force.

The General Staff was not that happy about attacking the Soviet Union. Two front war, Operation Barbarossa started to late in the year, not enough oil reserves, net enough equipment, no winter gear, etc........ And of course the size of the USSR. That is what happens when you work for a madman.

The fact the Wehrmacht was as effective as they were given their defacto state of mechanization or under mechanization is a reflection of superior leadership, superior training, and great Esprit'. But the math of war was against them from the beginning, thank goodness. The fact is the great modern Wehrmacht moved by horse back. Even in the beginning. They never had enough trucks, let alone, tanks, guns, or even aircraft or fuel.

The British were never defeated or neutralized. 6 months later they were at War with America, and Japan had offered nothing to help the Germans in the Eastern Soviet Union. Hitler did not get any commitment from Japan to help alleviate some pressure off the German Eastern front by attacking in the far Eastern Soviet Union. The War math kept getting worse and worse.

And with very notable and very rare exception, War math always wins. (some folks like the term Logistics I prefer "War Math".)

SIDE NOTE: If you are reading many of the Panzer officers books and stories of the Russian front, one thing I have always found fascinating. They needed more tracked vehicles, not just half tracks either. At times they had to use Tanks as prime movers. I do know the Canadians recently have had to relearn that lesson in Afghanistan, AGAIN. Our brand new shiny Strykers don't work so well in A-Stan either. Iraq was a developed enough country that wheeled fighting vehicles worked and were viable. As soon as the terrain goes to hell, full tracks is what is needed. Some things never change.

Also recommended reading, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's book, "ATTACKS!" Arguably the finest small unit infantry leaders manuel ever written. (Yea, written before he learned about driving tanks)

Sorry for straying off subject.

Go figure.


June 30, 2010, 02:11 AM
Oddly the best book on war I've ever read was Starship Troopers.
I know it's an odd pick, but I did go for a Philosophy degree for a reason.

June 30, 2010, 02:31 AM
Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills is definitely one of my favorites! Hathcock was, from what I understand, one hell of a good Marine, as well as one hell of a good guy.

I am also partial to weapons history books. A couple of my favorites (I have many, but I can only find a couple at the moment) are Gun: A Visual History, and Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and Armor, by DK Publishing and Covent Garden Books, respectively.

June 30, 2010, 03:13 AM
No True Glory (http://www.amazon.com/No-True-Glory-Frontline-Fallujah/dp/0553383191/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277882030&sr=8-1) by Bing West. This one's about the battle for Fallujah
House to House (http://www.amazon.com/House-Epic-Memoir-War/dp/1416596607/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277882078&sr=1-1) by David Bellavia. This one's a first hand account from OIF.
Dead Center (http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Center-Snipers-Two-Year-Odyssey/dp/0804118752/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277882147&sr=1-1) by Ed Kugler. A first hand account from a Vietnam sniper. I actually enjoyed this one much more than Marine Sniper.
Generation Kill (http://www.amazon.com/Generation-Kill-Evan-Wright/dp/0425224740/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277882195&sr=1-1) by Evan Wright. This book was just fantastically written. I actually spent a lot of time laughing out loud. In case you've been under a rock for a few years, it follows Recon Marines during the invasion of Iraq.
One Bullet Away (http://www.amazon.com/One-Bullet-Away-Making-Officer/dp/0618773436/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277882268&sr=1-1) by Nate Fick. Written by one of the subjects of Generation Kill.

P.S. MY underlined titles are actually links ;)

June 30, 2010, 03:21 AM
The Art of War - Sun Tzu (Must read) and On War (written by a German couple centuries ago which has defined modern western warfare)

June 30, 2010, 08:25 AM
"Point Man" by James Watson was a good read about the early SEAL teams in Vietnam.

"Black Hawk Down" by Mark Bowden is incredible.

The Bushmaster
June 30, 2010, 09:23 AM
Reloading and gun manuals

Al Thompson
June 30, 2010, 09:40 AM
Lots of good stuff covered here. :)

Several that I've read and re-read are listed below.

A Rifleman went to War by H. W. McBride (WWI from a Canadian view)

Shots fired in Anger by LTC John George (Guadalcanal & Burma WWII - Army)

Fire in the Sky by Eric Bergerud (air war Pacific WWII)

Touched with Fire by Eric Bergerud (ground war South Pacific WWII)

Stephen Ambrose is a good easy to read author for WWII European theater.

June 30, 2010, 09:47 AM
For Vietnam sniper books, I think Dear Mom is better than the Hathcock book. It is a fairly understated and un-glamorous telling of that Marine's experience from boot camp to Vietnam and back.

June 30, 2010, 09:52 AM
One of my favorites is "Flags of Our Fathers." We all know or think we know what happened at Iwo Jima this gives you a look at things most of us never considered. Also it looks at the flag raisers after the war, a side of things we don't often realize.

June 30, 2010, 09:55 AM
My favorite author is Allen Eckert. He wrote a series of historical narratives relating to the NE US and Ohio frontier from 1750-1800. He did a TON of research and it reads like a novel, but with true events told by real people. He wrote a biography of Tecumseh that is a must read. I am still trying to collect all his books, but am doing a few at a time.

To the OP, if you enjoyed Guns Up!, there's another book called Gunner's Glory, also by Clark. It is about machine gunners from WWII through Vietnam. Its a good book, but short.

To those who enjoy reading about the German perspective of the Eastern Front, there is a series titled the Stackpole Military History Series. They are basically a series of translated autobiographical stories from infantrymen and tankers, among others, subdivided by branch. I've read two and they were a fairly good read, if you don't mind some dry areas. You can find them at www.stackpolebooks.com

Another good writer if John Keegan, who examines different aspects of the battlefield and compares and contrasts different branches of the military against others. He also wrote a good book on WWI.

Ala Dan
June 30, 2010, 10:07 AM
White Feather 'bout Gunny Hathcock
Hamburger Hill true story 'bout the 101st Airborne May, 1969
Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills another 'bout Gunny Hathcock
Chained Eagle 'bout Everett Alvarez, Jr.- POW [the first American pilot shot down
over Viet-Nam]
Chopper 'bout the history of the helicopters in military use, as well as
true stories from some of the pilots.

June 30, 2010, 10:13 AM
Black Hawk Down good even if it has been overdone.

and my favorite Catch-22

June 30, 2010, 10:20 AM

This a book I read recently, interesting stuff, goes into details about how the French dropped us in the sh*t :)

June 30, 2010, 11:01 AM
Great thread.

Lt Col Grossman has two outstand books.
On Combat
On Killing

Anything by Jeff Cooper
To Ride Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth
Gunsite Gossip

June 30, 2010, 11:40 AM
Oh yeah ... Catch-22! Good call for sure!

Nico Testosteros
June 30, 2010, 11:44 AM
Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign by Martin Russ.
Harrowing story. He has another book that tells of his personal experiences as a Marine in Korea. It's also interesting.

Goodbye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War by William Manchester.

Take That Hill!: Royal Marines in the Falklands War.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West.
Details the US Government treachery and lies during the ethnic cleansing of the U.S. by the European immigrants.

June 30, 2010, 11:57 AM
Two not yet mentioned:

Art of the Rifle - Cooper
Sixguns - Kieth


June 30, 2010, 02:25 PM
The Gun Digest Book of Automatic Pistols Assembly/Disassembly by J.B. Wood. Excellent illustrated guide for field and detail stripping all kinds of semi-autos.

June 30, 2010, 02:37 PM
Good listings above, to which I will add some works that, in my opinion share the mindset, skill sets and the will to survive, which are "weapons" against evil.

Five Years to Freedom: The True Story of a Vietnam POW- James N. Rowe

Life and Death in Shanghai- Nien Cheng

June 30, 2010, 02:53 PM
A second vote for "The Killer Angels". This is simply a masterpiece, not only a war masterpiece, but a literary masterpiece.

Another fine book is "Enemy at the Gates". The film is only very loosely based on the book and trivializes the enormity of the battle and falsifies the actual events.
The book is a terrific. Stalingrad was a meat grinder and the author interviewed hundreds of survivors from both sides and really draws a clear picture of what it was like.

June 30, 2010, 03:58 PM
It's a great chronicling of the first all-out battle of the Vietnam War

The frist all out battle?????? Try 08-18-1965 Starlite 7th RLT

June 30, 2010, 04:46 PM
Complete Book of Rifles and Shotguns - Jack O'Connor
From how rifles and shotguns are made (and work) to why buckhorn sights are the worst sight ever invented, he covers it all. Includes a nice bit about how to actually shoot rifles and shotguns from a class that O'Connor used to teach. Out of print, unfortunately.

Gun Owner's Handbook - Larry Lyons
Covers most everything a new gun owner should know from light gunsmithing to cleaning to storing for long term. Granted, he misses a point here and there, but its still one of the better books out there. Know a new gun owner that is just starting out? Buy 'em a copy. I got one for a retiring family member who's been shooting for 40+ years and the guy was absolutely ecstatic.

Into the Kill Zone - David Klinger
Former LAPD officer turned sociology professor studies officer-involved shootings from the officer's perspective. If you want to know what could happen after a shooting, read it. He interviewed over a hundred officers to get their feelings and reactions. From what they thought about firearms before they became cops, to what happened after the shoot went to court/press. He covers a lot. And before you go thinking that he's never been in that situation, the first one in the book is his first shooting as an officer.

ABCs of Reloading (7th Ed) - Bill Chevalier
Wanna learn about handloading? Read it. From varmint-class bullseye reloading to turkey hunting with a 9.3mm Mauser (no BS!) it covers a lot. Oh, and the first third of the book is entirely about the procedures and mechanics of handloading.

Cartridges of the World (11th Ed) - Frank Barnes
Name a cartridge. Go head. Ok, now turn to page 428 and you'll find it. If you want to research cartridges without spending an hour on the internet, this will do you. They try to publish a new edition every other year to keep up with the new loadings out there. US, Global Military, Proprietary, Wildcats, Handgun, Obsolete US and British, British Sporting and European Sporting, plus a nice little section of articles in the back followed by a full rimfire section. Usually includes ballistics for several different loads of a given cartridge.

The Few and The Proud - Larry Smith
USMC Drill Instructors in their own words. Need motivation to do anything? Buy a copy. Its the next best thing to joining up. Mostly consists of interviews between the author and retired/active duty Marines who either were, or are, DIs. Great read!

Point of Impact - Stephen Hunter
The book that awful movie Shooter was based on. Still a bit of a reach, but infinitely better than the movie!

Black Hawk Down - Mark Bowden
Think the movie was good? This book is better. No hollywood plot twists, or alterations to fit the director's "vision," it is simply a damn fine account of the October '93 battle in Mogadishu.

Honor Bound: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973
This book will give you a whole different appreciation of anyone who was a prisoner during Vietnam. From up North in the Hilton to Laos to the Delta, it covers the experience better than any two-hour docu-drama. It still had my attention weeks after I read it. Thick, and expensive, but well worth it.

June 30, 2010, 06:27 PM
I'll second "House to House" by David Bellavia.


June 30, 2010, 06:30 PM
My War Gone By, I Miss It So (http://www.amazon.com/My-War-Gone-Miss-So/dp/0140298541/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277937005&sr=1-1), by Anthony Loyd

Gripping book.

June 30, 2010, 06:58 PM
Forgotten soldier. Very powerful, and very good.

Panzer Aces I and II. Both great books on the top panzer aces, truly incredible what they were able to do.


Red Storm Rising. Very good book, perhaps one of Tom Clancy's best. Not only is it a good story, but many of his predictions came true. Namely ammo expenditures were vastly greater then originally predicted, the creation of stealth aircraft, and the ineffectiveness of close air support helicopters.

June 30, 2010, 07:04 PM
Since I consider myself a fairly avid reader, due to the many great suggestions so far, it seems as if I just may have my work cut out for me over the next year. Thanks for the responses!

I personally couldn't get all the way through Henderson's Hathcock book--it struck me as poorly written, but hey, what do I know.

I do understand where you are coming from. However, the feats of marksmanship and field craft described in this book made it worth the read, to me at least, in spite of the lack of literary grace. Also, given that this is essentially a non-fiction title, the information was that much more interesting.

June 30, 2010, 07:22 PM
I like Military Sci-Fi.

Just discovered David Gunn (really!):

Deaths' Head
Death's Head: Maximum Offense
Death's Head: Day of the Damned

A smart gun with an attitude; love it!

June 30, 2010, 07:40 PM
Another good book I just thought of - Codename Downfall. Its about the invasion of Japan that never occurred.

Rio Laxas
June 30, 2010, 07:46 PM
I like the Flashman series of novels by George MacDonald Fraser, a UK WW2 vet. It chronicles the cowardice in the face of danger of its "hero", Harry Flashman, as he inadvertently manages to become involved in just about every major conflict of the British empire in the Victorian era. Despite trying to shirk his duty at every opportunity, he always manages look like a hero and have accolades (Victoria Cross and Congressional Medal of Honor among them) heaped upon him. It will make you laugh and teach you a lot about history at the same time. As a group, I don't hesitate to say they are my favorite books.


July 1, 2010, 12:02 AM
I'm a big fan of "The Tactical Knife" by James Ayres.

He sounds like he knows what he's talking about, and I like the war stories he has thrown in there, along with some of his insights on different knives.

July 1, 2010, 12:39 AM
My favorites:

"1776" - It really shows how fragile the revolution was in its infancy, and how close it came to ending in a brief stroke.

"The Art of War" - A classic that everyone should read. It has implications from was to the board room.

"Chicken Hawk" - A great Vietnam book that shows a different perspective, the war from the view of the chopper pilots running missions from troop transport, to medivac, to supply runs, to recon. Truly eye opening.

"Patriot Pirates" - An amazing book, written by the Grandson of General George Patton, about the legalized piracy during the Revolutionary War. Back in the day, governments used to charter private ship captains to arm their vessels and hunt down enemy supply ships. Great reading for an "alternative" view on the Revolution.

July 1, 2010, 02:52 AM
Stephen Hunter has a number of good books, some a bit more hokey than others but usually pretty realistic and accurate when it comes to the firearms. Harold Coyle is one military writer that I've always enjoyed. And lastly, I was a huge fan of the Generation Kill book. No other book that I've read has as accurately portrayed the dialogue that passes between soldiers/marines as that one did. Funny as hell and factual to boot.

July 1, 2010, 07:15 AM
Goodbye, Darkness by William Manchester.
With the Old Breed, Eugene Sledge
A History of Warfare, John Keegan (anything by him is pretty good)
Undaunted Courage, Steven Ambrose (the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition, did you know they had an air rifle with them?)

To Ride, Shoot strait and Speak the Truth, Jeff Cooper.

This Kind of War, TR Farenbach, the only book you need read on the Korean War.

I have read 99% of the books mentioned by everyone here, all great. The Killer Angels really is a masterpiece.

July 1, 2010, 07:23 AM
But you have to start with
Sun Tzu - The art of war
Clausewitz - on war

as those two have been read be every single
one of the peole who wrote all the other books.

Sun Tzu is my bible.

July 1, 2010, 08:14 AM
Foot Soldier: A Combat Infantryman's War in Europe by Roscoe C. Blunt Jr. and Roscoe C. Blunt. Sort of an American version of "Forgotten Soilder."


Red Phoenix by Larry Bond. This a "Red Storm Rising" type of novel, but based in Korea in the 1990's. Great read.


Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove. What if the Confederacy had had AK-47s at Gettysburg?


July 1, 2010, 08:36 AM
Starship Troopers by Heinlien The book that explained to me the military mindset and transformation that took me out of childhood

The Pragmatics of patriotisim by Heinlien The Annapolis address that let me understand that the choices of old and young men are the same and part of a cycle

Barracks Room Ballads by Kipling Absolutely applicable to military experience, Poetry formed from battle steel


July 1, 2010, 08:42 AM
Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer.

July 1, 2010, 09:05 AM
The Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob
And his "Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry".

I especially like "Cartridges of the World" and the Collectors Grade books. Of the latter I have:

"The Devil's Paintbrush" - The Maxim gun
"The Grand Old Lady of No Man's Land" - The Vickers gun
"Rock in a Hard Place" - The Browning Automatic Rifle
"The Browning Machine Gun, Vol.s I and II" - The M1917/M1919 machine guns
"Thompson: The American Legend" - Thompson submachineguns
"Sturmgewehr!" - German WWII assault rifles

July 1, 2010, 10:20 AM
Lone Survivor.

July 1, 2010, 10:41 AM
"Art of War" is a must read.

July 1, 2010, 10:42 AM
A few favorites of mine:

Dear Mom: A Sniper's View of Vietnam--engaging, and follows the author from boot camp all the way to making some bad choices and ending up in Leavenworth. This book also outed Chuck Mawhinney as being the USMC sniper with the most CONFIRMED kills at 103, and overall, behind Adelbert Waldron with 109 confirmed, the second sniper with the most CONFIRMED kills, dropping Carlos Hathcock to a distant fourth behind Eric R. England.

Blood Trails:The Combat Diary of a Footsoldier in Vietnam--Another great book with the author's life from boot camp to his early retirement from injuries sustained in Vietnam

America's Splendid Little Wars-- A book detailing the strategies and weapons used in the 12 smaller conflicts between Vietnam and the Iraq war. A good read to inform you about what ELSE went on in the 80's and 90's.

The Art of War-- The basis of every Wall Street tycoon's thinking, and some of the essentials to fighting a war.

This Man's Army--Follows an Ivy League student who joined ROTC, and then went to ranger school just before 9/11. One of the first memoirs on Afghanistan published from a Ranger's standpoint. My very favorite book on the war in Afghanistan. Andrew Exum has a knack for writing in a way that draws you in.

I'm also a big fan of Tom Clancy's stuff, especially the Jack Ryan series--my favorite being The Bear and the Dragon, which details a war between China and Russia for Siberia, with help from the US on the Russian side. Lots of logistics and tank warfare, but also a lot of realism and in depth thought by Clancy.

July 1, 2010, 10:47 AM
I thought Lone Survivor was a great book.

July 1, 2010, 10:56 AM
Wings of the Eagle, by W.T. Grant. He flew Huey for a year in Vietnam and his Huey NEVER, EVER, took hits. What makes it even more amazing? He flew LRP mission most of the time-in other words, he was picking up 6-man teams from LZs crawling with VC without getting hit.

And most of the other books mentioned before know.

And don't forget Monster Hunter International !

July 1, 2010, 11:58 AM
Sun Tsu's "The Art of War"

Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of The Five Rings"

Jerry Kuhnhausen's "The Mauser Bolt Actions: M91 Through M98, A Shop Manual"
Colt SAA Shop Manual, Volume I & II
"The S&W Revolver: A Shop Manual"

Lyman 49th

Hornady ABC's of Reloading 8th Edition

William Lee
July 1, 2010, 12:29 PM
The Book of Five Rings by Musashi

July 1, 2010, 12:39 PM
Not one mention of mention of the late and much-missed E.C. Ezell? Small Arms of the World is a classic.

Bruce Canfield has some good reference books. Mullen's Testing the War Weapons is also a good book, if from a strong perspective. Ian Hogg has an excellent writing style.

It occurs that it might be simpler to just photograph my bookcases. That, rather than getting up and waking over and over again.

Brown Water and Black Berets; Bravest Man; One Tough Marine, all good stuff.

For some serious perspective, I have The Man-of-War's Man's Manual, Naval Institute Press, 1927, which includes the manual of arms for just about everything, including Drum Major's baton.

July 1, 2010, 12:50 PM
I love how many have said "The Art of War." I read that for a business class!

Starship Troopers is an interesting choice since I'm pretty sure Heinlein was trying to depict the futility of war, not glorify it.

Still, it's great to see what a literary bunch THR attracts!

July 1, 2010, 01:11 PM
"Platoon Leader" by McDonough is a good read

"Not a Good Day to Die" by Sean Naylor is excellent, along the lines of Black Hawk Down

"With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa" by E. B. Sledge

July 1, 2010, 04:38 PM

This book and another with a very similar cover except that it covers small arms in general. These two books helped me learn about the inner workings of guns before I owned any. There are some typos here and there on the spec sheets but I know the difference now anyway.


July 1, 2010, 10:47 PM
"Platoon Leader" by McDonough is a good read

+1. I wonder where Killigan is these days.

July 2, 2010, 01:17 AM
For those who liked "Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara, a good follow-up would be reading his son Jeffery's books. Jeffery wrote the prequel and sequel of "Killer Angels", "Gods And Generals" and "The Last Full Measure" respectively. Both done in the same literary style as his father's book. The movie made based on "Gods And Generals" didn't do the book justice at all.

He also wrote:

"Gone For Soldiers" on the Mexican War period
"Rise To Rebellion" and "The Glorious Cause" on the US Revolution
"To The Last Man" on WW-I
And the trilogy on WW-II of "The Rising Tide", "The Steel Wave" and "No Less Than Victory."

July 2, 2010, 12:51 PM
Starship Troopers by Heinlien The book that explained to me the military mindset and transformation that took me out of childhood

One of the most misunderstood books of the 20th century because of the hokey B movie they made based upon it.

It went into warrior mindset as well as ethics.

Heinlen was also a firearms enthusiast and isn't his Springfield 1903 at the National Firearms Museum?

July 2, 2010, 06:29 PM
REQUIEM, Horst Faas, Tim Page, By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina

STREET WITHOUT JOY and HELL IN A VERY SMALL PLACE, by Bernard Fall, the French in Indochina

KIPLING'S CHOICE, by Geert Spillebeen, about Kipling's son in WWI

July 2, 2010, 08:17 PM
A few I have read, some fiction; of course all highly recommended...

Achtung Panzer, by Heinz Guderian

Devils' Guard, by George Robert Elford

Counter Insurgency Warfare, by David Galula

Citizen Soldier, by Stephen Ambrose

Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, by John Nagl

Bullets and Bolos, by John R. White

Grandfather's Tale, by Timothy Erenberger

Sniper on the Eastern Front, by Albrecht Wacker

Anything written by Liddell Hart
and all of Kipling's Soldier Poetry

July 2, 2010, 08:20 PM
Just picked up Robert Churchill's "Shotgun Book" aka "Game Shooting". Pretty good read on the fundamentals of shooting a shotgun.

Redneck with a 40
July 2, 2010, 10:36 PM
Enemies Foreign and Domestic, Mathew Bracken.:D

July 2, 2010, 10:44 PM
Sun Tzu is my bible.

I have this title. I agree, it is a very good read. It is a classic which applies to many areas in life, not just warfare.

July 3, 2010, 12:07 AM
Sun Tzu is war 101.

July 3, 2010, 04:39 PM
"The Strongest Tribe" and "The Village" by Bing West.

July 3, 2010, 05:59 PM
Matterhorn: a novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Mariantes.

July 3, 2010, 06:14 PM
dak0ta if you liked The Art of War see if you can find his grandson, Sun Bu's book The Lost Art of War.

July 3, 2010, 06:49 PM
For those who liked "Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara, a good follow-up would be reading his son Jeffery's books. Jeffery wrote the prequel and sequel of "Killer Angels", "Gods And Generals" and "The Last Full Measure" respectively.

I've got them both and they're good reads, but he's trying to cover far too much ground in each book - the entire war...

The Killer Angels is about one battle, Gettysburg, which arguably was the pivotal battle of the entire war. If Lee had won, he very likely would have taken Washington and the North would have been forced to sue for peace. The political will in the north was already crumbling after so many defeats.
Lee was -><- that close to winning the battle, particularly at Little Round Top where the 20th Maine made a stand that prevented Lee from folding the entire Union flank. Those few men changed history and Shaara makes you feel as if you were right there.

July 3, 2010, 08:42 PM
Many of my favorite books (both war and non-war) have been mentioned already, but here are two that I really like (yes, I copied the descriptions):

FREE AS A RUNNING FOX by T. D. Calnan - A fine WWII POW story written by T.D. Calnan, an RAF pilot shot down over occupied France in the early stages of WWII. Calnan is badly burned but makes several successful escapes over the next several years.
In something of a contrast to other, better known WWII POW books (e.g. The Great Escape, The Colditz Story), Calnan's story is a very personal, almost romantic adventure story at points. Calnan's prose is not particularly literary but it is very effective. When Calnan surveys the German countryside on a crisp evening soon after escaping from a train, the reader truly experiences the feeling of being as free as a running fox.
In describing life in the prison camps, Calnan displays a keen understanding of human nature, the universal and those aspects which are uniquely British, German and Russian. Throughout his captivity, Calnan seems almost pathologically obsessed with escaping, but never seems to lose his dry, uniquely British wit for very long, even though his hatred for the German war machine is palpable.

A Bridge Too Far, a non-fiction book by Cornelius Ryan, published in 1974, tells the story of Operation Market Garden, a failed Allied attempt to break through German lines at Arnhem in the occupied Netherlands during World War II in September 1944. The title of the book comes from a comment made by British Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning, deputy commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, who told Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery before the operation, "I think we may be going a bridge too far."
A Bridge Too Far was responsible for bringing to the general public's attention the full extent of this massive operation, including a catalogue of errors and miscalculations, whilst highlighting the extreme bravery of the participants.

Any Sci-Fi books by H. Beam Piper.

July 3, 2010, 09:23 PM
True story:

Was on my way to Bennington, VT a few years back with my girlfriend at the time. About an hour out from our B&B ( we were still on the New York side) she notices the car's outside temp gauge and says, "wanna make a bet? Let's each guess what the temp will be at our destination. Whoever gets closest can pick any one item from the book store in Manchester (beautiful independent book store!) and the other will pay for it."
I guessed correctly (exactly 49 degrees F), and while stalking the shelves I remembered a tome I'd been hankering to get for a while.
Sure enough it was there: Kyle Cassidy's Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in their homes.
Being the liberal anti-gunner she was, she shook her head the whole time the clerk rang up the sale, and as we left the store, said, "you're really pushing me, aren't ya?"
"Well, that's how we grow" I replied.
I absolutely love the book! And, believe it or not, she goes with me to the range (we're still friends).

July 4, 2010, 12:10 AM
I don't know why so many of you are obsessed with WW2, but in high school I read a book on written by the founder of Delta Force who was in the Korean War. Exciting stuff.

July 4, 2010, 07:44 AM
Metalman: Do you recall the title of that book?

July 4, 2010, 09:41 AM
Historical Fiction

I can highly recommend The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara as others have done here. It is the winner of a Pulitzer Prize.

The books by his son Jeff are also excellent. I have read the Civil War novels, as well as the American Revolution novels The Rise to Rebellion and The Glorious Cause. I have currently started reading the WWII novel The Rising Tide.

For those not familiar with historical fiction, the author is carefully researched and portrays events historically correct, but writes from the prospective of several key players in the story. For instance The Rising Tide is told from the viewpoints of Erwin Rommel, Dwight Eisenhower, as well as several others.

Other Books

Ultimate Sniper: Advanced Training Manual for Military and Police Snipers. By Major John Plaster.

The Art of the Rifle and To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth. Also Principles of Personal Defense. By Col Jeff Cooper.

Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting. By Ed McGivern.

On Killing and On Combat by LtCol Dave Grossman. Highly recommended and can be purchased from http://www.killology.com

The Five Fingers. By Gayle Rivers. Recounts a Special Forces incursion into far North Vietnam. Presented as true, but most likely fiction. A good story either way.

July 4, 2010, 12:02 PM
Try his 4 book autobiography of his service with the 101st during WW2. The man is a master storyteller, and his memory for detail is astounding.

The Road to Arnhem
Seven Roads to Hell
Beyond the Rhine


July 4, 2010, 12:26 PM
The only books I read are reloading books.
I have read enuf books in my life time.
Retired 11 years I watch the BS that is shown on DVD.
I have about 1300 movies.
I can't stand our goverment so I try not to watch the news ( more BS than Hollywood )

July 4, 2010, 12:30 PM
I have read Star Ship trooper 3 or 4 times and think its a great insight to the world as we would like it to be, as for Catch 22, I read it twice and flew co-pilot in the movie and think it sucks big time, especially the movie, but it paid good at the time.

July 4, 2010, 12:52 PM
Looking over my list, I suppose that most of my picks do not portray war as a very glorious and wonderful thing.

All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Remarque

The Civil War - A Narrative - Shelby Foote

The First World War - John Keegan

Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy

The Book of War - John Keegan/various authors

The Best and the Brightest - David Halberstam

Hadji Murat - Leo Tolstoy

A Rumor of War - Philip Caputo

July 4, 2010, 01:08 PM
I forgot to mention this one earlier:
The Longest Winter (http://www.amazon.com/Longest-Winter-Story-Decorated-Platoon/dp/0718147456/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278263151&sr=8-2). It's about a platoon in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge.

Ala Dan
July 4, 2010, 01:10 PM
I forgot my copy of:

Honor Bound: Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia 1961-1973

A truly reamarkable work, and a must for anyone interested
in U.S. captives that were held in Southeast Asia; with a complete index
statuts [as best be know it], of all KIA, MIA, and POW's.

July 4, 2010, 04:18 PM
Fix Bayonets Col Thompson about the Marines in WW I

winchester '97
July 4, 2010, 05:42 PM
+1 on guns Up, read it 3 times in 5 years, also Ralph Zumbros books are good, Tank Seargeant was my favorite, basically his recollections of being a tank gunner in the 69th armored in Nam. Also +1 on Allan eckert.
As far as strictly related to firearms, Ian Hogg's books are my favorites, just love his writing style and attention to detail, plus oppinions gathered from a lifetime of British army service.

Also: Louis L'Amoure is my favorite author period. He was: a drifter since he was seperated from his family at 15, a merchant trader, was shipwrecked and fought pirates, a mercenary fighting imperial japan for the chinese, an elephant trainer, an officer on tank destroyers in WW2, won 51 of his 59 fights as a pro boxer, and wrote more than 400 short stories and 50 novels, of which i think 30 have been made into movies, notably Crossfire Trail, basically he was completely basass and his life experience shines through in all aspects of his writing, especially if the main character gets into a fistfight.

July 4, 2010, 06:05 PM
There are some exceptional books recommended on this thread. I will not repeat any of those titles.

Stillwell and the American Experience in China 1911-1945 Barbara Tuchman. Excellent history of Joe Stillwell and his role in the China-Burma Theater and his career.


July 5, 2010, 12:56 AM
I have repeated some of the ones already listed that are tops on my list.

Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer

The Killer Angels Michael Shaara

Any of Jerry Kuhnhausen's manuals. Outstanding books even if you're not planning detailed fine gunsmithing, sometimes I'm just swept away by the fantastic illustrations.

All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Remarque

The Guns of August Barbara Tuchman

Army of the Potomic Trilogy ending with A Stillness at Appomattox Bruce Catton - Anything by Catton

Old Man's War John Scalzi The very best new recruits greeted by their Drill Sergeant scene ever

Ender's Game Orson Scott Card

Red Storm Rising Tom Clancy

Stalingrad Theodor Pliever Written just a couple of years after the war by a German survivor

The Forever War Joe Haldeman

The Hammer's Slammers series, especially The Warrior David Drake

A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam Neil Sheehan

Almost anything by Heinlein will get into firearms, weapons, personal responsibility and politics

Hondo 60
July 5, 2010, 10:39 AM
Seems like the answers in this thread are all non-fiction manuals or historical accounts.

Me personally, I like John Wayne & Louis L'Amour. So how about Hondo!
My all time favorite! I have the book & both movies (the John Wayne version & the Ralph Taeger version.)

July 5, 2010, 09:21 PM
I might have already posted this, but reading through this thread, I couldn't help but think of "A Better War" and "Thunderbolt" by Lewis Sorley. The first is a history of the Vietnam War after Creighton Abrams took over; the second is "Thunderbolt," Sorley's excellent biography of Gen. Abrams.

July 5, 2010, 11:14 PM
I don't know why so many of you are obsessed with WW2

I am willing to bet that such an "obsession" with WW2 boils down to the grand scope of this war and Adolf Hitlers involvement; along with his agenda, unfortunately. It was a horrible time, no doubt..but a very interesting time as well, strictly speaking of warfare.

Anyway, great suggestions all. I appreciate the posts...

Nico Testosteros
July 7, 2010, 12:30 PM
I need to add a book I'd forgotten about

No Picnic on Mount Kenya.

It's about 3 Italian prisoners of war in Africa in WW2 who break out of prison camp to go climb Mount Kenya. They scavenge some homemade climbing gear, break out, climb Mt. Kenya and then break back into camp.
Maybe more a mountaineering book than a war book but it gives a unique perspective.

July 7, 2010, 12:43 PM
All Quiet on the Western Front has been one of my fav's since childhood.

Ala Dan
July 7, 2010, 03:55 PM
Stolen Valor:

How The Viet-Nam Generation Was Robbed Of Its Heros And Its History

by: BG Burkett and Glenna Whitley

July 7, 2010, 04:10 PM
An anti-gun screed, to be sure... but fascinating!

Written 30+ years ago, IIRC a lot of the issues that we discuss/grapple with are right there in the book; wound survivability, "which caliber has the most killing power," myths about hollow points, depressing tales of overzealous law enforcement, and a lot of interesting anecdotes involving firearms and gunfights.

July 7, 2010, 04:51 PM
Jack Hinson's One-Man War, A Civil War Sniper. - Tom McKenney


July 8, 2010, 03:47 AM
Dear Mom: A Sniper's View of Vietnam--engaging, and follows the author from boot camp all the way to making some bad choices and ending up in Leavenworth.

Um, on that last bit i think you may have confused Dear Mom with Gone Native By Alan G. Cornett (http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Native-Story-Alan-Cornett/dp/0804116377/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278573875&sr=8-1).
Cornett was a carreer Army NCO that spent 7 years in Vietnam, mostly in covert/behind-the-lines type operations, made a bad decision (can't remember it off the top of my head) and served time in Leavenworth. At the end of his term in Leavenworth, Cornett was allowed to resume his service with a reduction in rank and I beleive retired honorably. it's been a few years since i read my copy and I can't find it readily.

Joseph T. Ward, the writer of Dear Mom, on the other hand served one hitch in the Marines, served his 13 months in SEA as a sniper, and then was discharged from the Corps in 1970. (THAT book is sitting right here on my desk)

July 8, 2010, 12:37 PM
"The Forgotten Soldier", Guy Sajer

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