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Old 05-11-2009, 07:38 AM
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Default OT - Book (Non Fiction) Review/Recommendations Thread

Since we are a pretty well read group I thought we could share our opinions on any books we read recently. As the header indicates any subject books are allowed for review not just Post Apocalyptic.

If any book spurs a vigorous discussion I will spawn a new thread and put the links below.
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Old 05-11-2009, 03:45 PM
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The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat by Robert Drury and Tom Clavin

Read this a a month or two ago. An account of a Marine company in Korea holding of a Chinese attack at Chosin in 1950.
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Old 05-11-2009, 08:13 PM
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Marines in the Garden of Eden by Richard S. Lowry. The story of the Battle of Nasiriya during the opening days of the Iraq War.

Enemy at the Gates by William Craig: Stalingrad from beginning to end. Also see Antony Beevor's book Stalingrad

The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan (the only one of his books not to be a movie): Berlin, 1945. And check out Beevor's The Battle for Berlin

Iwo by Richard Wheeler: The 37 Days to take Iwo Jima in 1945.

Storm on the Horizon, by David J. Morris: The Battle of Khafji in the First Gulf War.
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:35 AM
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Killing Time, My War In Iraq : Colby Buzzel. Account of a member of the Stryker brigade in Iraq.

A Soldiers Song : Ken Lukowiak. Story of his time in the Falklands war. Laugh out loud in some places, but very moving in others.

Sniper One : Dan Mills. Story of his time with the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment in Iraq.

Apache : Ed Macy. Story of Apache operations in Afghanistan, including the battle of Jugroom Fort.

More to add later.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:34 AM
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Default books - big classics imho ,so if you havnt read em..do.

The unknown soldier by Vaino Linna

All quiet on the Western front by Erich Maria Remarque

and I include the independently published An ace minus one which I rather enjoyed actually .
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Old 06-20-2015, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
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The unknown soldier by Väinö Linna
With the new translation to English, here is a chance to read about the Continuation War from 1941-44, written from the point of view of a machinegun company in the Finnish Army. While some characters are fictional and others are a combination of several real personnel, there are some actual individual soldiers (under different names), who servee during the war in the said company. It's also a good description of how many Finns viewed the war.
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:04 AM
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One soldiers war in Chechnya : Arkady Babchenko. Memoirs of a soldier in Chechnya. Very interesting because not much has come out of this war yet. A very personal account relating his service initially as a conscript and then having volunteered to go back. Deals a lot with the bullying and beatings handed out by senior ranks down through the chain of command, and also the problems with supplies etc. If this is indicative of the average quality of Russian troops we were scared of them for no reason. An excellent book.

Fighting Scared : Robin Horsfall. Memoirs of an ex SAS soldier covering his time in the regiment and after he left and became a bodyguard.

Guns for hire : Tony Geraghty. Analysis of mercenaries/pmc's in modern times. Includes Iraq and Afghanistan.

We were soldiers once.... And young : Lt Gen Harold Moore (Retd) & Joe Galloway. Now made famous by the film. Account of the first major battle between the US and NVA/VC.

We are soldiers still : Same authors as above. Details the return to the battle field after 40 years, including meeting with their former enemies. A very touching study of forgiveness on both sides. Highly recommended.
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiggerCCW UK
We were soldiers once.... And young : Lt Gen Harold Moore (Retd) & Joe Galloway. Now made famous by the film. Account of the first major battle between the US and NVA/VC.
I read this before seeing the film and was pleasantly surprised at how closely the film followed the book.

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Originally Posted by TiggerCCW UK
We are soldiers still : Same authors as above. Details the return to the battle field after 40 years, including meeting with their former enemies. A very touching study of forgiveness on both sides. Highly recommended.
I want to read this. Had no idea until now that it existed.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:35 AM
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(kato13 edit moved here since I felt the thread needed a bump and it fits better in this thread)

I just bought a copy of "Glen Beck's 'Common Sense'" tonight when i went to walmart to get my disability check cashed. I would recommend it to everyone to read. it is very good from what i have just gotten to read... it's not left, nor right... it's just plan common sense that people really should look at and... welll, when i get this finished, and anyone wants to borrow it, let me know and i will send it your way.

Last edited by kato13; 07-06-2009 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:44 PM
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I am currently reading "The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why" by Amanda Ripley, published by Arrow Books. It is very interesting. The book's subject is pretty well explained by its title. The author has conducted hundreds of interviews with accident, combat and disaster survivors from all over the world and has also used dozens of academic papers in her research.

Reading this book has given me food for thought in a number of areas related to T2K but especially about Coolness Under Fire, Initiative, leadership and panic. In one chapter there is some very interesting information about how the structure of some peoples' brains make them more susceptible to suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It seems that people who have a larger than average hippocampus are much more resistant to PTSD. There is also some interesting stuff about the differences in brain chemistry between your average soldier and special forces-type personnel, and hundreds of examples of accidents, combats and disasters and how those interviewed dealt with them.

In keeping with the rating system introduced in the Fiction Books thread I rate this one 4.5 out of 5 mushroom clouds.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:45 AM
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Band of Brothers - Stephen Ambrose

Citizen Soldiers - Stephen Ambrose

Both good books about soldiers in WWII
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:57 AM
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Bumping this thread as Christmas is coing up and there's a few new books out there that might be of interest.

A couple I've read lately or am reading at the minute

1. Finest Years by Max Hastings. reading this at the moment - an account of the premiership of Sir Winston Churchill during the War Years. Up to Hastings' usual excellent standard. Highly recommended.

2. Danger Close by Colonel Stuart Tootal. Another of the Afghanistan books on the market in the UK, and about 3 Para in Helmand in 2006. Written by the Battalion's Commanding Officer at the time.

3. Attack State Red by Colonel Richard Kemp. Like Danger Close, written by a former Battalion Commander in Helmand, in this case the CO of the 1st Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment.

4. The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 by Christopher Andrew. A good read for anyone interested in how an Intelligence Service operates.

Cheers
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:05 PM
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I'm interested in those Afghan books by battalion commanders. About a month ago, I read "Apache" by a British chopper pilot, after his 2nd tour there, supporting the Royal Marines. I liked it.
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:14 PM
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I found this one at the library yesterday. It seems like a T2k-style thing to do:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...orth-dying-for
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adm.Lee View Post
I found this one at the library yesterday. It seems like a T2k-style thing to do:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...orth-dying-for
Unfortunately, I'd have to sign up for Farcebook to read it; I'm not that trusting of Facebook.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
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Unfortunately, I'd have to sign up for Farcebook to read it; I'm not that trusting of Facebook.
Why would you have to sign up to Facebook? I thought that link was to a review of the book at a non-Facebook site.

Anyhow, it looks like a good read. I'd like to get a copy. I'll have to look around the bookshops here in Australia and see if it is available.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:54 AM
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Unfortunately, I'd have to sign up for Farcebook to read it; I'm not that trusting of Facebook.
Try again, I edited it to go to Goodreads instead.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:03 PM
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Closing With The Enemy: How the GIs fought the War in Europe 1944-45: I've read and re-read that book about a dozen times. It also explodes the myth "The GIs stank as infantrymen." and it showed that when doctrine failed, the American GI was flexible enough to improvise solutions, and how the Army as a whole became a clearing house in dispensing the information on said solutions throughout the Army. It also demonstrates how the Army began to realize that it needed to teach junior officers some sense of self-preservation, as too many of them were exposing themselves needlessly...

http://www.michaeldoubler.com/Closing.htm
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:17 PM
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I just finished The Siege of Budapest by Hungarian historian Krisztian Ungvary. It was sad but pretty good. I think it would be helpful for a GM trying to recreate a city siege or describe its aftermath. I would have like more detailed info about the relief operations but overall it was a quick and worthwhile read.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:27 PM
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For a really good account about a Russian attack against a fixed defence position, I recommend "First Clash" by Kenneth Macksey.

Its about a meeting encounter between the 4'th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and the Soviets 1'st Guard Tank Division. It has lots of detailed maps and organizational charts. Fascinating read.

Also "Dragons at War - Land Battle in The Desert" by Daniel Bolger... a great behind the scenes look at the US Army National Training Center at Camp Irwin. It also offered insight on how to play the great game and get promoted.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:53 AM
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Default George MacDonald Fraser

In addition to the Flashman books, George MacDonald Fraser also wrote the wonderful "Quartered Safe Out Here," chronicling his time in Burma in WW2. An unapologetic book it tries to explain the reality of soldiering there and features some wonderful set piece scenes - I defy anyone to not be moved (in both humour and gentle sadness) by the description of the ex-servicemen many years on in the final chapter.

If you enjoy this he continues the story in fictional form in the McAuslen trilogy which I find even better than his wonderful Flashman books.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:40 PM
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Default Just read With the Old Breed and Helmet for My Pillow

By Sledge and Lecke, respectively.

Sledge's book is by far a better, IMO, view of the Marines in the pacific from a grunt's eye view. The book is a horror story; although Sledge sees active duty late in the war (the full title of his book is In With The Old Breed at Pelileu and Okinawa) the late-war almost calm that seems to permeate books about the Western European theater (Citizen Soldier, Band of Brothers, Beyond Band of Brothers, Biggest Brother, etc.) the fighting in the Pacific reached a fevered pitch up to the surrender in August of 1945 - and Sledge was in the thick of it.

It's fascinating to read about Sledge's combat experience on Pelileu, and his talk of the airfield - then to read Leckie's treatment of that same battle (Leckie's last; a Japanese field gun chased him down with shell fire until an errant round hit an ammo dump near him and the concussion left him temporarily deaf and suffering aphasia and he did not recover in time to be returned to the line).

Leckie's book is almost poetic in its description of everything, including the horrors of combat. Where Sledge focused on how war ground him down (he almost succumbed to the temptation to take gold teeth from the mouth of a dead Japanese soldier until a field medic cautioned him about "germs", although he relates that the medic was likely more concerned for the health of Sledge's soul rather than his physical well-being), and about the utterly dehumanizing conditions that his unit lived and fought in, Leickie frames the experience in terms of a grand adventure, a boys' own, even his own removal to a rear-area mental hospital for bedwetting which included threatening an orderly (albeit half-jokingly) with a captured Japanese pistol.

They're both great works, of the two, though, again, I prefer Sledge's story the most.

It was interesting (and a bit disappointing) to read them after having seen The Pacific on HBO: while Sledge's memoir was kept "essentially" the same, Leckie's book seemed to have been mined for its skeleton, but surface details wholly erased or recreated to fit a different story. For example, in the book, Leckie talks about stealing supplies from Army depots including canned peaches and apricots which he describes as being so good that he ate until he felt sick: in the miniseries, we're treated to James Badge vomiting profusely after eating part of a can. Likewise, a French expatriot who'd joined the 1st Marines and been given the nickname "Commando" is seen (in the mini-series) as succumbing to shell shock and committing suicide nude in front of the mess tent. Per Leckie, the actual person was stalwart (if a bit wrong-headed in applying urban and suburban guerrilla warfare tactics to jungle combat) and died in combat.

Tonally, The Pacific portrayed Leckie's experiences as much more in line with the way Sledge, perhaps, would have described them rather than how Leckie actually did.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:54 PM
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These would go really well in the Non-Fiction Recommendation Thread. I think I will go ahead and try to merge them.
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:08 PM
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These would go really well in the Non-Fiction Recommendation Thread. I think I will go ahead and try to merge them.
Dang it why do I keep forgetting that thing is there?! Sorry, boss.
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