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 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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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