Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

‘Ashley’s War’ Chronicles Women on the Special Ops Battlefield


By Mark Lee Greenblatt

People who like compelling, well-crafted tales of America’s soldiers in action will like Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s recently released book tells the story behind the first team of female soldiers to join American special operators on the battlefield. The key to this book, however, is not simply that they are strong females, but that they are strong soldiers.

That message appears in the very first pages of the book, where she follows two soldiers on their first mission. The “newbies,” as she calls them, are preparing to go on a dangerous operation with an aggressive, seasoned Ranger team to capture an insurgent leader deep in Afghanistan. Lemmon identifies the newbies as “Second Lieutenant White” and “Staff Sergeant Mason,” sharing only at the very end of the introduction that White and Mason are women. +Continue Reading

11 Things I Learned in the Military That Helped Me Write Military Sci-Fi

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By Bennett R. Coles

Royal Canadian Navy veteran Bennett Coles has launched a new career as an author since he left the service in 2005 (full details on his Navy career here). “Virtues of War” is the first in a trilogy of military sci-fi novels and he wrote an article for us explaining how his service experiences make him a better science fiction writer.

1. How to make the military actually act like a military

Over the years, reading and watching military sci-fi, I’ve cringed at the misuse of ranks, inappropriate decisions, or the captain always leading the away team. I’ve really to bring authenticity to my military sci-fi writing by basing my future military on my own 15 years of experience in uniform. +Continue Reading

11 Awesome Things Drill Sergeants Say


Dan Caddy, a sergeant first class with the Vermont Army National Guard, has just published Awesome Sh*t My Drill Sergeant Said: Wit and Wisdom from America’s Finest, a book based on his wildly popular (832K & counting!) Facebook page of the same name. If you’re one of those folks who pretends that military life is something like Sunday School, stay away: both the book and the web page are hilariously profane. Here are eleven highlights from the book, specially selected to protect some of our more delicate readers. +Continue Reading

‘Men of War’: What It’s Really Like to Be a Soldier

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Historian Alexander Rose aim’s to give a grunt’s perspective on some of the bloodiest battles in American history in Men of War: The American Soldier in Combat at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima. Rose takes material from memoirs and interviews with the men who survived those battles and puts those experiences into the broader contexts of their respective battles and wars to create a portrait that’s decidedly different from most war histories. +Continue Reading

The Birth of the Texas Rangers

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On Memorial Day, the History Channel is launching Texas Rising, a new dramatic series about the Texas Rangers and the rise of the Lone Star republic. Starring Bill Paxton and directed by Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields), the ten-part series will offer insight into the Texas psyche for modern audiences, especially those viewers who are puzzled by contemporary protests about a potential “invasion” of Texas by the United States military.

In connection with the series, noted historian Stephen L. Moore has just published Texas Rising: The Epic True Story of the Lone Star Republic and the Rise of the Texas Rangers, 1836–1846. Moore, who’s a descendent of Ranger Captain William T. Sadler, has condensed a lot of his previous research into a readable and colorful version of the Ranger story. +Continue Reading

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

  • May 6, 2015
  • Books
  • Comments Off on ‘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

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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