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The War Room Book Recommendation Thread

Discussion in 'History & Military Discussion' started by Cetashwayo, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. Mr. Happy

    Mr. Happy For the Greater Good

    The Devil's Horsemen

    About the Mongol conquest beginning from the destruction of Khawarzim till the end of the Mongol Empire.

    The Monks of War

    Details the founding to the dissolution of the Monastic Orders.
     
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  2. Sushi

    Sushi Melancholy

    As part of a recent binge on tank books, I read read Marine Corps Tank Battles in Vietnam. It's about M48A3 tankers in the Vietnam war. To be honest it felt a little scattered because he swaps from person to person with no transition at all, but I still found it tremendously interesting. There's quite a bit of detail on what tankers did, but not so much about their machines.

    To my wallet's terror I realized there's also books by the author on the WW2 Pacific Theater and Korean War. I think the latest will also be quite interesting if the level of detail is as good as Vietnam.
     
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  3. Soverihn

    Soverihn Kanye 2020

    One book that I've found to be very interesting which I've not seen here is Peter Heather's The Fall of the Roman Empire. As the title says, its about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in the West during the chaotic 5th Century. Highly fascinating book that explains the changes in Roman military policy that strained the budget to the breaking point, the start of rivals that caused said shift in military pattern (the Sassanid Empire) and the migratory peoples, who after centuries of development adapted to Roman tactics and took the empire down.
     
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  4. Aioria

    Aioria Lewd Santa

    Does anyone minds if I request recomendations of a particular type to myself here?
     
  5. I can't imagine why that wouldn't be allowed.
     
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  6. Aioria

    Aioria Lewd Santa

    So... I am currently looking for a book, any book, that goes into details about the strategies, tactics and such used by various strategists, conquerors, and what else throughout history.

    Does anyone knows a book like that?
     
  7. DB_Explorer

    DB_Explorer Purveyor of alternate realities.

    Strategy: A History

    may not work exactly for what you want.... but all I can think of.
     
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  8. Sushi

    Sushi Melancholy

    I've started reading Belton Cooper's 'Death Traps.' I was introduced to it mostly on account of numerous factual errors, like describing German tanks as using Christie suspension, bad comparisons (comparing the M26 to the M4 Sherman with the Wright radial instead of the Ford GAA and using it to claim superior power-to-weight) and sometimes incorrect model designations (PaK 41, was it?)

    It's muddled with a lot of judgement on certain aspects of the theater that could be left up to the reader, but a lot of his basic arguments are valid and also used by Zaloga and other historians regarding the U.S. ordnance department. However, there is a lot of heart in it and the anecdotes are especially interesting. It is a pretty good memoir, and certainly one of the only ones about the ordnance department and the logistical considerations of tanks.
     
  9. DissMech

    DissMech is a she. Get it right.

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I'm also looking for books on a couple of topics. Does anyone have any recommendations for books on the Iran-Iraq War and the Turkey-PKK conflict?
     
  10. H. Weapons Guy

    H. Weapons Guy

    Location:
    TF2
    The Eastern Front by Norman Stone.

    Though a bit dated by now (it was published in the 70's), Norman Stone's work is nonetheless arguably the pivotal Western study of the Russian Army in the First World War. This is a difficult topic in Western historiography, and even in Russian historiography because it wasn't often discussed in the Soviet era. In the West, historians are hampered by the language barrier but also by narratives predominantly influenced by the accounts of White Russian exiles from the Soviet Union and non-Russian accounts of the war.

    It's a solid, thorough treatment of Russia's performance in the war that thoroughly demolishes the myth of Russian backwardness in WWI while also not holding back on criticizing the genuine flaws of planning, strategy, and bureaucratic infighting that existed during the war.
     
  11. Redfield

    Redfield Vanguard

    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Somewhat off-base from the other recommendations that have been posted, but I'll throw it out there regardless.

    The Reaper

    This is the autobiography of Nicholas Irving, who served with the 3rd Ranger Battalion from ~2005 to 2010. He earned his nickname while acting as a sniper team leader during a 2009 deployment to Afghanistan, during which time he scored 33 confirmed kills in roughly three and a half months.

    In addition to very detailed (and, on occasion, harrowing) accounts of the missions he went on during said deployment, he also throws in stories about his selection & training, previous deployments, and even the events early in his life that inspired him to enlist in the first place. Lots of basic technical information regarding equipment and TTPs is included (well within OPSEC) without the book becoming "dense". I never finished American Sniper, but from what I've heard, people that have read both enjoy Irving's writing style considerably more than Kyle's.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
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  12. Jean Danjou

    Jean Danjou The Invictus Suspended

    Location:
    Brazil
    For WW2 afficionados, specially those who enjoy Politics I highly recommend Stalin: The Court of the Red Czar by Simon Sebag (a huge, but extremely insightful, look and insight on the politics of the USSR during the Stalinist period, and what moved the Soviet waar machine) and the Third Reich Series by Richard J. Evans. Another tome that focus heavily on politics, but Evans studies all parts of the german society to explain the Rise of the Third Reich. The first book, dealing with the insane rollercoaster and bloody that was the Weimar Republic is my favourite.

    To those that like Antiguity, I recommend Persian Fire and Rubicon, both by tom Holland, a great writer, whose writing style is excellent. He speculates a lot though, but that's one of my favorite points, since he enters the mind of many historical characters in a way you cannot hope but to at least understand them. Persian Fire deals with the rise of the Achemenid Empire, Spartan Society and the (incredibly messy, violent and quite fun to read) birth of the Athenian Democracy, and the Persian-Greek wars.

    Juliet Baker's books, already put forward here are amazing. I endorse them and more. Be warned though, you will be and Henryette after it.

    Finally, for those who are fans of the economics, politics or just want to know what's best in history books about the XX century look no further then the Age of Extremes, by Eric Hobsbawn. Not nearly as hard to reas as his other famed work (The trilogy of the Long XIX Century, excellent books, but only for advanced History afficcionados, they are very dry), don't be off put by Hobsbawn marxism, I am a mostly an economic liberal and very social liberal, and thought it hardly showed apart the base traditions of the Marxist school thought and he doesn't pull any punches against anyone.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
  13. The March of Folly, by Barbara Tuchman.
    Gives a behind-the-scenes look at the decision makers who made some of the great blunders in history. It shows how a mixture of idiocy, groupthink and inertia lead to disasters several times in history (the protestant schism, the actions leading to the American revolution, America's involvement in the Vietnam War)
    It's a bit dated, and a bit too moralising sometimes. But it's a good read overall. It how smart people can sometimes make make really dumb decisions.
     
  14. Killer Elite by Michael Smith - A very interesting look into one of America's most secret units. You'll catch a news story about one ISA operation or another every now and then, but to my knowledge this is the only book that compiles every open source reference into one volume. Hard to find, not available as an e-book, but a very worthwhile purchase.

    Task Force Black by Mark Urban - This book is about SAS operations in Iraq. It makes no effort to pull punches or massage egos, but at the same time there is no political slant. I'm not going to spoil anything, but it reveals as myth a lot of notions Brits seem to hold dear about their SOF. Also, if you buy this as an e-book from Amazon, spring for the Audible, it's well worth it.

    Shaping the World from the Shadows and Beyond Neptune Spear by Chris Martin - Light reading about Delta and ST6 respectively. You won't really find anything truly new in either of these books, but they do a decent job of laying everything out in a clear and easy to understand manner.

    The Command by Mark Ambinder and DB Grady - This goes into JSOC as a whole and is a fairly decent primer book to prepare a reader to go into the histories of various black SOF units.

    This next one is a RECOMMENDATION TO AVOID.

    Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill - There's nothing in here that's new information to those that are even a bit informed about SOF, but what is new is that it's an obviously biased political hackjob pretending to be an honest critique of JSOC. If you really want commentary to go with honest news and information about special operations forces, take the money you would've spent on this and buy a subscription to SOFREP.
     
  15. Not sure if I should necropost by replying to an 8 month old post... but I'll do it anyway. On the Devil's Horsemen: I would strongly recommend against using it as anything other than as a general guide to the events. It's full of hyperbole, exaggerations, and authorial bias, with the author not even being consistent with himself. While the details on the Mongol war machine might be good (I'm not 100% sure; maybe some Mongol experts can poke some holes in them), just about everything it says about the European armies of the time is BS.

    Oh, and it only covers the first round of Mongol invasions. It doesn't really cover the invasions until the destruction of Khwarzim to the fracturing of the empire, as it barely mentions the Mongol invasions a few decades later, including Bulgaria (1280), Hungary (1285), and Poland (1287). Probably because those invasions failed. Which is a shame, as finding out more about those invasions is the reason I picked it up in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  16. Jean Danjou

    Jean Danjou The Invictus Suspended

    Location:
    Brazil
    I want good books about Henry V, preferably one I can find online. I have books from literally all English Kings from Henry II to Henry IV but I can't find a damn book about Henry V, and after rereading Juliet Barker's Agincourt I need to know if he really was that badass.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  17. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    Just a note that Sufficientvelocity has no rules about necroposting- it does have rules on piling on someone who is bumping an old thread, but that's it. Especially not necroposting on a thread which is stickied anyways.
     
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  18. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    Hmm.

    @Space Oddity you know any good books on Henry V? I know that you know quite a bit more about this era than I.
     
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  19. Jonathan Sumption's latest volume in his Hundred Years War series, Cursed Kings, covers him.

    But it's not out yet. Later this year.
     
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  20. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    So what would is considered the best book on the military Mongol machine? Apparently Devils Horsemen is insufficient as @Cetashwayo mentions. I only have so little money to spend and I don't want books that don't do a good job.
     
  21. Jean Danjou

    Jean Danjou The Invictus Suspended

    Location:
    Brazil
    Good books about Italy during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, that focus on the economic and military matters, specially the economic part. It's been frustrating to find books about, all of them focus either on the arts or the Pope.

    I want to read about Venice, it's trade and it's Arsenal. I want to know what made them Rich. Any recommendations?
     
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  22. I've read only a few tiny excerpts of this, but I suspect Southern Italy in the Late Middle Ages might be just what you're looking for.

    Unfortunately, while I've looked around a few places, it's not exactly cheap. I've yet to find a copy that I could personally justify purchasing.
     
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  23. Jean Danjou

    Jean Danjou The Invictus Suspended

    Location:
    Brazil
    It's description seems to be what I was looking for, but $ 200? For a 600 page book? Impossible. That's half my rent.
     
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  24. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts regarding Robert M. Citino's The Death of the Wehrmacht: The Campaigns of 1942 and The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich. I saw the former in a library, and while they both sound somewhat interesting based on the little that I read, I thought I might check if anyone here had any opinions.
     
  25. I'm looking for a general source about western European militaries from the 12th to 14th/15th centuries. Organization, doctrine, equipment of the average soldier, size of armies relative to the population, etc. Most of what I know now comes from bits and pieces from other sources. Is there anything like that? It doesn't have to be that detailed.
     
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