Gary's Military Books Page
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This page contains lists of books which I have read and can recommend.
 You can sometimes find older editions of these books (including those which are out of print) at local discount and used-book stores.

American Civil War - Non-Fiction

Co. Aytch : A Confederate's Memoir of the Civil War  by Sam R. Watkins

A Confederate soldier of the First Tennessee Regiment, Company H, writes about his experiences during the "Lost Cause".  Watkins tells of Shiloh, Corinth, Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, the Hundred Days Battles, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Franklin, and Nashville.   See the war from a private's point-of-view.

American Civil War - Fiction

The Guns of the South  by Harry Turtledove

An alternate history of the Civil War.  What would have happened if Confederate troops had been armed with AK-47s?   Read this book and find out!  The author is an historian who knows how to mix fact and fiction to create a top-notch action story.

World War I - Non-Fiction

The Guns of August  by Barbara W. Tuchman

This book is required reading for anyone interested in the Great War.  Covers the opening phase of World War I in great detail.  Here are a couple of quotes from the book:

 Sir John Fisher, British First Sea Lord: "The whole principle of naval fighting is to be free to go anywhere with every damned thing the Navy possesses."

General Helmuth von Moltke, German Chief of Staff: "Don't bother me with economics - I am busy conducting a war."

World War II - Non-Fiction

A Blood-Dimmed Tide : The Battle of the Bulge by the Men Who Fought It  by Gerald Astor

A chronicle of the Battle of the Bulge, with personal accounts from American and German troops.
Aces Against Japan : The American Aces Speak  by Eric Hammel

Forty American aces recall their air battles in the Pacific and East Asia. The author has included biographical and historical information before and after each chapter to help the reader understand how each pilot's story

2d Lieutenant Frank Holmes at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941:  "I thought that it was ridiculous that everybody on the ground was firing at me while I never saw a Japanese airplane in the sky."

2d Lieutenant Jim Morehead at Java, February 23, 1942:  "I had perhaps 40 hours in a P-40, had never fired the guns, had never fired on an aerial target, had never seen an enemy plane while in the air - and I was the leader."
Baa Baa Black Sheep  by Gregory Boyington

If you liked the Robert Conrad TV series, check out this very candid biography.  Warning:  If you're not that familiar with Boyington's story, the second part of the book may come as a bit of a shock.
Panzer Battles  by Maj Gen. F. W. von Mellenthin

WWII tank battles from the perspective of a German General Staff officer.  Follow von Mellenthin from the Polish Campaign of 1939, to the desert battles of Rommel's Deutsche Afrika Korps, to the desperate struggle on the Russian front, to his capture by American forces after the collapse of the "Ruhr pocket" in 1945.
Take Her Deep!  by Admiral I. J. Galantin, U.S.N. (Ret.)

Join the captain and crew of the fleet submarine U.S.S. Halibut (SS 232) from August, 1943 to December, 1944.  Read about:  The numerous defects of the torpedos that U.S. submarines were forced to use for almost two two years.  What happens when a torpedo fails to eject and is running hot in the tube?  The number of bottles of "medicinal" liquor issued to each skipper before each patrol!
Torpedo Junction : U-Boat War Off America's East Coast 1942  by Homer H. Hickam, Jr.

A detailed account of the battle against German U-boats along the US east coast and the Gulf of Mexico.  Before reading this book I had no idea that German submarines managed to sink 259 (yes, 259) ships in American waters!
Victory at Sea : World War II in the Pacific  by James F. Dunnigan and Albert A. Nofi

Contains a wealth of information about the war in the Pacific theater, but does not have any photos or illustrations (except for a few simple maps).  The campaign section provides a good overview of the major battles of the war.  The section on ships gives a brief pre-war history of each type (carrier, battleship, destroyer, etc.) and information on the major ship classes (from the American Alaska class battleships to Japanese Yugumo destroyers to British Undine class submarines).  Take a look at this book if you are interested in an introduction to the leaders, policy, politics, strategy, or equipment of World War II in the Pacific.
War as I Knew It  by George S. Patton, Jr.

General Patton's battle memoirs.  Patton's eye for detail and blunt style of writing make for a very readable (and sometimes humerous) book.  I originally read this book just to see how accurate the George C. Scott movie was (the movie is surprisingly accurate considering the scope of events it covers).

Vietnam - Non-Fiction

Marine Sniper:  93 Confirmed Kills  by Charles Henderson

If this book were fiction, you would say it was too far-fetched to be believable.  The story of Marine Corps sniper Sergeant Carlos Hathcock.  This book shows the value of a single skilled and dedicated soldier with a rifle (even on the modern battlefield).
Tank Sergeant  by Ralph Zumbro

A well-written and very readable account of the author's tour of duty with A company, 1st Battalion, 69th Armor.  Vietnam may have been the first Air Cavalry war for the US, but this book shows that there were still plenty of jobs for the tankers - bunker busting, convoy duty, mobile strongpoints, and sometimes even coastal artillery!

Post-Vietnam - Non-Fiction

How to Make War  by James F. Dunnigan

This book is one of my favorite modern reference guides.  The author excels in comparing and contrasting Western and Russian equipment, unit organizations, tactics, and doctrine.  Take a look at this book if you are interested in a plain, understandable guide to modern weapons, tactics, and armed forces.

Out of Print Books - Non-Fiction

The End Of The Imperial Japanese Navy  by Masanori Ito, with Roger Pineau

A Japanese military commentator's account of the Japanese Navy in WWII.  From Pearl Harbor to the final kaiten suicide submarine attacks.  Three chapters are devoted to The Battle of Leyte Gulf (including a short interview with Admiral Takeo Kurita).  Highly recommended.
Modern Land Combat  by Miller and Foss
Modern Air Combat  by Gunston and Spick
Modern Naval Combat  by Miller and Miller

All of these books are good general references.  Each book starts with an overview of weapons systems, electronics, power plants, and general cababilities.  The next section provides data (performance, history, background) for the most common vehicles/planes/ships currently in service.  The final section covers tactics and includes examples from past wars.  Contains many color photos and diagrams.
American Combat Planes  by Ray Wagner

My 1982 edition (560+ pages, many B/W photos) doesn't have as much detail as it should on more modern planes (a little more than a page each for F-14, 15, 16, and 18), but earlier aircraft are covered in much greater detail.  The book features rare prototype aircraft as well as the most common combat aircraft and their major variants.  This is a very comprehensive book which combat aviation enthusiasts will probably appreciate more than the casual reader (no color photos, lots of data).

Out of Print Books - Fiction

Stand into Danger,  To Glory We Steer,  Sloop of War, and many others,  by Alexander Kent

British naval action and intrigue in the late 1700's. Follow the career of Richard Bolitho from lowly third lieutenant to admiral. These novels are very well-written and contain interesting, believable characters. If you enjoyed C. S. Forester's Hornblower novels, try any of the Bolitho novels.
The Destroyers,  Torpedo Run,  To Risks Unknown, and many others,  by Douglas Reeman

The author served in the British Navy in WWII (in motor torpedo or gun boats, if I remember correctly). Most novels are from the British perspective, but some show the American (Path of the Storm) or German (The Last Raider) point of view.  If you liked Alistair MacLean's H.M.S Ulysses, then try any of Reeman's novels.