In the United States, November 11 is Veterans Day. On this day we take time to honor and remember the sacrifice and service of the members of America’s armed forces. Here at the library we have many books available as physical copies, ebook, and audiobook that depict the lives of soldiers, sailors, and Marines across American history.
The Last Hill: The Epic Story of a Ranger Battalion and the Battle That Defined WWII by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin.
Bob Drury and Tom Clavin’s The Last Hill is the incredible untold story of one Ranger battalion’s heroism and courage in World War II.
Bravo Company: An Afghanistan Deployment and the Its Aftermath by Ben Kesling
In Bravo Company, journalist and combat veteran Ben Kesling tells the story of the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of the men of one unit, part of a combat-hardened parachute infantry regiment in the 82nd Airborne Division. A decade ago, the soldiers of Bravo Company deployed to Afghanistan for a tour in Kandahar’s notorious Arghandab Valley. By the time they made it home, three soldiers had been killed in action, a dozen more had lost limbs, and an astonishing half of the company had Purple Hearts.
Written with an insider’s eye and ear, and drawing on extensive interviews and original reporting, Bravo Company follows the men from their initial enlistment and training, through their deployment and a major shift in their mission, and then on to what has happened in the decade since; as they returned to combat in other units or moved on with their lives as civilians, or struggled to. This is a powerful, insightful, and memorable account of a war that didn’t end for these soldiers just because Bravo Company came home.
The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
This is the story of how America’s first women soldiers helped win World War I, earned the vote, and fought the U.S. Army. In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France. They were masters of the latest technology: the telephone switchboard. General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, demanded female “wire experts” when he discovered that inexperienced doughboys were unable to keep him connected with troops under fire. Without communications for even an hour, the army would collapse.
While suffragettes picketed the White House and President Woodrow Wilson struggled to persuade a segregationist Congress to give women of all races the vote, these competent and courageous young women swore the Army oath. Elizabeth Cobbs reveals the challenges they faced in a war zone where male soldiers welcomed, resented, wooed, mocked, saluted, and ultimately celebrated them. They received a baptism by fire when German troops pounded Paris with heavy artillery. Some followed “Black Jack” Pershing to battlefields where they served through shelling and bombardment. Grace Banker, their 25-year-old leader, won the Distinguished Service Medal.
The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War by Doug Stanton
A powerful work of literary military history from the New York Times bestselling author of In Harm’s Way and Horse Soldiers, the harrowing, redemptive, and utterly unforgettable account of an American army reconnaissance platoon’s fight for survival during the Vietnam War–whose searing experiences reverberate today among the millions of American families touched by this war.
We March at Midnight: A War Memoir by Ray McPadden
What would the war do without me?
We March at Midnight is award-winning author Ray McPadden’s chronicle of his experience as a highly decorated Ranger Officer leading some of the most dangerous missions during the height of the Iraq and Afghan wars. In 2005, Ray joined the army in search of what he calls “the moment”—a chance to prove to himself and his brothers in arms that he is a true leader. His job is to establish the first outpost in the Korengal, Afghanistan’s deadliest valley, and his decisions and mistakes will have a permanent impact on the men he commands. During the fifteen-month tour, his unit receives numerous decorations for valor while suffering nearly 50 percent casualties, ultimately accomplishing their mission in a land considered unwinnable.
Taking Fire: The True Story of a Decorated Chopper Pilot by Ron Alexander and Charles W. Sasser
Ron Alexander is 5 foot, 3 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds, making him the shortest American pilot to fly in the Vietnam War. He is also one of the most highly decorated chopper pilots to come out of that war. In this action-driven account, readers will be taken into the heart of the war as they never have before, following Colonel Alexander as he learns the ropes then goes above and beyond the call of duty. With the call sign of “MINI-MAN”, Alexander became a living legend, piloting Huey slicks and gunships into red hot LZs, inserting Blue Teams into infantry battle, rescuing fellow soldiers from areas bursting with machine gun fire, and buzzing tree tops in a deadly “shark and bait” game in which one pilot served as bait to lure enemy fire while a second waited with machine guns and rockets at the ready.From one hot zone to the next, readers will take off in the cockpit with Alexander as bullets smash though the airframe plexiglass, chin bubbles burst and instrument panels erupt in smoke and sparks. This is a barn-burner of a memoir that spares no details and moves with rapid-fire pace.
Devil Dogs: King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines: From Guadalcanal to the Shores of Japan by Saul David
The “Devil Dogs” of King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines–part of the legendary 1st Marine Division–were among the first American soldiers to take the offensive in World World II–and also the last.
They landed on the beaches of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in August 1942–the first US ground offensive of the war–and were present when Okinawa, Japan’s most southerly prefecture, finally fell to American troops after a bitter struggle in June 1945. In between they fought in the “Green Hell” of Cape Gloucester on the island of New Britain, and across the coral wasteland of Peleliu in the Palau Islands, a campaign described by one King Company veteran as “thirty days of the meanest, around-the-clock slaughter that desperate men can inflict on each other.”
Remarkably, the company contained an unusually high number of talented writers, whose first-hand accounts and memoirs provide the color, emotion, and context for this extraordinary story. In Devil Dogs, award-winning historian Saul David sets the searing experience of the Devil Dogs into the broader context of the brutal war in the Pacific and does for the U.S. Marines what Band of Brothers did for the 101st Airborne.
Valiant Women: The Extraordinary Service Women Who Helped Win World War II by Lena Andrews
Valiant Women is the story of the 350,000 American women who served in uniform during World War II. These incredible women served in every service branch, in every combat theater, and in nearly two-thirds of the available military occupations at the time.
They were pilots, codebreakers, ordnance experts, gunnery instructors, metalsmiths, chemists, translators, parachute riggers, truck drivers, radarmen, pigeon trainers, and much more. They were directly involved in some of the most important moments of the war, from the D-Day landings to the peace negotiations in Paris. These women–who hailed from every race, creed, and walk of life–died for their country and received the nation’s highest honors. Their work, both individually and in total, was at the heart of the Allied strategy that won World War II.
Yet, until now, their stories have been relegated to the dusty shelves of military archives or a passing mention in the local paper. Often the women themselves kept their stories private, even from their own families.
Now, military analyst Lena Andrews corrects the record with the definitive and comprehensive historical account of American servicewomen during World War II, based on new archival research, firsthand interviews with surviving veterans, and a deep professional understanding of military history and strategy.