Check Out the Latest Additions to MOAA’s Military Professional Reading List

Check Out the Latest Additions to MOAA’s Military Professional Reading List
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By Col. William D. Bushnell, USMC (Ret)


The latest additions to MOAA’s Military Professional Reading List include stories of courage from those in and out of uniform, a look at the history of jungle warfare and of combat vessels, and a close-up view of some of World War II’s most meaningful moments.


You can order the books through the links in the titles below; MOAA is an Amazon Associate and earns money from qualifying purchases, with the revenue supporting The MOAA Foundation. Remember, vintage book prices vary widely depending on edition and condition – shop smart.


The War: Stories of Life and Death From World War II

the-war-books-internal.pngEdited by Clint Willis. Thunder's Mouth Press, 1999. ISBN 978-1-56025-231-3.


These 18 stories about World War II were written by men and women who offer "good, honest writing about war," focusing on "courage, conscience, and loss." They are personal stories by veterans, combatants, and non-combatants, like William Manchester, James Jones, Richard Wheeler, and E.B. Sledge, as well as less well-known writers like Janet Flanner, Lewis Carlson, and Toyofumi Ogura.


From Omaha Beach to Suribachi, to an American woman escaping the Nazis, and a German soldier being captured, these stories are excellent examples of powerful wartime literature.


Canopy of War: Jungle Warfare From the Earliest Days of Forest Fighting to the Battlefields of Vietnam

canopy-of-war-books-internal.pngBy Bryan Perrett. Patrick Stephens Limited, 1990. ISBN 978-185260-015-2.


Perrett (b. 1934) is a prolific military historian, focusing here on warfare in close terrain – forests and jungles – where simple tactics and small unit leadership are the keys to victory.


From the French and Indian War in North America, campaigns in Africa, Asia, colonial wars, both world wars, counterinsurgencies, and combat in the fetid jungles and tangled forests of Vietnam, Perrett vividly describes what works and what doesn't, citing vivid historical examples of willpower, firepower, and tactical innovations. The jungle specifically is "for those unfamiliar with it, an environment pregnant with menace."


The Curtain Rises: One of America’s Favorite Reporters Tells His Story of Russia, North Africa, Sicily, and the Battle of Salerno

curtain-rises-book-internal.pngBy Quentin Reynolds. Blue Ribbon Books, 1944. No ISBN.


Quentin Reynolds (1902-1965), journalist and war correspondent, covered World War II in Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. He includes stories of teenage partisans who enjoy killing Germans, the utter destruction of a Russian city, a study of the wartime "Arab-Jewish" question in Palestine, and seeing the U.S. Army in action for the first time in the Mediterranean.


He also opines on why the Royal Navy is right to allow alcohol on its ships, and why the U.S. Navy is wrong to prohibit it (no surprise, coming from a journalist). This is outstanding writing – colorful, perceptive, direct, and powerful.


Death of a Division: The True Story of the 16,000 Green Troops of the 106th Infantry Division Destroyed in the Battle of the Bulge

death-of-a-division-books-internal.pngBy Charles Whiting. Stein and Day, 1980. No ISBN.


Military historian Whiting (1926-2007) tells the tragic story of how and why the U.S. 106th Infantry Division was so shamefully routed in the first four days (December 16-19, 1944) of the Battle of the Bulge.  The surprise German attack through the Ardennes caught the "green" untested American soldiers unprepared, resulting in "the most serious reverse suffered by American arms during the operations of 1944-45 in the European theater."


Whiting's narrative is gripping, telling of the fear, uncontrolled panic, leadership paralysis, cowardice, and occasional heroism as an American infantry division is smashed into rout and surrender.


Man of War: A History of the Combat Vessel

man-of-war-book-internal.pngBy Donald Macintyre and Basil W. Bathe. McGraw-Hill, 1969. No ISBN.


This beautifully illustrated story of the development of combat vessels is a masterpiece of naval history, from 4000 B.C. through oar, sail, steam, wood, iron, and steel, to modern warships (Greek triremes to aircraft carriers). The authors cover design, construction, inventions, propulsion, armaments, tactical and strategic considerations.


Ably supported with several hundred illustrations, photos, and maps (in both color and black and white), this excellent history smartly explains why naval sea power even today is so critical to the preservation of global trade, national security, and international peace.


Col. William D. Bushnell, USMC (Ret), is a regular contributor to and Military Officer magazine.


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