Interested in military history? BCL offers plenty to read
Every year, from May through July, we have several observances that honor America and pay tribute to our men and women who are serving and have served in our armed forces, and to especially remember those who died in service to our country.
There are so many excellent books on events surrounding July 4, 1776. Pick your topic. For histories on the causes and outcomes of the American Revolution, try The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America by Walter R. Borneman and The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America by Colin G. Calloway. The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty by William Hogeland focuses on a threat to the young nation in 1791. For personalities and political events, read anything by David McCullough (1776 and John Adams) and Joseph Ellis (Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, His Excellency: George Washington and Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence). Other interesting reads include American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence by Pauline Maier, Common Sense by Thomas Paine, and The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay.
The American Revolution military campaign is fascinating. Since the conflict occurred over the course of more than eight years, there were many battles. Consider Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick, American Spring: Lexington, Concord, and the Road to Revolution by Walter R. Borneman, George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger, Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict That Turned the Tide of the American Revolution by Walter Edgar, and The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas by John Buchanan.
There are other important topics, of course, that are essential to a study of the American Revolution: slavery and women. Consider Simon Schama's Rough Crossings: The Slaves, the British, and the American Revolution and Alfred Blumrosen's Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies and Sparked the American Revolution. Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts and Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence by Carol Berkin are also worthwhile.
If you're interested in World War II, Rick Atkinson traces the American military's odyssey from a mostly untested, green group of recruits to a battle-hardened, experienced fighting force in The Liberation Trilogy, which includes An Army at Dawn: The War in Africa, 1942-1943, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 and The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945.
Atkinson also wrote an excellent chronicle of West Point graduates coming of age during the Vietnam War, titled The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966. His In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat features the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq during early 2003.
June 6 marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which some historians have written about. D-Day: The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor focuses on the armies of the Allied nations and the local French civilians. The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach by John McManus recounts the battle-hardened men of the 1st Infantry Division. In D-Day: June 6, 1944, Stephen Ambrose gives us a portrait of the rank-and-file enlisted soldiers who fought. Leading up to the invasion, a vast Allied spy network was used to confuse and deceive the Nazis about the main invasion spot on the French coast. Read about this in Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre.
To learn more about more modern wars, try these two books about the war in Afghanistan. Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton describes the mission of a special forces unit that secretly entered Afghanistan soon after Sept. 11, 2001, and battled the Taliban on horseback in rugged and mountainous terrain. Marcus Luttrell, the author of Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, was a Navy SEAL who was deployed to Afghanistan with his team for a special operation. One member of the team was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor (see SEAL of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN by Gary Williams for more on that). What transpired could be one of the most amazing stories of survival that you will read.
No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen is a riveting account of the raid that captured and killed the terrorist.
You can view our holdings catalog to check for availability of these books and other materials.
Bratton DeLoach is a reference librarian at Bluffton Branch Library.