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Archive for the ‘Army’ Category

patton-at-the-battle-of-the-bulge-by-leo-barron

Leo Barron. Patton at the Battle of the Bulge: How the General’s Tanks Turned the Tide at Bastogne.  New York, NY: NAL Caliber, October 28th 2014. 432 pp.

This is another work on the European Theatre of World War Two that I enjoyed in the fall of 2016. In this instance I listened to this book in audiobook format.  This book is more operational history and is what probably many who are interested in World War Two battles want to read and hear.  It tells us the story of General Patton’s attempt to break the German military stronghold surrounding the US Army 101st Airborne Division in a town called Bastogne from the perspective of one of Patton’s favorite outfit: The Fourth Armored Division.

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A Veteran’s Day weekend reading recommendation.

the-longest-winter-by-alex-kershaw

Alex Kershaw. The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon.  Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, November 22nd, 2004. 344 pp.

This Fall I started reading more books on the European Theatre of World War Two and this is one that I enjoyed and I’m glad I finished this on the eve of Veteran’s Day.  The book tells the story of the most decorated platoon of World War Two.  It is about the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon from the 394th Infantry Regiment of the 99th Infantry Division who fought the Germans against overwhelming odds during the Battle of the Bulge.

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Tonight’s weekend reading review…as always, because Pastors also need a mental break.

the-price-of-valor-the-life-of-audie-murphy-americas-most-decorated-hero-of-world-war-ii

David Smith.  The Price of Valor. Washington DC: Regnery History, January 1st, 2015. 258 pp.

I enjoyed this biography on Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War Two.  It is about time I finally know more about him!  I was wondering whether to start with Audie’s autobiography or this biography told in a third person perspective but in the end I thought it was better to start with this work by David Smith.  I don’t regret it—that’s because I enjoyed it very much.

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the-only-thing-worth-dying-for-by-eric-blehm

Eric Blehm.  The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan  New York, NY: Harper, January 19th, 2010.  400 pp.

Rating: 5 out of 5

This is the story of a US Special Forces team called ODA 574 and their mission in sourthern Afghanistan in the early days of the US invasion after September 11th.  The author interviewed the survivors of the team, other military servicemembers who interacted with the team and also poured over official government documents.  Most amazing of all is the fact that the author got to interview Hamid Karzai himself, the president of Afghanistan whom at that time was little known.  This is the story of the tip of the spear of the US military bringing the war to the very home of the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan.

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Why am I reviewing this?  Because even Pastors need a break from heavy theology.

Pale Horse Hunting Terrorists and Commanding Heroes with the 101st Airborne Division

Jimmy Blackmon.  Pale Horse: Hunting Terrorists and Commanding Heroes with the 101st Airborne Division.  New York, NY: Saint Martin’s Press, March 8th, 2016. 368 pp.

I’ve appreciated those involve with the US Army combat aviation after reading this book in ways that I never did before.  There doesn’t seem to be that many books on combat helicopter pilots so I imagine this book would have staying power as books recommend for military officers’ professional reading.  If this book isn’t in any professional reading list yet I think it should be soon as recommended reading at some level of the military.

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No True Glory A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah by Bing West

Bing West. No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah.  New York, NY: Bantam Book, December 7th, 2011. 378 pp.

This book is about the US military’s operation in Fallujah from the time the first troops were on the ground in that city and leading up to the Marines’ assault towards the end of 2004.  There is so much that people don’t understand about the US military’s approach towards Fallujah and so many mistaken assumptions and factually incorrect claims of what the US military did.  I think this book makes an important contribution towards understanding what happened.

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As usual each Friday I try to post a review of weekend readings that pastors and others can read that serves as break from their spiritual readings.  Tonight’s book was one that was a great exercise of other parts of my mind.

The Insurgents David Petraeus by Fred Kaplan

Fred Kaplan. The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War.  New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, January 2nd, 2013. 432 pp.

What an amazing book.  I have so many good things to say.  But first a brief summary:  The author Fred Kaplan takes a look at the US Army’s wrestling with the idea and practice of counterinsurgency after the post-Vietnam era.  Kaplan makes the point that after the Vietnam War the leadership at the Pentagon never wanted to fight another counterinsurgency again.  Instead the military as a whole focused on the more traditional concept of warfare such as big tank battles, heavy artillery and mechanized heavy infantry.  A lot of this was due to the ongoing Cold War with the threat of Russia and the Eastern Bloc.  It was also what was most familiar to many of the Generals and Admirals.  But the collapse of the Soviet Union and the defeat of the fourth largest tank army during Desert Storm soon reduced the likelihood of the traditional warfare that the US wanted.  Unfortunately after Vietnam the Army has stopped thinking, teaching and training for counter-insurgency.  It didn’t even have a manual for that kind of warfare among its publications!  This book focuses primarily on how this mentality hurt the US military and also on the men and women who tried to change the Army’s way of fighting war.  It concentrate largely on the war in Iraq though it does give a brief look at Afghanistan.  Having recently read a number of books on military history I must say this book was one of the best military history nonfiction I read in the first half of 2016.

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