Military Book Reviews

We’ll All Die As Marines by Colonel Jim Bathurst

We’ll All Die As Marines by Colonel Jim Bathurst

For seventeen-year-old high school dropout Jim Bathurst, the Marine Corps reputation for making men out of boys was something he desperately needed when he enlisted in March of 1958. What began as a four-year hitch lasted nearly thirty-six years and included an interesting assortment of duty stations and assignments as both enlisted and officer. We'll All Die As Marines narrates a story about a young, free-spirited kid from Dundalk, Maryland, and how the Corps captured his body, mind, and spirit. Slowly, but persistently, the Corps transformed him into someone whose first love would forever be the United States Marine Corps.  We'll All Die As Marines is not only his leadership, service, and training but also regales many tales of his fellow Marines that will have the reader laughing, cheering, and at times crying. In this memoir, Bathurst reveals that for him-a former DI who was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V", Purple Heart, and a combat commission to...

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Hidden Army by Lawrence Rock

Hidden Army by Lawrence Rock

According to Pentagon records, nearly four million personnel served in and around Vietnam; most in Vietnam, others on flight bases in Thailand and ships in adjacent South China Sea. Of those 3,917,400 million men and women ordered to the Southeast Asia Theater, ninety percent were not sent there to fight. They were there to support the ten percent who were. Support troops included pilots, sailors, medics, nurses, cooks, clerks, drivers, engineers, communications people, military police, and many more. With no front lines or secure roads, many of these support troops found themselves in combat situations. In fact, a Veteran's Administration study found that over seventy percent of support troops were directly or indirectly shot at during their tours, and over half saw someone killed or wounded. This was particularly true during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Hidden Army is the Second of Two Books by Lawrence Rock Hidden Army is the second of two books containing the oral...

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Vietnam Beyond by Gerald E. Augustine

Vietnam Beyond by Gerald E. Augustine

When Gerald Augustine shipped off to Vietnam in 1966, he brought a 1949 Kodak Brownie Hawkeye box camera at the behest of his mother. It turned out to be a great decision.  About the Author of Vietnam Beyond He used the camera to document his experiences during and after the Vietnam War, and some of these images are included in his new book, "Vietnam Beyond." A Middletown, Connecticut native, Augustine graduated from high school in 1963 and went on to study at Central Connecticut State University and the University of Connecticut. He was soon drafted into the Army in 1965, serving with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. On August 4, 1966, he was sent to Vietnam.  Augustine spent much of his time in Southeast Asia in combat. As a machine gunner, this meant ambush patrols, search-and-destroy missions, and helicopter assaults. He got a brief reprieve from the jungles only because an eye injury forced him to go to Saigon for surgery. There, he realized how far removed the...

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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 diaries,...

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Blue Boy by Buck Cole

Blue Boy by Buck Cole

Every veteran has a unique and interesting story to tell. Many of us are plucked out of our lives in the United States and sent to join our chosen branch of service, where we often travel around the country and around the world, engaging our senses in a series of new experiences. Air Force veteran Buck Cole is one of us.  Cole is not only a veteran; he's a retired history teacher, which gives him a unique perspective on what to teach us about the lessons he's learned and - more importantly - how to go about teaching us.  As a veteran who served during the Cold War, he will tell you he was never stationed in a war zone and his only taste of combat came in the form of a bar fight with a sailor in the Philippines. One day, Cole watched a retired Army colonel give a Veterans Day speech to a group of middle schoolers. The colonel spoke in grand "platitudes" about moral conduct, sacrifice, and honor.  A great concept for a Veterans Day speech, Cole thought, but not something that would...

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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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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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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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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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SOG. The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam by John L. Plaster

SOG. The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam by John L. Plaster

John Plaster (The Ultimate Sniper), a retired Army major, served three tours with the secretive "Studies and Observation Group," aka SOG, during the Vietnam War-a background he has put to good use in this authoritative and insightful look at the now-defunct commando unit. Plaster does much to illuminate both this frequently misunderstood group and its extraordinary participants. Made up entirely of volunteers, SOG tackled a wide range of vital and dangerous duties, including missions deep into enemy territory and rescues of downed American pilots. Special Forces veterans, in particular, will delight in the descriptions of America's old tribal allies, the Montagnards of Vietnam. Specialists in poison-arrow warfare, the primitive "'Yards," Plaster explains, were both fierce fighters and a constant source of wonderment to the Americans. Plaster reveals the core of the relationship between 'Yards and Yanks in a telling anecdote in which two Green Berets win over a village chieftain with...

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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 tale...

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I Never Left Anybody Up There by Keith Krejci

I Never Left Anybody Up There by Keith Krejci

During the height of the Vietnam War, Da Nang Air Base was one of the busiest airports in the world, if not the busiest. As if the stress of being an air traffic controller wasn't enough, U.S. Air Force Air Traffic Controllers in Vietnam had to deal with the same levels of traffic found in places like Chicago O'Hare International Airport while under fire. Amazingly, these no doubt stressed-out airmen were able to do their jobs flawlessly, often living in wartime conditions in the middle of enemy attacks and other challenging scenarios. Keith Krejci was one of those airmen, and he chronicles the stories of his year in South Vietnam in "I Never Left Anybody Up There: A Year In The Life Of An Air Traffic Controller in Viet Nam." About the Author of I Never Left Anybody Up There Krejci would spend more than 30 years in the Air Force, retiring with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) in 1997. In this time, he worked as a controller at ten control towers and eight radar facilities in...

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