Now that Black Friday is pretty much over and the cyber and small business versions of said shopping holiday are coming, I thought I’d post a short reading list of my fave books about the War on Terror in case you wanted to do some online shopping for some Christmas reading. Or, if you’re like my friend Ryan, the Geek in Afghanistan, who’s overseas right now, you might want to do a little reading before considering a job over yonder.
Here are my top four books on the war across the big pond…
Babylon by Bus by Ray Lemoine and Jeff Neumann. This book gives an incredible look into the non-military aspects of life early on during the war in Iraq. If you’ve ever wondered just what exactly happened inside the Green Zone to make such a mess out of our reconstruction efforts, this book is the one you want. Interestingly enough, the fact that it is written by two drug addicted idiots who worked fulltime in the Green Zone gives you an idea of what kind of people we employed there.
Generation Kill by Evan Wright. This book tells the bigger than life story of one of the first units into the fray in Iraq, the Marine Corps First Recon Battalion. I’ll say right off that I absolutely loved both this book and the HBO mini-series based on it. You have to partake of both to get the full effect. There are some great actors in the series, including Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood, Rudy Reyes who was actually part of the Mrine unit portrayed, and John Huertas from Castle. As a great follow-up to this book, you could also check out One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick. I haven’t read it though. Fick was part of this unit and is in Wright’s book quite a bit.
In the Company of Soldiers by Rick Atkinson. This book about the 101st Airborne Division gives an excellent account of the ground war in Iraq. This was the first major account I read about General Petraeus in his earlier days as a major leader earning his first combat patch. I grew to admire him from this book, which made it all the more disheartening when he screwed up.
Contractor Combatants by Carter Andress. I’ve had a good number of really good friends who served as contractors in Iraq, so I enjoy reading about this side of the war and the modern mercenaries who do much of the fighting and supplying. This book is a great story about the business side of the war written by one of those businessmen. There’s actually an account in this book about a good friend of mine who died on the way into Fallujah when his SUV was struck by and RPG.
These are only my favorite books that I’ve read. I’m sure there are many others, and I know that there are quite a few holes in my coverage here. There are likely some great books covering other aspects, such as the air war, Navy, working with the Kurds, etc. Please feel free to add you own in the comments.
I’ll leave you with a pic of me in military reading mode. The books that didn’t make the cut are downrange.