ENGLEWOOD — July 4th, Independence Day, a tradition that goes back to the American Revolution (1775-1783). Our Republic started with a war so I thought it might be a good idea to research some of the military books that have been published recently.
As Sun Tzu, the Chinese military leader wrote in the 4th century, “The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to win. Hence, it is a subject of inquiry which on no account can be neglected.” The following are some books written by authors about some of the wars we have fought that perhaps should not be neglected.
Civil War: ‘The Civil War Diary of Rev. James Sheeran,’ is a unique narrative of the war and is deemed a national treasure. Rev. Sheeran was a chaplain to the 14th Louisiana Regiment of the Confederacy and kept a journal of his exploits from 1862 to 1865.
WWI: ‘The Second Line of Defense: American Women of World War I,’ by Lynn Dumenil. This book is a comprehensive study of American women and the surprising impact on them and their impact on the war.
WWII: ‘Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway,’ by Jack “Dusty” Kleiss. This is a first-hand account of one daring American pilot who may have changed the course of history when he struck and sank two Japanese carriers at the pivotal Battle of Midway.
Korean War: ‘Frozen Hours: A Novel of the Korean War,’ by Jeff Shaara. This master of historical fiction, in his latest novel, tells the dramatic story of one of the deadliest campaigns in the annals of combat — The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as Frozen Chosin.
Vietnam: ‘The War That Never Ends: New Perspectives of the Vietnam War,’ by David L. Anderson. After the final withdrawal of troops from Southeast Asia the legacy of this war continues to inspire historical inquiry. The book gives equal emphasis on Vietnamese and American perspectives on the grueling conflict.
Iraq & Afghanistan: ‘The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan,’ by J. Kael Weston. Weston spent seven years on the ground in both countries working for the U.S. State Department in some of the most dangerous frontline locations. He asked himself: When will these wars end? How will they be remembered and memorialized? What lessons will be learned from them?
Here are some other new books about those who stood tall at the front. ‘The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family’s Quest to Bring Him Home,’ by Sally Mott Freeman. ‘The Forgotten Soldier,’ by Guy Sajer about a WWII German soldier on the Eastern front. ‘The Ranger Way: Living the Code On and Off the Battlefield,’ by Kris “Tanto” Paronto, a survivor of the 2012 Benghazi siege. ‘Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor,’ by Clinton Romesha, a Medal of Honor recipient who drove the Taliban back during a fourteen hour firefight.
There are so many excellent books in this genre that I decided to give you just a taste of what they are about. If you wish for more information, you can find it by going to the author’s websites. In the Ken Burns PBS documentary on WWII, Eugene Sledge, a marine, wrote in his memoirs, “I’m writing to fulfill an obligation to my comrades who suffered so much for our country. None came out unscathed. Many gave their lives, many their health and some their sanity. All who survived will long remember the horror they would rather forget. But they suffered and did their duty so a sheltered homeland can enjoy the peace that was purchased at such a high price. We owe those who fought a profound debt of gratitude.”
Remember folks, freedom is not free. Thoughtful reading, everyone!
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