22 May 2014

Reading Army Books

Move over Oprah. Our unit has formed a book club.

"Soldiers? Reading?" you ask.

Yes, we are public affairs Soldiers, and must maintain the highest illusions of awareness.

Long before I joined the Army, I was a history student at Cal State Hayward. From that time until about a year ago, I'd have said that the best book I ever read was The Kings Depart: The Tragedy of Germany-- Versailles and the German Revolution. Ultimatley a war book, and almost totally unknown as popular history, it tells the story of politics and intrigue of Germany at the end of the First World War.

This is not a post about that book, but The Kings Depart tells beautifully how easily foreign politcal leaders can misread a political problem for a military one.

I think that risk is predominates in the case of US policy toward Afghanistan. Understanding both the military and political landscapes of OEF is a baseline requirement, especially for Soldiers operating here.

To me, there are three essential books for anyone interested in the Afghan war: Little America, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran; The Outpost, by Jake Tapper; and WAR, by Sebastian Junger. I had been reading the last one while we waited at Fort Dix, and found myself bothering my teammates incessantly about this passage and that. (I've heard of others, which are now on my list).

I eventually wore them down; we agreed to start the club, if for no other reason than their hope that I'd stop pestering them.

We chose WAR as our debut read.

And in the spirit of book clubbiness we actually meet and gossip about stuff, other than the book.

But we do talk about the book, which is a great book, by the way.

Stay tuned for our very special, exclusive-- three reviews from three different Soldiers on WAR.

And your welcome to join the club. 

No comments:

Post a Comment