Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Recommendations

Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines' Finest Hour in Vietnam by Gregg Jones
This terrific account of Khe Sanh was given to me by a Marine friend who was with Combined Action Company Oscar and went through the siege--he's mentioned in the book twice by name. (I was TAD to CAC-O with a Radio Relay Team in August and early September, 67, but rotated home, so fortunately missed the siege.) I would take exception to the title; "Last Stand" implies a Little Bighorn outcome. Perhaps, "Victorious Stand..." would have been more accurate. But I loved everything else about the book, not least because I know or know of many of the participants. It covers the big picture, but also fine accounts of combat at the individual, squad and platoon level. It will bring home the war in a personal and realistic way. It is not to be missed by military history buffs and those who want a better understanding of combat in Vietnam.

Seven Days in January: With the 6th SS-Mountain Division in Operation NORDWIND by Wolf T. Zoepf 
This is an exceptionally well- balanced history by an author who was an Officer in the SS Division involved. I picked it up because, despite me extensive reading on WWII, it covered a battle I knew nothing about. It will be of most interest to military historians and military professionals, plus anyone who participated in the battle. These groups will appreciative the numerous detailed maps of the American and German positions and attacks. The lessons of the book are already well known, but it strongly reinforces them. If you have complete control of the air, and/or far better logistics and supplies and/or far batter command and control communications--as the Americans did--you win. But it also demonstrates that professionalism, fighting spirit and morale can create some parity with power.

Jackdaws by Ken Follett 

This novel about a team of female SOE agents in France right before D-Day is a realistic thriller that will keep you breathing hard with every page. Follett is a mater story teller. The book is not for the squeamish; it has graphic scenes of what happened when resistance fighters fell into the hands of the Nazis. Though a work of fiction, it is a fine tribute to the 50 female agents SOE dropped into France during the war, 14 of who lost their lives, over a 25% casualty rate. It is exciting, entertaining and inspiring. What more can you ask from a novel?

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