Kaplan, who writes for Slate, asked me the other day to
name a favorite book from each war I write about in my new
book, which came out this week. So I wrote it up, and sent it
to Fresh Air, Terry Gross's great
interview show on NPR. You can listen to her interview of me, which ran
(Meanwhile, here is a review
of my book by one of the best younger military historians in the
country, Brian Linn. And here is a piece in Huffington Post by the intrepid Andrea
you can read my booklist just by keeping on reading:
World War II
This is almost impossible. Where to start? There are so
many good histories, so many powerful memoirs, starting with Winston
Churchill's and Field Marshal Slim's. Also, Rick Atkinson's trilogy on the
Army's War in Europe-the last volume will come out next year-is a must read.
But when I think of my single favorite, I think it has to be Eugene Sledge's With
the Old Breed in Peleliu and Okinawa.
I'm tempted to pick Martin Russ' The Last Parallel,
a memoir of being a Marine near the end of the war. But the centerpiece of the
war really for me is the Chosin Reservoir campaign. For that, I think I'd have
to pick Roy Appleman's East of Chosin, a painful history of the
forgotten fight of an Army regiment that was wiped out on the east side of the
The Vietnam War
An odd war-thousands of volumes written, but no one great
book. Right now I am in the middle of Karl Marlantes' novel Matterhorn,
which is terrific. But I won't know if it is my favorite until I finish it.
Until then, I think I will have to chose James MacDonough's Platoon Leader.
A close second
is H.R. McMaster's Dereliction of Duty, a tough read but an important
The 1991 Gulf War
For this one, I think I'd have to go with The
Generals' War, by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor. It covered the war
but also provided some prescient doubts about the quality of U.S. military
The war in Iraq
Putting aside my own works on this war (Fiasco and
The Gamble), I think my favorite so far is The Long Walk, a
memoir by a bomb disposal technical, Brian Castner.
The war in Afghanistan
The overall book hasn't been written yet. But I think the
ones that capture the feel of how this war was conducted are the memoirs about
how Osama bin Laden escaped at Tora Bora. The place to begin is probably Gary