Military Book Reviews

I Will Tell No War Stories by Howard Mansfield

I Will Tell No War Stories by Howard Mansfield

Howard Mansfield is an accomplished author and writer of a dozen books. However, his latest, "I Will Tell No War Stories: What Our Fathers Left Unsaid about World War II," is not his story. It belongs to Pincus Mansfield, his father, who lived the stories in the book during World War II. Howard knew his father had flown aboard a B-24 Liberator Bomber during the war, but like many of his generation, mum was the word when it came to talking about his wartime experiences.  "You're not getting any war stories from me," he'd say.  During a visit to England, his son got a taste of what World War II was like for the bomber crews who flew over Nazi-occupied Europe. He joined a British airplane enthusiasts' club for a screening of the 1941 Royal Air Force film "Target for Tonight." During the short film, he watched as bomber crews planned and executed a mission over the Rhine, and he saw just how dangerous his father's wartime profession really was. But he had never heard his father...

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The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper

The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper

The Outpost is the heartbreaking and inspiring story of one of America's deadliest battles during the war in Afghanistan, acclaimed by critics everywhere as a classic. At 5:58 AM on October 3rd, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating, located in frighteningly vulnerable terrain in Afghanistan just 14 miles from the Pakistani border, was viciously attacked. Though the 53 Americans there prevailed against 40 Taliban fighters, their casualties made it the deadliest fight of the war for the fight for the U.S. that year.  Four months after the battle, a Pentagon review revealed that there was no reason for the troops at Keating to have been there in the first place. In The Outpost, Jake Taber gives us the powerful saga of COP Keating, from its establishment to eventual destructions, introducing us to an unforgettable cast of soldiers and their families and to a place and war that has remained profoundly distant to most Americans. Reviews of The Outpost "The Outpost is a mind-boggling,...

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Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

Twenty-five years after her passing, Audrey Hepburn remains the most beloved of all Hollywood stars, known as much for her role as UNICEF ambassador as for films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Several biographies have chronicled her stardom, but none has covered her intense experiences through five years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. According to her son, Luca Dotti, "The war made my mother who she was."  Audrey Hepburn's war included participation in the Dutch Resistance, working as a doctor's assistant during the "Bridge Too Far" battle of Arnhem, the brutal execution of her uncle, and the ordeal of the Hunger Winter of 1944. She also had to contend with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. But the war years also brought triumphs as Audrey became Arnhem's most famous young ballerina.  Audrey's own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime...

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On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides

On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides

On October 15, 1950, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of UN troops in Korea, convinced President Harry Truman that the Communist forces of Kim Il-sung would be utterly defeated by Thanksgiving. The Chinese, he said with near certainty, would not intervene in the war. As he was speaking, 300,000 Red Chinese soldiers began secretly crossing the Manchurian border. Led by some 20,000 men of the First Marine Division, the Americans moved deep into the snowy mountains of North Korea, toward the trap Mao had set for the vainglorious MacArthur along the frozen shores of the Chosin Reservoir. What followed was one of the most heroic - and harrowing - operations in All US Air Force operations are oriented around the official Air Force Doctrine. Responsibility for developing doctrine rests on the Curtis E Lemay Center for Doctrine Development and Education at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Doctrine exists to guide the Air Force in the effective American military history, and one...

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Cobra Talon by Patrick Sydor

Cobra Talon by Patrick Sydor

Nick Parker is a Combat Security Police Flight Chief at Ko Kha Air Station, a remote radar outpost on the Thailand-Laos border. As the war in Vietnam draws to a close, he is suddenly thrust into a dark, secret war taking place in Thailand and must devise an effective defense for his small but important radar station, one that serves both the Air Force and the CIA.  Ever the joker, Nick finds himself competing with his boss, who was expected to take the assignment. Nick Parker's life isn't all about war, however. He struggles with the injuries he sustained during the war, the ready availability of drugs and alcohol, and – tragically – the suicide of a close friend and fellow soldier. Nick has to defend his radar station while grappling with a murder accusation and being torn between his love back home and the one he potentially finds while at war.  It's not often we get to review works of fiction by veteran authors, but "Cobra Talon," the first in a series of novels by Vietnam...

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Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

On June 6, 1944, Werner T. Angress parachuted down from a C-47 into German-occupied France with the 82nd Airborne Division. Nine days later, he was captured behind enemy lines and, concealing his identity as a German-born Jew, became a prisoner of war. Eventually, he was freed by US forces, rejoined the fight, crossed Europe as a battlefield interrogator, and participated in a concentration camp's liberation. Although he was an American soldier, less than ten years before, he had been an enthusiastically patriotic German-Jewish boy. Rejected and threatened by the Nazi regime, the Angress family fled to Amsterdam to escape persecution and death, and young Angress then found his way to the United States.  In Witness to the Storm, Angress weaves the spellbinding story of his life, including his escape from Germany, his new life in the United States, and his experiences in World War II. A testament to the power of perseverance and forgiveness, Witness to the Storm is the compelling...

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I Should Have Written a Book by Tom Grannetino

I Should Have Written a Book by Tom Grannetino

One might think that by now, every World War II story there is to tell has already been told, but people tend to forget just how massive the scale of that conflict really was. More than 16 million Americans served in the armed forces during World War II, and each of them that came back did so with unique experiences.  William Grannetino had more than a handful of stories to tell. His son Tom grew up listening to the stories his father told about his service in the Second World War. In 2019, he gathered them into a compendium, using his father's mantra, his most used phrase whenever he discussed his exploits in the war: "I should have written a book."   That's how "I Should Have Written a Book: A Sailor's Journey From Omaha Beach to Japan During World War II" came to be.  "I Should Have Written a Book" is More Than Just the Accounts of the Battle Just like the title suggests, Grannetino's story begins shortly before the June 6, 1944, landings in Nazi-occupied Normandy. The sailor...

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The Road Not Taken by Max Boot

The Road Not Taken by Max Boot

In chronicling the adventurous life of legendary CIA operative Edward Lansdale, The Road Not Taken definitively reframes our understanding of the Vietnam War. In this epic biography of Edward Lansdale (1908 - 1987), the man said to be the fictional model for Graham Greene's The Quiet American, best-selling historian Max Boot demonstrates how Lansdale pioneered a "hearts and mind" diplomacy, first in the Philippines, then in Vietnam. It was a visionary policy that, as Boot reveals, was ultimately crushed by America's giant military bureaucracy, steered by elitist generals and blueblood diplomats who favored troop build-ups and napalm bombs over winning the trust of the people. Through dozens of interviews and access to never-before-seen documents-including long-hidden love letters-Boot recasts this cautionary American story, tracing the bold rise and the crashing fall of the roguish "T. E. Lawrence of Asia" from the battle of Dien Bien Phu to the humiliating American evacuation...

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You’ll Be Scared – Sure You’ll Be Scared by Philip Cole

You’ll Be Scared – Sure You’ll Be Scared by Philip Cole

What possesses a unit of soldiers to run headlong into a frontal assault on a heavily defended position, knowing that the chances of success aren't great and that they could die? Many might ask: aren't they scared? The answer is: of course they are. That's not really what matters at that moment, however.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear." Nowhere in American military history was that something more important than in the Civil War. Union soldiers marched into the grim melee of the world's first modern war, knowing they might be maimed or killed.  Psychological Strain on the Battlefield: Insights from "You'll Be Scared - Sure You'll" Fear is the natural process that keeps us alive and (hopefully) unharmed in the face of overwhelming danger. It's what provokes us to run away to safety or prepare to stand our ground. But war is different. Soldiers can't run away from...

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An Airman’s Journey by Robert M. Fletcher

An Airman’s Journey by Robert M. Fletcher

From the Korean War to the Vietnam War era, the author shares his memories and provides photos of his service with the U.S. Army and with his career the U.S. Air Force.  Covered in the early part of the book are details of how he is exposed to military life, the drudgery of barracks duties, like cleaning latrines, and the kitchen police, overcoming all of those to become a surgical technician, and getting assigned to different air bases to finally reach a forward station in South Korea.  He recounts the many instances of near-fatal attacks during his stint in South Korea during the Korean War, along with a tour of Japan. His long list of adventures includes returning from Japan to do a tour in Germany. The book is replete with humorous experiences like guarding the Commander's dog or inventing a real 'sob story' to arrange a compassionate transfer, or his escapades with girls nationally as well as abroad. The memoir has a very good collection of photographs of people,...

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Thunder Below! by Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey

Thunder Below! by Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey

The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey. This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events. The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success...

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Operation Utah: The Die is Cast by Hurbert Yoshida

Operation Utah: The Die is Cast by Hurbert Yoshida

The die is cast - there are no other options. Operation Utah was one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam war and set the tone for many subsequent engagements. Operation Utah was the first battle of the Vietnam war between the U.S. Marine Corps and the regular forces of the North Vietnamese Army. It pitted a generation of tough young men who grew up after World War II against an experienced army who had been fighting unconventional wars for as long as they lived. This book contains the firsthand accounts of the men who participated in Operation Utah and is a tribute to the 99 Marines and Corpsmen who made the ultimate sacrifice. Reviews of Operation Utah It is Dedicated to The Marines and Navy Corpsmen Who Fought in Operation Utah.Hubert Yoshida's book has fulfilled that dedication. The accounts by those still living regarding Operation Utah will live on as more than just the military history of a battle. Historically this operation was the first major battle between the U.S....

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