Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

‘Ruins of War’: Finding a Killer in Post-War Munich

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John A. Connell’s debut novel Ruins of War follows US Army detective Mason Collins, a former Chicago policeman, as he investigates a string of grisly murders in Munich during the winter of 1945. Collins ticks all the proper hardboiled detective boxes: he had run-ins with corrupt cops back home, he’s not very interested in altering his investigation to fit the Army’s PR needs and he’s willing to risk the lives of his colleagues and loved ones to nail the killer. +Continue Reading

Remembering the ‘Rescue at Los Baños’

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This year marks the 70th anniversary of the 11th Airborne Division’s daring raid that freed more than 2000 prisoners of war from a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines. Bestselling author Bruce Henderson chronicles the mission in Rescue at Los Baños, a new book that reads like an adventure thriller and sheds new light on one of the most compelling stories of World War II.

General Douglas MacArthur personally authorized the rescue as Americans realized that desperate Japanese soldiers were becoming increasingly sadistic towards their civilian captives as they realized that Japan was losing the war. Henderson paints vivid portraits of the men and women involved in the story: prisoners, captors and rescuers. Check out the full cast of characters at Henderson’s website.

Henderson has written some excellent titles before: Hero Found is the best book about Vietnam-era U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler. He also cowrote the #1 New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell and Time Traveler, the inspirational memoir from noted physicist (and friend of UTR) Dr. Ronald L. Mallett. Rescue at Los Baños should be one of Henderson’s most successful books yet. It’s a compelling story well-told, generously illustrated and well-sourced. Anyone who enjoyed Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken or Mitchell Zuckoff’s Lost in Shangri-La should check this one out.



John Renehan’s Mysteries of Afghanistan

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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

  • March 19, 2015
  • Books
  • Comments Off on Hard-Won Wisdom from a Navy SEAL

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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’

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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