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

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by inSight-NEO, Jun 29, 2010.

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  1. inSight-NEO

    inSight-NEO Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  2. HGUNHNTR

    HGUNHNTR Member

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    The Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob
     
  3. devildog4329

    devildog4329 Member

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    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.
     
  4. inSight-NEO

    inSight-NEO Member

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    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."
     
  5. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Only war related novel that was incredible, plus having some good firearm related stuff is the classic "Once an Eagle" by Anton Myrer.
     
  6. kragluver

    kragluver Member

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    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)

    Weapons/Historical:

    Hatcher's Notebook
    The Book of the Garand

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

    Hatterasguy Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  8. Ditchtiger

    Ditchtiger Member

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    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.
     
  9. Hatterasguy

    Hatterasguy Member

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    The Eastern Front was brutal, prisoners were not taken, wounded were shot, neither side was allowed to retreat.
     
  10. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Member

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    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.
     
  11. Kentucky-roughrider

    Kentucky-roughrider Member

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    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
     
  12. bskillet

    bskillet Member

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    To Hell and Back by Audie Murphy, the most highly decorated US serviceman in WWII. Very good.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  13. mg.mikael

    mg.mikael Member

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    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.)
     
  14. chieftain

    chieftain Member

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    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.

    Fred
     
  15. Nushif

    Nushif Member

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    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.
     
  16. Zoidberg523

    Zoidberg523 Member

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    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.
     
  17. Gryffydd

    Gryffydd Member

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    No True Glory by Bing West. This one's about the battle for Fallujah
    House to House by David Bellavia. This one's a first hand account from OIF.
    Dead Center by Ed Kugler. A first hand account from a Vietnam sniper. I actually enjoyed this one much more than Marine Sniper.
    Generation Kill 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 by Nate Fick. Written by one of the subjects of Generation Kill.

    P.S. MY underlined titles are actually links ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  18. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    The Art of War - Sun Tzu (Must read) and On War (written by a German couple centuries ago which has defined modern western warfare)
     
  19. Vonderek

    Vonderek Member

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    "Point Man" by James Watson was a good read about the early SEAL teams in Vietnam.

    "Black Hawk Down" by Mark Bowden is incredible.
     
  20. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Reloading and gun manuals
     
  21. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  22. wgp

    wgp Member

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    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.
     
  23. Hillbillyz

    Hillbillyz Member

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    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.
     
  24. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  25. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    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.
     
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