And so the time comes for all college students to take a much needed breather and soak in what little time they have before they head back under water for the spring semester. I’m in your boat, and I feel your pain. I don’t know about you, but for an English major like me (and just a reader in general), breaks between grueling semesters provide the only time for leisurely reading all year. As a result of this, my reading list builds up indefinitely, and in reality there’s no possible way that I will read all the books on my list within the next ten years or so. BUT, I will continue to chip away at this list with an unrelenting tenacity unprecedented for someone as lazy as me. In the meantime, here’s a list of some of my favorite books in the military genre (because this is a veteran-themed column), in case you’re interested. These would also make great Holiday gifts for the military obsessed and/or history buff individuals in your life!
I’ll start with my favorite military biography of all time, Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team Six Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm. This is the unbelievable, heart-wrenching true story of a man who overcame drug addiction and physical injury to join the
ranks of the most elite warriors of our military.
Lone Survivor is the incredible true story of Marcus Luttrell as told by himself. In 2005, he and three other members of his SEAL team embarked on a routine reconnaissance mission in the Hindu Kush mountains that turned into an impossible fight for their lives. As the name suggests, Marcus was the only one who survived. This riveting story has been made into a major motion picture starring Mark Wahlberg (the book is much better though).
Tough As They Come is the remarkable autobiography of Travis Mills, a soldier who suffered injuries that led to the amputation of all four of his limbs. This is a story of hope and determination in the face of overwhelming odds, a true encouragement for anyone from any walk of life.
These next three are for those who want to brush up on their history.
A Higher Call by Adam Makos is a true tale of unlikely heroics and kindness in the midst of World War Two. Adam’s grandfather, a member of a bomber crew in Europe, survives the war by the grace of an enemy fighter pilot. Adam tracks down the pilot that saved his grandfather’s life to put together the stories of these two men who crossed paths one fateful day all those years ago in the skies over the Europe.
Flyboys by James Bradley details the little-known history of the US air battle during World War Two, predominantly in the Pacific theater. Not only did I learn about the US’ begrudged decision to invest in air power and the rise of the Japanese empire, but also of the bravery of pilots over the Pacific, and of the horrible things witnessed by both the Japanese civilians and downed American pilots.
Although the tales of the warriors of Sparta are intertwined with myth, they are also founded in historical truth. Gates of Fire is considered to be one of the most complete recounts of the story of the Spartans in their impossible defense against the invading forces of Xerxes at Thermopylae. Steven Pressfield is a pure talent who combines recorded history with creative license to send readers on a ride they aren’t likely to forget. It is an epic of love and war, giving a rare but accurate look at the heart and mindset of a warrior.