Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

John Renehan’s Mysteries of Afghanistan

renehanvalley900 copy

John Renehan’s debut novel The Valley starts off as a detective novel about an Army lieutenant conducting a 15–6 investigation at a remote outpost in Afghanistan. Renehan’s Lt. Black reads a Michael Connelly novel at the FOB before he heads up to the Valley and one of the soldiers shares a last named with Connelly’s iconic LAPD detective Harry Bosch.

But The Valley isn’t really a straight police procedural. Renehan subverts the genre to tell a story about the disconnection of life on the front lines, how the reality on the ground differs from the stated goals promoted by military brass and the Army’s internal politics.  +Continue Reading

Hard-Won Wisdom from a Navy SEAL

image2 copy 2

Eric Greitens served as a Navy SEAL. He’s considering a run to become Governor of Missouri. He’s also a motivational speaker with a new book called Resilience.

In 2o12, Greitens was contacted by Zach Walker, a brother SEAL who’d been struggling with PTSD and a drinking problem after leaving the Navy. Eric and Zach started communicating every day and Eric has compiled his letters to Zach in this new book. +Continue Reading

Army Sniper Nick Irving is ‘The Reaper’

nickirving copy

January 2015: America’s discovered snipers. It doesn’t matter that shooters have been providing cover and taking out the enemy for as long as we’ve had an American military, now the general public has discovered their role.

Army Ranger Sgt. Nicholas Irving has some great timing. He’s just published The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers (written in collaboration with Gary Brozek), he’s written a thoughtful book that’s not just a retread of American Sniper and he handles himself well on TV: check out his appearance on Monday night’s edition of The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore. +Continue Reading

Military ‘Top Dog’ Lucca Gets Her Own Book

Top Dog 02

We’ve got a slideshow of images from Maria Goodavage’s new book Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca. The book tells the story of Lucca, a German Shepherd mix trained to sniff out IEDS, and her legendary exploits alongside handlers Marine Staff Sergeant Chris Willingham and Corporal Juan Rodriguez . Top Dog is a sequel to Goodavage’s 2012 bestseller Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes.

The book follows Lucca’s sometimes-difficult training and her maturation into one of the most accomplished bomb-sniffing dogs in the U.S. military, with hundreds of missions outside the wire with Willingham during two combat deployments in Iraq.  +Continue Reading

A Special Forces Classic Gets an Update

Survival-Skills-with-Lofty-Wiseman copy

Since its first publication in 1986, the SAS Survival Handbook has sold millions of copies and become a worldwide classic. Sort of a special forces version of a Boy Scout manual, the book was written by John “Lofty” Wiseman, who served in the British Special Air Service as Chief Survival Instructor at the SAS Training School in Hereford, England.  Brits well tell you that the SAS boys are tougher than Navy SEALS. While that may not be exactly true, it’s safe to agree that the SAS are one of the most elite fighting units in the world. +Continue Reading

‘Warbirds’ Collects Adam Tooby’s Outstanding Aviation Art

"Warbirds: The Aviation Art of Adam Tooby"

Adam Tooby specializes in aviation art and runs a gallery called Finest Hour Art. His work has graced the boxes of UK model manufacturer Airfix  and now Titan Books has published an edition of his work in Warbirds: The Aviation Art of Adam Tooby.

The images in the 188-page  book range from World War I all the way up to the our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and, not surprisingly, have a British tilt since Adam’s from the UK. The book features sections that give a step-by-step look at Adam’s work process as well as some historical context for each image. We’ve got a really impressive slide show below. Blow up the images to full size if you’ve got a big monitor. +Continue Reading

Telling the Untold Story of the Navy SEALs


Navy SEALs: Their Untold Story is the first comprehensive history of the special operations force and it’s the companion book to a new PBS documentary by the same name. Written by former SEAL Dick Couch in collaboration with William Doyle (who also co-authored Chris Kyle’s American Gun), the book goes all the way back to the World War II underwater demolition teams and continues through the formal creation of the SEAL program in 1962 all the way up to the present day.

It’s most definitely an overview: the authors cover dozens of events and incidents that could all support their own detailed histories, but they do a great job of putting the entire story into context. Some of the stories are familiar but Couch and Doyle do a great job of putting them into historical context.

Dick Couch talked to us last week about the book, his own SEAL career and had some strong words about what was then the upcoming revelation by a former SEAL who says he’s the guy who shot Osama bin Laden. (That guy’s name is now out there and there are a more than a few of his SEAL brothers who aren’t happy about it.) +Continue Reading

How a Veteran MC Inspired a Zombie Novel

veteransallegiance1 copy

Author Dana Fredsti recently published Plague World, the latest in her series of Ashley Parker zombie novels. She’s previously written for us about her experiences watching war movies with her dad and the research that went into getting her zombies right.

This time she talks about how she created characters inspired by the Veterans’ Allegiance VMC Motorcycle club and how she got their permission to use them in her novel. +Continue Reading

Marine Vet Michael Pitre Wrote a Novel & It’s Great


Fives and Twenty-Fives tells the story a USMC Road Repair Platoon in Al Anbar Province in Iraq. Pitre explores his characters’ post-war lives and flashes back to their time in Iraq. The author was a creative writing major at LSU before he joined the Marines after 9/11 and it’s obvious he took a lot of notes during his service. The scenes set in Iraq are full of telling details and he does a great job of capturing the camaraderie of his characters and both the tedium and critical danger in the job they perform. +Continue Reading

A New Sherlock Holmes Adventure from World War I


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective character is mostly in the public domain now, meaning that anyone should be free to create new tales starring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Novelist George Mann has just published The Spirit Box, a new adventure set in 1915 during the Great War. We’ve got an exclusive excerpt. +Continue Reading