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.