The Comanche Code Talkers of World War IIWilliam C. Meadows
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The Comanche Code Talkers of World War IIWilliam C. Meadows
The true story of the US Army’s Comanche Code Talkers, from their recruitment and training to active duty in World War II and postwar life. Among the allied troops that came ashore in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, were thirteen Comanches in the 4th Infantry Division, 4th Signal Company. Under German fire they laid communications lines and began sending messages in a form never before heard in Europe?coded Comanche. For the rest of World War II, the Comanche Code Talkers played a vital role in transmitting orders and messages in a code that was never broken by the Germans. This book tells the full story of the Comanche Code Talkers for the first time. Drawing on interviews with all surviving members of the unit, their original training officer, and fellow soldiers, as well as military records and news accounts, William C. Meadows follows the group from their recruitment and training to their active duty in World War II and on through their postwar lives up to the present. He also provides the first comparison of Native American code talking programs, comparing the Comanche Code Talkers with their better-known Navajo counterparts in the Pacific and with other Native Americans who used their languages, coded or not, for secret communication. Meadows sets this history in a larger discussion of the development of Native American code talking in World Wars I and II, identifying two distinct forms of Native American code talking, examining the attitudes of the American military toward Native American code talkers, and assessing the complex cultural factors that led Comanche and other Native Americans to serve their country in this way. “Of all the books on Native American service in the U.S. armed forces, this is the best. . . . Readers will find the story of the Comanche Code Talkers compelling, humorous, thought-provoking, and inspiring.” —Tom Holm, author of Strong Hearts, Wounded Souls: Native American Veterans of the Vietnam War
The Fifth ActElliot Ackerman
A powerful and revelatory eyewitness account of the American collapse in Afghanistan, its desperate endgame, and the war’s echoing legacy Elliot Ackerman left the American military ten years ago, but his time in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Marines and later as a CIA paramilitary officer marked him indelibly. When the Taliban began to close in on Kabul in August 2021 and the Afghan regime began its death spiral, he found himself pulled back into the conflict. Afghan nationals who had worked closely with the American military and intelligence communities for years now faced brutal reprisal and sought frantically to flee the country with their families. The official US government evacuation effort was a bureaucratic failure that led to a humanitarian catastrophe. With former colleagues and friends protecting the airport in Kabul, Ackerman joined an impromptu effort by a group of journalists and other veterans to arrange flights and negotiate with both Taliban and American forces to secure the safe evacuation of hundreds. These were desperate measures taken during a desperate end to America's longest war. For Ackerman, it also became a chance to reconcile his past with his present. The Fifth Act is an astonishing human document that brings the weight of twenty years of war to bear on a single week, the week the war ended. Using the dramatic rescue efforts in Kabul as his lattice, Ackerman weaves a personal history of the war's long progression, beginning with the initial invasion in the months after 9/11. It is a play in five acts, the fifth act being the story’s tragic denouement, a prelude to Afghanistan's dark future. Any reader who wants to understand what went wrong with the war’s trajectory will find a trenchant account here. But The Fifth Act also brings readers into close contact with a remarkable group of characters, American and Afghan, who fought the war with courage and dedication, and at great personal cost. Ackerman's story is a first draft of history that feels like a timeless classic.
Code GirlsLiza Mundy
The award-winning New York Times bestseller about the American women who secretly served as codebreakers during World War II--a "prodigiously researched and engrossing" ( New York Times ) book that "shines a light on a hidden chapter of American history" ( Denver Post). Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.
Killing the KillersBill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard
Instant #1 New York Times bestseller! In the eleventh book in the multimillion-selling Killing series, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard reveal the startling, dramatic story of the global war against terrorists. In Killing The Killers , #1 bestselling authors Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard take readers deep inside the global war on terror, which began more than twenty years ago on September 11, 2001. As the World Trade Center buildings collapsed, the Pentagon burned, and a small group of passengers fought desperately to stop a third plane from completing its deadly flight plan, America went on war footing. Killing The Killers narrates America's intense global war against extremists who planned and executed not only the 9/11 attacks, but hundreds of others in America and around the world, and who eventually destroyed entire nations in their relentless quest for power. Killing The Killers moves from Afghanistan to Iraq, Iran to Yemen, Syria, and Libya, and elsewhere, as the United States fought Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, as well as individually targeting the most notorious leaders of these groups. With fresh detail and deeply-sourced information, O'Reilly and Dugard create an unstoppable account of the most important war of our era. Killing The Killers is the most thrilling and suspenseful book in the #1 bestselling series of popular history books (over 18 million sold) in the world.
Lone SurvivorMarcus Luttrell & Patrick Robinson
Follow along a Navy SEAL's firsthand account of American heroism during a secret military operation in Afghanistan in this true story of survival and difficult choices. On a clear night in late June 2005, four U.S. Navy SEALs left their base in northern Afghanistan for the mountainous Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious al Qaeda leader known to be ensconced in a Taliban stronghold surrounded by a small but heavily armed force. Less then twenty-four hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs remained alive. This is the story of fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, and the desperate battle in the mountains that led, ultimately, to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history. But it is also, more than anything, the story of his teammates, who fought ferociously beside him until he was the last one left-blasted unconscious by a rocket grenade, blown over a cliff, but still armed and still breathing. Over the next four days, badly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell fought off six al Qaeda assassins who were sent to finish him, then crawled for seven miles through the mountains before he was taken in by a Pashtun tribe, who risked everything to protect him from the encircling Taliban killers. A six-foot-five-inch Texan, Leading Petty Officer Luttrell takes us, blow by blow, through the brutal training of America's warrior elite and the relentless rites of passage required by the Navy SEALs. He transports us to a monstrous battle fought in the desolate peaks of Afghanistan, where the beleaguered American team plummeted headlong a thousand feet down a mountain as they fought back through flying shale and rocks. In this rich, moving chronicle of courage, honor, and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers one of the most powerful narratives ever written about modern warfare -- and a tribute to his teammates, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
The Bomber MafiaMalcolm Gladwell
A “truly compelling” ( Good Morning America ) New York Times bestseller that explores how technology and best intentions collide in the heat of war—from the creator and host of the podcast Revisionist History. In The Bomber Mafia , Malcolm Gladwell weaves together the stories of a Dutch genius and his homemade computer, a band of brothers in central Alabama, a British psychopath, and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard to examine one of the greatest moral challenges in modern American history. Most military thinkers in the years leading up to World War II saw the airplane as an afterthought. But a small band of idealistic strategists, the “Bomber Mafia,” asked: What if precision bombing could cripple the enemy and make war far less lethal? In contrast, the bombing of Tokyo on the deadliest night of the war was the brainchild of General Curtis LeMay, whose brutal pragmatism and scorched-earth tactics in Japan cost thousands of civilian lives, but may have spared even more by averting a planned US invasion. In The Bomber Mafia, Gladwell asks, “Was it worth it?” Things might have gone differently had LeMay’s predecessor, General Haywood Hansell, remained in charge. Hansell believed in precision bombing, but when he and Curtis LeMay squared off for a leadership handover in the jungles of Guam, LeMay emerged victorious, leading to the darkest night of World War II. The Bomber Mafia is a riveting tale of persistence, innovation, and the incalculable wages of war.
The Longest WinterAlex Kershaw
The epic story of the vastly outnumbered platoon that stopped Germany's leading assault in the Ardennes forest and prevented Hitler's most fearsome tanks from overtaking American positions On a cold morning in December, 1944, deep in the Ardennes forest, a platoon of eighteen men under the command of twenty-year-old lieutenant Lyle Bouck were huddled in their foxholes trying desperately to keep warm. Suddenly, the early morning silence was broken by the roar of a huge artillery bombardment and the dreadful sound of approaching tanks. Hitler had launched his bold and risky offensive against the Allies-his "last gamble"-and the small American platoon was facing the main thrust of the entire German assault. Vastly outnumbered, they repulsed three German assaults in a fierce day-long battle, killing over five hundred German soldiers and defending a strategically vital hill. Only when Bouck's men had run out of ammunition did they surrender to the enemy. As POWs, Bouck's platoon began an ordeal far worse than combat-survive in captivity under trigger-happy German guards, Allied bombing raids, and a daily ration of only thin soup. In German POW camps, hundreds of captured Americans were either killed or died of disease, and most lost all hope. But the men of Bouck's platoon survived-miraculously, all of them. Once again in vivid, dramatic prose, Alex Kershaw brings to life the story of some of America's little-known heroes-the story of America's most decorated small unit, an epic story of courage and survival in World War II, and one of the most inspiring stories in American history.
The Monuments MenRobert M. Edsel & Bret Witter
At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.
The Splendid and the VileErik Larson
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz—an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis “One of [Erik Larson’s] best books yet . . . perfectly timed for the moment.”— Time • “A bravura performance by one of America’s greatest storytellers.”—NPR NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • Vogue • NPR • The Washington Post • Chicago Tribune • The Globe & Mail • Fortune • Bloomberg • New York Post • The New York Public Library • Kirkus Reviews • LibraryReads • PopMatters On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile , Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.
Against All OddsAlex Kershaw
**The instant New York Times bestseller** The untold story of four of the most decorated soldiers of World War II—all Medal of Honor recipients—from the beaches of French Morocco to Hitler’s own mountaintop fortress, by the national bestselling author of The First Wave “Pitch-perfect.”— The Wall Street Journal • “Riveting.”— World War II magazine • “Alex Kershaw is the master of putting the reader in the heat of the action.”—Martin Dugard As the Allies raced to defeat Hitler, four men, all in the same unit, earned medal after medal for battlefield heroism. Maurice “Footsie” Britt, a former professional football player, became the very first American to receive every award for valor in a single war. Michael Daly was a West Point dropout who risked his neck over and over to keep his men alive. Keith Ware would one day become the first and only draftee in history to attain the rank of general before serving in Vietnam. In WWII, Ware owed his life to the finest soldier he ever commanded, a baby-faced Texan named Audie Murphy. In the campaign to liberate Europe, each would gain the ultimate accolade, the Congressional Medal of Honor. Tapping into personal interviews and a wealth of primary source material, Alex Kershaw has delivered his most gripping account yet of American courage, spanning more than six hundred days of increasingly merciless combat, from the deserts of North Africa to the dark heart of Nazi Germany. Once the guns fell silent, these four exceptional warriors would discover just how heavy the Medal of Honor could be—and how great the expectations associated with it. Having survived against all odds, who among them would finally find peace?
The OperatorRobert O'Neill
This instant New York Times bestseller—“a jaw-dropping, fast-paced account” ( New York Post ) recounts SEAL Team Operator Robert O’Neill’s incredible four-hundred-mission career, including the attempts to rescue “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell and abducted-by-Somali-pirates Captain Richard Phillips, and which culminated in the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist—Osama bin Laden. In The Operator , Robert O’Neill describes his idyllic childhood in Butte, Montana; his impulsive decision to join the SEALs; the arduous evaluation and training process; and the even tougher gauntlet he had to run to join the SEALs’ most elite unit. After officially becoming a SEAL, O’Neill would spend more than a decade in the most intense counterterror effort in US history. For extended periods, not a night passed without him and his small team recording multiple enemy kills—and though he was lucky enough to survive, several of the SEALs he’d trained with and fought beside never made it home. “Impossible to put down… The Operator is unique, surprising, a kind of counternarrative, and certainly the other half of the story of one of the world’s most famous military operations…In the larger sense, this book is about…how to be human while in the very same moment dealing with death, destruction, combat” (Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author). O’Neill describes the nonstop action of his deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, evokes the black humor of years-long combat, brings to vivid life the lethal efficiency of the military’s most selective units, and reveals details of the most celebrated terrorist takedown in history. This is “a riveting, unvarnished, and wholly unforgettable portrait of America’s most storied commandos at war” (Joby Warrick).
A Few Bad Men: The True Story of U.S. Marines Ambushed in Afghanistan and Betrayed in AmericaMajor Fred Galvin USMC (Ret.) & Sal Manna
Ambushed in Afghanistan and betrayed by their own leaders—these elite Marines fought for their lives again, back home. A cross between A Few Good Men and American Sniper, this is the true story of an elite Marine special operations unit bombed by an IED and shot at during an Afghanistan ambush. The Marine Commandos were falsely accused of gunning down innocent Afghan civilians following the ambush. The unit’s leader, Maj. Fred Galvin, was summarily relieved of duty and his unit was booted from the combat zone. They were condemned by everyone, from the Afghan president to American generals. When Fox Company returned to America, Galvin and his captain were the targets of the first Court of Inquiry in the Marines in fifty years. “Fred Galvin is the real deal. His dramatic retelling of his experience as commander of Fox Company reads like a thriller, full of twists and turns, filled with unassuming heroes and deceitful villains.” — Rob Lorenz, Producer/Director, American Sniper, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Mystic River, The Marksman “Fred Galvin has written a real ‘page turner’ that demonstrates how politics permeates The Pentagon and posts abroad…I highly recommend this book.” — J.D. Hayworth, U.S. House of Representatives (Arizona), TV/Radio Host “This book is a must-read for every American who wants to know why, after twenty long years in Afghanistan, we did not win.” — Jessie Jane Duff, USMC, Analyst, CNN and FOX “A Few Bad Men is a must-read story of valor, betrayal, and keeping the Marines’ honor clean.” — Jed Babbin, USAF Judge Advocate, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Journalist, National Review, Washington Post “An incredible account and history of the fighting spirit of the ‘Marine Raiders’ under fire and the relentless fourteen-year campaign by their leader to clear their names.” — Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, U.S. Army (Ret.), Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Command
A Dawn Like ThunderRobert J. Mrazek
One of the great untold stories of World War II finally comes to light in this thrilling account of Torpedo Squadron Eight and their heroic efforts in helping an outmatched U.S. fleet win critical victories at Midway and Guadalcanal. Thirty-five American men -- many flying outmoded aircraft -- changed the course of the war, going on to become the war's most decorated naval air squadron, while suffering the heaviest losses in U.S. naval aviation history. Mrazek paints moving portraits of the men in the squadron, and exposes a shocking cover-up that cost many lives. Filled with thrilling scenes of battle, betrayal, and sacrifice, A Dawn Like Thunder is destined to become a classic in the literature of World War II.
The Art of WarTzu Sun & Ralph D. Sawyer
The definitive translation of Sun-tzu's timeless classic of military strategy, Art of War Sun-tzu's Art of War is almost certainly the most famous study of strategy ever written. This treatise has been credited with influencing some of the most legendary military operations. Beyond the battlefield, people far and wide have long turned to Art of War for advice on how to succeed in various competitive situations, and companies around the world now make this book required reading for their executives. In this translation, Chinese warfare scholar Ralph D. Sawyer places Art of War in its proper historical context, outlining several battles that Sun-tzu either conducted or that may have influenced him, and offers an edition that is uniquely accurate and accessible.
Zero FootprintRalph Pezzullo & Simon Chase
This national bestseller is a dramatic insider account of the world of private military contracting. Armored cars, burner phones, top-notch weaponry and top-secret missions -- this is the life of today's private military contractor. Like author Simon Chase, many PMCs were once the world's top military operatives, and since retiring from outfits like US Navy SEAL TEAM Six and the UK's Special Boat Service, they have devoted their lives to executing sensitive and hazardous missions overseas. Working at the request of U.S. and British government entities as well as for private clients, he takes on jobs that require "zero footprint," with no trace of their actions left behind. Chase delivers firsthand accounts of tracking Bin Laden in Afghanistan and being one of the first responders after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. We see his teams defuse terrorist bombs, guard dignitaries, and protect convoys traveling through perilous territory -- and then there are the really big jobs: top-secret "zero footprint" missions that include searching for High Value Targets and setting up arms shipping networks. The missions in Zero Footprint will shock readers, but so will the personal dangers. Chase and the men he works with operate without government backup or air rescue. If they die serving their country, they remain anonymous. There are no military honors or benefits. Contractors like Simon Chase are the unsung heroes in the war against terrorism, a strong, but largely invisible force -- until now.
The Making of the Atomic BombRichard Rhodes
The definitive history of nuclear weapons and the Manhattan Project. From the turn-of-the-century discovery of nuclear energy to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan, Richard Rhodes’s Pulitzer Prize–winning book details the science, the people, and the sociopolitical realities that led to the development of the atomic bomb. This sweeping account begins in the 19th century, with the discovery of nuclear fission, and continues to World War Two and the Americans’ race to beat Hitler’s Nazis. That competition launched the Manhattan Project and the nearly overnight construction of a vast military-industrial complex that culminated in the fateful dropping of the first bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Reading like a character-driven suspense novel, the book introduces the players in this saga of physics, politics, and human psychology—from FDR and Einstein to the visionary scientists who pioneered quantum theory and the application of thermonuclear fission, including Planck, Szilard, Bohr, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, Meitner, von Neumann, and Lawrence. From nuclear power’s earliest foreshadowing in the work of H.G. Wells to the bright glare of Trinity at Alamogordo and the arms race of the Cold War, this dread invention forever changed the course of human history, and The Making of The Atomic Bom b provides a panoramic backdrop for that story. Richard Rhodes’s ability to craft compelling biographical portraits is matched only by his rigorous scholarship. Told in rich human, political, and scientific detail that any reader can follow, The Making of the Atomic Bomb is a thought-provoking and masterful work.
The Fall of Berlin 1945Antony Beevor
"A tale drenched in drama and blood, heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post The Red Army had much to avenge when it finally reached the frontiers of the Third Reich in January 1945. Frenzied by their terrible experiences with Wehrmacht and SS brutality, they wreaked havoc—tanks crushing refugee columns, mass rape, pillage, and unimaginable destruction. Hundreds of thousands of women and children froze to death or were massacred; more than seven million fled westward from the fury of the Red Army. It was the most terrifying example of fire and sword ever known. Antony Beevor, renowned author of D-Day and The Battle of Arnhem , has reconstructed the experiences of those millions caught up in the nightmare of the Third Reich's final collapse. The Fall of Berlin is a terrible story of pride, stupidity, fanaticism, revenge, and savagery, yet it is also one of astonishing endurance, self-sacrifice, and survival against all odds.
Fields of BattleBrian Curtis
A riveting and emotional tale of the boys who played in the 1942 Rose Bowl and then served on the WWII battlefields—a story of football, wartime, and boys becoming men. In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the 1942 Rose Bowl was moved from Pasadena to Durham, North Carolina, out of fear of Japanese attacks on the West Coast. It remains the only Rose Bowl game to ever be played outside of Pasadena. Duke University, led by legendary coach Wallace Wade Sr., faced off against underdog Oregon State College, with both teams preparing for a grueling fight on the football field while their thoughts wandered to the battlefields they would soon be on. As the players and coaches prepared for the game, America was preparing for war. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met to discuss the Allied strategy in Europe; a discussion that would change the lives of the boys and men on the field in Durham. Finally, on New Year’s Day 1942, under dark gray skies and occasional rain, the two teams clashed on the gridiron in front of a crowd of 56,000, playing one of the most unforgettable games in history. Shortly afterward, many of the players and coaches entered the military and would quickly become brothers on the battlefield. Scattered around the globe, the lives of Rose Bowl participants would intersect in surprising ways, as they served in Iwo Jima and Normandy, Guadalcanal and the Battle of the Bulge. Four players from that Rose Bowl game would lose their lives, while many more were severely wounded. In one powerful encounter on the battlefield, OSC’s Frank Parker saved the life of Duke’s Charles Haynes as he lay dying on a hill in Italy. And one OSC player, Jack Yoshihara, a Japanese-American, never had the chance to play in the game or serve his country, as he was sent to an internment camp in Idaho. In this riveting an emotional tale, Brian Curtis sheds light on a little-known slice of American history and captures in gripping detail an intimate account of the teamwork, grit, and determination that took place on both the football fields and the battlefields of World War II. It was a game created by infamy and a war fought by ordinary boys who did the extraordinary.
The Pentagon's BrainAnnie Jacobsen
Discover the definitive history of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, in this Pulitzer Prize finalist from the author of the New York Times bestseller Area 51 . No one has ever written the history of the Defense Department's most secret, most powerful, and most controversial military science R&D agency. In the first-ever history about the organization, New York Times bestselling author Annie Jacobsen draws on inside sources, exclusive interviews, private documents, and declassified memos to paint a picture of DARPA, or "the Pentagon's brain," from its Cold War inception in 1958 to the present. This is the book on DARPA -- a compelling narrative about this clandestine intersection of science and the American military and the often frightening results.
Surprise, Kill, VanishAnnie Jacobsen
From Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen, the untold USA Today bestselling story of the CIA's secret paramilitary units. Surprise . . . your target. Kill . . . your enemy. Vanish . . . without a trace. When diplomacy fails, and war is unwise, the president calls on the CIA's Special Activities Division, a highly-classified branch of the CIA and the most effective, black operations force in the world. Originally known as the president's guerrilla warfare corps, SAD conducts risky and ruthless operations that have evolved over time to defend America from its enemies. Almost every American president since World War II has asked the CIA to conduct sabotage, subversion and, yes, assassination. With unprecedented access to forty-two men and women who proudly and secretly worked on CIA covert operations from the dawn of the Cold War to the present day, along with declassified documents and deep historical research, Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen unveils -- like never before -- a complex world of individuals working in treacherous environments populated with killers, connivers, and saboteurs. Despite Hollywood notions of off-book operations and external secret hires, covert action is actually one piece in a colossal foreign policy machine. Written with the pacing of a thriller, Surprise, Kill, Vanish brings to vivid life the sheer pandemonium and chaos, as well as the unforgettable human will to survive and the intellectual challenge of not giving up hope that define paramilitary and intelligence work. Jacobsen's exclusive interviews -- with members of the CIA's Senior Intelligence Service (equivalent to the Pentagon's generals), its counterterrorism chiefs, targeting officers, and Special Activities Division's Ground Branch operators who conduct today's close-quarters killing operations around the world -- reveal, for the first time, the enormity of this shocking, controversial, and morally complex terrain. Is the CIA's paramilitary army America's weaponized strength, or a liability to its principled standing in the world? Every operation reported in this book, however unsettling, is legal.
Blind Man's BluffSherry Sontag, Christopher Drew & Annette Lawrence Drew
Discover the secret history of America's submarine warfare in this fast-paced and deeply researched chronicle of adventure and intrigue during the Cold War that reads like a spy thriller. Blind Man's Bluff is an exciting, epic story of adventure, ingenuity, courage, and disaster beneath the sea. This New York Times bestseller reveals previously unknown dramas, such as: The mission to send submarines wired with self-destruct charges into the heart of Soviet seas to tap crucial underwater telephone cables.How the Navy's own negligence may have been responsible for the loss of the USS Scorpion , a submarine that disappeared, all hands lost, in 1968.The bitter war between the CIA and the Navy and how it threatened to sabotage one of America's most important undersea missions.The audacious attempt to steal a Soviet submarine with the help of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, and how it was doomed from the start. A magnificent achievement in investigative reporting, Blind Man's Bluff reads like a spy thriller, but with one important difference -- everything in it is true.
Presidents of WarMichael Beschloss
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From a preeminent presidential historian comes a “superb and important” ( The New York Times Book Review ) saga of America’s wartime chief executives “Fascinating and heartbreaking . . . timely . . . Beschloss’s broad scope lets you draw important crosscutting lessons about presidential leadership.”—Bill Gates Widely acclaimed and ten years in the making, Michael Beschloss’s Presidents of War is an intimate and irresistibly readable chronicle of the Chief Executives who took the United States into conflict and mobilized it for victory. From the War of 1812 to Vietnam, we see these leaders considering the difficult decision to send hundreds of thousands of Americans to their deaths; struggling with Congress, the courts, the press, and antiwar protesters; seeking comfort from their spouses and friends; and dropping to their knees in prayer. Through Beschloss’s interviews with surviving participants and findings in original letters and once-classified national security documents, we come to understand how these Presidents were able to withstand the pressures of war—or were broken by them. Presidents of War combines this sense of immediacy with the overarching context of two centuries of American history, traveling from the time of our Founders, who tried to constrain presidential power, to our modern day, when a single leader has the potential to launch nuclear weapons that can destroy much of the human race. Praise for Presidents of War "A marvelous narrative. . . . As Beschloss explains, the greatest wartime presidents successfully leaven military action with moral concerns. . . . Beschloss’s writing is clean and concise, and he admirably draws upon new documents. Some of the more titillating tidbits in the book are in the footnotes. . . . There are fascinating nuggets on virtually every page of Presidents of War . It is a superb and important book, superbly rendered.” —Jay Winik, The New York Times Book Review "Sparkle and bite. . . . Valuable and engrossing study of how our chief executives have discharged the most significant of all their duties. . . . Excellent. . . . A fluent narrative that covers two centuries of national conflict.” —Richard Snow, The Wall Street Journal
We Were OnePatrick K. O'Donnell
A riveting first-hand account of the fierce battle for Fallujah during the Iraq War and the Marines who fought there--a story of brotherhood and sacrifice in a platoon of heroes Five months after being deployed to Iraq, Lima Company's 1st Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, found itself in Fallujah, embroiled in some of the most intense house-to-house, hand-to-hand urban combat since World War II. In the city's bloody streets, they came face-to-face with the enemy-radical insurgents high on adrenaline, fighting to a martyr's death, and suicide bombers approaching from every corner. Award-winning author and historian Patrick O'Donnell stood shoulder to shoulder with this modern band of brothers as they marched and fought through the streets of Fallujah, and he stayed with them as the casualties mounted.
The Pope at WarDavid I. Kertzer
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The most important book ever written about the Catholic Church and its conduct during World War II. . . . The best nonfiction book of the summer.”—Daniel Silva on the Today show Based on newly opened Vatican archives, a groundbreaking, explosive, and riveting book about Pope Pius XII and his actions during World War II, including how he responded to the Holocaust, by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Pope and Mussolini When Pope Pius XII died in 1958, his papers were sealed in the Vatican Secret Archives, leaving unanswered questions about what he knew and did during World War II. Those questions have only grown and festered, making Pius XII one of the most controversial popes in Church history, especially now as the Vatican prepares to canonize him. In 2020, Pius XII’s archives were finally opened, and David I. Kertzer—widely recognized as one of the world’s leading Vatican scholars—has been mining this new material ever since, revealing how the pope came to set aside moral leadership in order to preserve his church’s power. Based on thousands of never-before-seen documents not only from the Vatican, but from archives in Italy, Germany, France, Britain, and the United States, The Pope at War paints a new, dramatic portrait of what the pope did and did not do as war enveloped the continent and as the Nazis began their systematic mass murder of Europe’s Jews. The book clears away the myths and sheer falsehoods surrounding the pope’s actions from 1939 to 1945, showing why the pope repeatedly bent to the wills of Hitler and Mussolini. Just as Kertzer’s Pulitzer Prize–winning The Pope and Mussolini became the definitive book on Pope Pius XI and the Fascist regime, The Pope at War is destined to become the most influential account of his successor, Pius XII, and his relations with Mussolini and Hitler. Kertzer shows why no full understanding of the course of World War II is complete without knowledge of the dramatic, behind-the-scenes role played by the pope. “This remarkably researched book is replete with revelations that deserve the adjective ‘explosive,’” says Kevin Madigan, Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University. “ The Pope at War is a masterpiece.”
Point ManJames Watson & Kevin Dockery
Chief Petty Officer James "Patches" Watson was there at the start. One of the first to come out of the famed Underwater Demolition Team 21, he was an initial member -- a "plank owner" -- of America's deadliest and most elite fighting force, the U.S. Navy SEALs. Through three tours in the jungle hell of Vietnam, he walked the point -- staying alert to trip wires, booby traps and punji pits, guiding his squad of amphibious fighters on missions of rescue, reconnaissance and demolition -- confronting a war's unique terrors head-on, unprotected . . . and unafraid. This is the story of a hero told from the heart and from the gut -- an authentic tour of duty with one of the most legendary commandoes of the Vietnam War.
With the Old BreedEugene B. Sledge
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER In his own book, Wartime, Paul Fussell called With the Old Breed "one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war." John Keegan referred to it in The Second World War as "one of the most arresting documents in war literature." And Studs Terkel was so fascinated with the story he interviewed its author for his book, "The Good War." What has made E.B. Sledge's memoir of his experience fighting in the South Pacific during World War II so devastatingly powerful is its sheer honest simplicity and compassion. Now including a new introduction by Paul Fussell, With the Old Breed presents a stirring, personal account of the vitality and bravery of the Marines in the battles at Peleliu and Okinawa. Born in Mobile, Alabama in 1923 and raised on riding, hunting, fishing, and a respect for history and legendary heroes such as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene Bondurant Sledge (later called "Sledgehammer" by his Marine Corps buddies) joined the Marines the year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and from 1943 to 1946 endured the events recorded in this book. In those years, he passed, often painfully, from innocence to experience. Sledge enlisted out of patriotism, idealism, and youthful courage, but once he landed on the beach at Peleliu, it was purely a struggle for survival. Based on the notes he kept on slips of paper tucked secretly away in his New Testament, he simply and directly recalls those long months, mincing no words and sparing no pain. The reality of battle meant unbearable heat, deafening gunfire, unimaginable brutality and cruelty, the stench of death, and, above all, constant fear. Sledge still has nightmares about "the bloody, muddy month of May on Okinawa." But, as he also tellingly reveals, the bonds of friendship formed then will never be severed. Sledge's honesty and compassion for the other marines, even complete strangers, sets him apart as a memoirist of war. Read as sobering history or as high adventure, With the Old Breed is a moving chronicle of action and courage.
Band of BrothersStephen E. Ambrose
Stephen E. Ambrose’s classic New York Times bestseller and inspiration for the acclaimed HBO series about Easy Company, the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers at the frontlines of the war's most critical moments. Featuring a foreword from Tom Hanks. They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world. From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments. They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them. This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER "If you loved the movie, you will love the real story in the book." -- Fox & Friends On the 50th anniversary of the creation of the "Topgun" Navy Fighter School, its founder shares the remarkable inside story of how he and eight other risk-takers revolutionized the art of aerial combat. When American fighter jets were being downed at an unprecedented rate during the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy turned to a young lieutenant commander, Dan Pedersen, to figure out a way to reverse their dark fortune. On a shoestring budget and with little support, Pedersen picked eight of the finest pilots to help train a new generation to bend jets like the F-4 Phantom to their will and learn how to dogfight all over again. What resulted was nothing short of a revolution -- one that took young American pilots from the crucible of combat training in the California desert to the blistering skies of Vietnam, in the process raising America's Navy combat kill ratio from two enemy planes downed for every American plane lost to more than 22 to 1. Topgun emerged not only as an icon of America's military dominance immortalized by Hollywood but as a vital institution that would shape the nation's military strategy for generations to come. Pedersen takes readers on a colorful and thrilling ride -- from Miramar to Area 51 to the decks of aircraft carriers in war and peace-through a historic moment in air warfare. He helped establish a legacy that was built by him and his "Original Eight" -- the best of the best -- and carried on for six decades by some of America's greatest leaders. Topgun is a heartfelt and personal testimony to patriotism, sacrifice, and American innovation and daring.
A Spy at the Heart of the Third ReichLucas Delattre & George A. Holoch, Jr.
The fascinating true story of a German bureaucrat who worked secretly with the Allies during World War II. In 1943 a young official from the German foreign ministry contacted Allen Dulles, an OSS officer in Switzerland who would later head the Central Intelligence Agency. That man was Fritz Kolbe, who had decided to betray his country after years of opposing Nazism. While Dulles was skeptical, Kolbe’s information was such that he eventually admitted, “No single diplomat abroad, of whatever rank, could have got his hands on so much information as did this man; he was one of my most valuable agents during World War II.” Using recently declassified materials at the US National Archives and Kolbe’s personal papers, Lucas Delattre has produced a “disturbing and riveting biography” that moves with the swift pace of a Le Carré thriller ( Booklist ). “A richly detailed and well-crafted account of one of America’s most valuable German spies.” — Library Journal
Facing the MountainDaniel James Brown
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER One of NPR's "Books We Love" of 2021 Longlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography Winner of the Christopher Award “Masterly. An epic story of four Japanese-American families and their sons who volunteered for military service and displayed uncommon heroism… Propulsive and gripping, in part because of Mr. Brown’s ability to make us care deeply about the fates of these individual soldiers...a page-turner.” – Wall Street Journal From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat , a gripping World War II saga of patriotism and resistance, focusing on four Japanese American men and their families, and the contributions and sacrifices that they made for the sake of the nation. In the days and months after Pearl Harbor, the lives of Japanese Americans across the continent and Hawaii were changed forever. In this unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe, Daniel James Brown portrays the journey of Rudy Tokiwa, Fred Shiosaki, and Kats Miho, who volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany, and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible. Brown also tells the story of these soldiers' parents, immigrants who were forced to submit to life in concentration camps on U.S. soil. Woven throughout is the chronicle of Gordon Hirabayashi, one of a cadre of patriotic resisters who stood up against their government in defense of their own rights. Whether fighting on battlefields or in courtrooms, these were Americans under unprecedented strain, doing what Americans do best—striving, resisting, pushing back, rising up, standing on principle, laying down their lives, and enduring.
The Daughters Of YaltaCatherine Grace Katz
The untold story of the three intelligent and glamorous young women who accompanied their famous fathers to the Yalta Conference in February 1945, and of the conference’s fateful reverberations in the waning days of World War II. Tensions during the Yalta Conference in February 1945 threatened to tear apart the wartime alliance among Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin just as victory was close at hand. Catherine Grace Katz uncovers the dramatic story of the three young women who were chosen by their fathers to travel with them to Yalta, each bound by fierce family loyalty, political savvy, and intertwined romances that powerfully colored these crucial days. Kathleen Harriman was a champion skier, war correspondent, and daughter of U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Averell Harriman. Sarah Churchill, an actress-turned-RAF officer, was devoted to her brilliant father, who depended on her astute political mind. Roosevelt’s only daughter, Anna, chosen instead of her mother Eleanor to accompany the president to Yalta, arrived there as keeper of her father’s most damaging secrets. Situated in the political maelstrom that marked the transition to a post- war world, The Daughters of Yalta is a remarkable story of fathers and daughters whose relationships were tested and strengthened by the history they witnessed and the future they crafted together.
D-DayStephen E. Ambrose
Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, a day that changed the course of history. D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged. Drawing on more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion had to be abandoned, and how enlisted men and junior officers acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be. The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France. It ends at midnight June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, it moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a German sergeant. Ambrose’s D-Day is the finest account of one of our history’s most important days.
The LiberatorAlex Kershaw
The untold story of the bloodiest and most dramatic march to victory of the Second World War—now a Netflix original series starring Jose Miguel Vasquez, Bryan Hibbard, and Bradley James “Exceptional . . . worthy addition to vibrant classics of small-unit history like Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers .”— Wall Street Journal Written with Alex Kershaw's trademark narrative drive and vivid immediacy, The Liberator traces the remarkable battlefield journey of maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks through the Allied liberation of Europe—from the first landing in Italy to the final death throes of the Third Reich. Over five hundred bloody days, Sparks and his infantry unit battled from the beaches of Sicily through the mountains of Italy and France, ultimately enduring bitter and desperate winter combat against the die-hard SS on the Fatherland's borders. Having miraculously survived the long, bloody march across Europe, Sparks was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria, where he and his men experienced some of the most intense street fighting suffered by Americans in World War II. And when he finally arrived at the gates of Dachau, Sparks confronted scenes that robbed the mind of reason—and put his humanity to the ultimate test.
Unsung EaglesJay Stout
The nearly half-million American aircrewmen who served during World War II have almost disappeared. And so have their stories. Award-winning writer and former fighter pilot Jay A. Stout uses Unsung Eagles to save an exciting collection of those accounts from oblivion. These are not rehashed tales from the hoary icons of the war. Rather, they are stories from the masses of largely unrecognized men who—in the aggregate—actually won it. They are the recollections of your Uncle Frank who shared them only after having enjoyed a beer or nine, and of your old girlfriend’s grandfather who passed away about the same time she dumped you. And of the craggy guy who ran the town’s salvage yard; a dusty, fly-specked B-24 model hung over the counter. These are “everyman” accounts that are important but fast disappearing. Ray Crandall describes how he was nearly knocked into the Pacific by a heavy cruiser’s main battery during the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea. Jesse Barker—a displaced dive-bomber pilot—tells of dodging naval bombardments in the stinking mud of Guadalcanal. Bob Popeney relates how his friend and fellow A-20 pilot was blown out of formation by German antiaircraft fire: “I could see the inside of the airplane—and I could see Nordstrom's eyes. He looked confused…and then immediately he flipped up and went tumbling down.” The combat careers of 22 different pilots from all the services are captured in this crisply written book which captivates the reader not only as an engaging oral history, but also puts personal context into the great air battles of World War II. Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Jay Stout is a former Marine Corps fighter pilot who flew F-4 Phantoms and F/A-18 Hornets during a military career from 1981 to 2001. A graduate of Purdue University, he has also written FORTRESS PLOESTI, FIGHTER GROUP and THE MEN WHO KILLED THE LUFTWAFFE .
Sea StoriesAdmiral William H. McRaven
Following the success of his #1 New York Times bestseller Make Your Bed , which has sold over one million copies, Admiral William H. McRaven is back with amazing stories of bravery and heroism during his career as a Navy SEAL and commander of America's Special Operations Forces. Admiral William H. McRaven is a part of American military history, having been involved in some of the most famous missions in recent memory, including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. Sea Stories begins in 1963 at a French Officers' Club in France, where Allied officers and their wives gathered to have drinks and tell stories about their adventures during World War II-the place where a young Bill McRaven learned the value of a good story. Sea Stories is an unforgettable look back on one man's incredible life, from childhood days sneaking into high-security military sites to a day job of hunting terrorists and rescuing hostages. Action-packed, humorous, and full of valuable life lessons like those exemplified in McRaven's bestselling Make Your Bed , Sea Stories is a remarkable memoir from one of America's most accomplished leaders.
The Fall of JapanWilliam J. Craig
New York Times Bestseller: A “virtually faultless” account of the last weeks of WWII in the Pacific from both Japanese and American perspectives ( The New York Times Book Review ). By midsummer 1945, Japan had long since lost the war in the Pacific. The people were not told the truth, and neither was the emperor. Japanese generals, admirals, and statesmen knew, but only a handful of leaders were willing to accept defeat. Most were bent on fighting the Allies until the last Japanese soldier died and the last city burned to the ground. Exhaustively researched and vividly told, The Fall of Japan masterfully chronicles the dramatic events that brought an end to the Pacific War and forced a once-mighty military nation to surrender unconditionally. From the ferocious fighting on Okinawa to the all-but-impossible mission to drop the 2nd atom bomb, and from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s White House to the Tokyo bunker where tearful Japanese leaders first told the emperor the truth, William Craig captures the pivotal events of the war with spellbinding authority. The Fall of Japan brings to life both celebrated and lesser-known historical figures, including Admiral Takijiro Onishi, the brash commander who drew up the Yamamoto plan for the attack on Pearl Harbor and inspired the death cult of kamikaze pilots., This astonishing account ranks alongside Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day and John Toland’s The Rising Sun as a masterpiece of World War II history.
Three Days in MoscowBret Baier & Catherine Whitney
"An instant classic, if not the finest book to date on Ronald Reagan.” — Jay Winik President Reagan's dramatic battle to win the Cold War is revealed as never before by the #1 bestselling author and award-winning anchor of the #1 rated Special Report with Bret Baier. Moscow, 1988: 1,000 miles behind the Iron Curtain, Ronald Reagan stood for freedom and confronted the Soviet empire. In his acclaimed bestseller Three Days in January, Bret Baier illuminated the extraordinary leadership of President Dwight Eisenhower at the dawn of the Cold War. Now in his highly anticipated new history, Three Days in Moscow, Baier explores the dramatic endgame of America’s long struggle with the Soviet Union and President Ronald Reagan’s central role in shaping the world we live in today. On May 31, 1988, Reagan stood on Russian soil and addressed a packed audience at Moscow State University, delivering a remarkable—yet now largely forgotten—speech that capped his first visit to the Soviet capital. This fourth in a series of summits between Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, was a dramatic coda to their tireless efforts to reduce the nuclear threat. More than that, Reagan viewed it as “a grand historical moment”: an opportunity to light a path for the Soviet people—toward freedom, human rights, and a future he told them they could embrace if they chose. It was the first time an American president had given an address about human rights on Russian soil. Reagan had once called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” Now, saying that depiction was from “another time,” he beckoned the Soviets to join him in a new vision of the future. The importance of Reagan’s Moscow speech was largely overlooked at the time, but the new world he spoke of was fast approaching; the following year, in November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union began to disintegrate, leaving the United States the sole superpower on the world stage. Today, the end of the Cold War is perhaps the defining historical moment of the past half century, and must be understood if we are to make sense of America’s current place in the world, amid the re-emergence of US-Russian tensions during Vladimir Putin’s tenure. Using Reagan’s three days in Moscow to tell the larger story of the president’s critical and often misunderstood role in orchestrating a successful, peaceful ending to the Cold War, Baier illuminates the character of one of our nation’s most venerated leaders—and reveals the unique qualities that allowed him to succeed in forming an alliance for peace with the Soviet Union, when his predecessors had fallen short.
Masters of the AirDonald L. Miller
Soon to be a major television event from Apple TV, Masters of the Air is the riveting history of the American Eighth Air Force in World War II, the story of the young men who flew the bombers that helped bring Nazi Germany to its knees, brilliantly told by historian and World War II expert Donald Miller. The Masters of the Air miniseries will be the companion to Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Masters of the Air is the deeply personal story of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. With the narrative power of fiction, Donald Miller takes you on a harrowing ride through the fire-filled skies over Berlin, Hanover, and Dresden and describes the terrible cost of bombing for the German people. Fighting at 25,000 feet in thin, freezing air that no warriors had ever encountered before, bomber crews battled new kinds of assaults on body and mind. Air combat was deadly but intermittent: periods of inactivity and anxiety were followed by short bursts of fire and fear. Unlike infantrymen, bomber boys slept on clean sheets, drank beer in local pubs, and danced to the swing music of Glenn Miller’s Air Force band, which toured US air bases in England. But they had a much greater chance of dying than ground soldiers. The bomber crews were an elite group of warriors who were a microcosm of America—white America, anyway. The actor Jimmy Stewart was a bomber boy, and so was the “King of Hollywood,” Clark Gable. And the air war was filmed by Oscar-winning director William Wyler and covered by reporters like Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite, all of whom flew combat missions with the men. The Anglo-American bombing campaign against Nazi Germany was the longest military campaign of World War II, a war within a war. Until Allied soldiers crossed into Germany in the final months of the war, it was the only battle fought inside the German homeland. Masters of the Air is a story of life in wartime England and in the German prison camps, where tens of thousands of airmen spent part of the war. It ends with a vivid description of the grisly hunger marches captured airmen were forced to make near the end of the war through the country their bombs destroyed. Drawn from recent interviews, oral histories, and American, British, German, and other archives, Masters of the Air is an authoritative, deeply moving account of the world’s first and only bomber war.
The Warrior EthosSteven Pressfield & Shawn Coyne
Wars Change, Warriors Don't We are all warriors. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity. Do we fight by a code? What is the Warrior Ethos? How do we (and how can we) use it and be true to it in our internal and external lives?
IndianapolisLynn Vincent & Sara Vladic
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * “GRIPPING…THIS YARN HAS IT ALL.” — USA TODAY * “A WONDERFUL BOOK.” — The Christian Science Monitor * “ENTHRALLING.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review) * “A MUST-READ.” — Booklist (starred review) A human drama unlike any other—the riveting and definitive full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history. Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis is sailing alone in the Philippine Sea when she is sunk by two Japanese torpedoes. For the next five nights and four days, almost three hundred miles from the nearest land, nearly nine hundred men battle injuries, sharks, dehydration, insanity, and eventually each other. Only 316 will survive. For the first time Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic tell the complete story of the ship, her crew, and their final mission to save one of their own in “a wonderful book…that features grievous mistakes, extraordinary courage, unimaginable horror, and a cover-up…as complete an account of this tragic tale as we are likely to have” ( The Christian Science Monitor ). It begins in 1932, when Indianapolis is christened and continues through World War II, when the ship embarks on her final world-changing mission: delivering the core of the atomic bomb to the Pacific for the strike on Hiroshima. “Simply outstanding… Indianapolis is a must-read…a tour de force of true human drama” ( Booklist , starred review) that goes beyond the men’s rescue to chronicle the survivors’ fifty-year fight for justice on behalf of their skipper, Captain Charles McVay III, who is wrongly court-martialed for the sinking. “Enthralling…A gripping study of the greatest sea disaster in the history of the US Navy and its aftermath” ( Kirkus Reviews , starred review), Indianapolis stands as both groundbreaking naval history and spellbinding narrative—and brings the ship and her heroic crew back to full, vivid, unforgettable life. “Vincent and Vladic have delivered an account that stands out through its crisp writing and superb research… Indianapolis is sure to hold its own for a long time” ( USA TODAY ).
Red PlatoonClinton Romesha
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The only comprehensive, firsthand account of the fourteen-hour firefight at the Battle of Keating in Afghanistan by Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha, for readers of Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden and Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. “‘It doesn't get better.’ To us, that phrase nailed one of the essential truths, maybe even the essential truth, about being stuck at an outpost whose strategic and tactical vulnerabilities were so glaringly obvious to every soldier who had ever set foot in that place that the name itself—Keating—had become a kind of backhanded joke.” In 2009, Clinton Romesha of Red Platoon and the rest of the Black Knight Troop were preparing to shut down Command Outpost (COP) Keating, the most remote and inaccessible in a string of bases built by the US military in Nuristan and Kunar in the hope of preventing Taliban insurgents from moving freely back and forth between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Three years after its construction, the army was finally ready to concede what the men on the ground had known immediately: it was simply too isolated and too dangerous to defend. On October 3, 2009, after years of constant smaller attacks, the Taliban finally decided to throw everything they had at Keating. The ensuing fourteen-hour battle—and eventual victory—cost eight men their lives. Red Platoon is the riveting firsthand account of the Battle of Keating, told by Romesha, who spearheaded both the defense of the outpost and the counterattack that drove the Taliban back beyond the wire and received the Medal of Honor for his actions.
In Harm's WayDoug Stanton
A harrowing, adrenaline-charged account of America's worst naval disaster -- and of the heroism of the men who, against all odds, survived. On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. An estimated 300 men were killed upon impact; close to 900 sailors were cast into the Pacific Ocean, where they remained undetected by the navy for nearly four days and nights. Battered by a savage sea, they struggled to stay alive, fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. By the time rescue arrived, all but 317 men had died. The captain's subsequent court-martial left many questions unanswered: How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? Why was the cruiser traveling unescorted in enemy waters? And perhaps most amazing of all, how did these 317 men manage to survive? Interweaving the stories of three survivors -- the captain, the ship's doctor, and a young marine -- journalist Doug Stanton has brought this astonishing human drama to life in a narrative that is at once immediate and timeless. The definitive account of a little-known chapter in World War II history, In Harm's Way is destined to become a classic tale of war, survival, and extraordinary courage.
Miracle at MidwayGordon W. Prange, Donald M. Goldstein & Katherine V. Dillon
New York Times bestseller: The true story of the WWII naval battle portrayed in the Roland Emmerich film is “something special among war histories” ( Chicago Sun-Times ). Six months after Pearl Harbor, the seemingly invincible Imperial Japanese Navy prepared a decisive blow against the United States. After sweeping through Asia and the South Pacific, Japan’s military targeted the tiny atoll of Midway, an ideal launching pad for the invasion of Hawaii and beyond. But the US Navy would be waiting for them. Thanks to cutting-edge code-breaking technology, tactical daring, and a significant stroke of luck, the Americans under Adm. Chester W. Nimitz dealt Japan’s navy its first major defeat in the war. Three years of hard fighting remained, but it was at Midway that the tide turned. This “stirring, even suspenseful narrative” is the first book to tell the story of the epic battle from both the American and Japanese sides ( Newsday ). Miracle at Midway reveals how America won its first and greatest victory of the Pacific war—and how easily it could have been a loss.
The Panzer KillersDaniel P. Bolger
A general-turned-historian reveals the remarkable battlefield heroics of Major General Maurice Rose, the World War II tank commander whose 3rd Armored Division struck fear into the hearts of Hitler's panzer crews. “ The Panzer Killers is a great book, vividly written and shrewdly observed.” —The Wall Street Journal Two months after D-Day, the Allies found themselves in a stalemate in Normandy, having suffered enormous casualties attempting to push through hedgerow country. Troops were spent, and American tankers, lacking the tactics and leadership to deal with the terrain, were losing their spirit. General George Patton and the other top U.S. commanders needed an officer who knew how to break the impasse and roll over the Germans—they needed one man with the grit and the vision to take the war all the way to the Rhine. Patton and his peers selected Maurice Rose. The son of a rabbi, Rose never discussed his Jewish heritage. But his ferocity on the battlefield reflected an inner flame. He led his 3rd Armored Division not from a command post but from the first vehicle in formation, charging headfirst into a fight. He devised innovative tactics, made the most of American weapons, and personally chose the cadre of young officers who drove his division forward. From Normandy to the West Wall, from the Battle of the Bulge to the final charge across Germany, Maurice Rose's deadly division of tanks blasted through enemy lines and pursued the enemy with a remarkable intensity. In The Panzer Killers , Daniel P. Bolger, a retired lieutenant general and Iraq War veteran, offers up a lively, dramatic tale of Rose's heroism. Along the way, Bolger infuses the narrative with fascinating insights that could only come from an author who has commanded tank forces in combat. The result is a unique and masterful story of battlefield leadership, destined to become a classic.
Bourbon and BulletsJohn C. Tramazzo
American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines carried whiskey at Yorktown, Gettysburg, Manila, and Da Nang. It bolstered their courage, calmed their nerves, and treated their maladies. As a serious American whiskey drinker, John C. Tramazzo noticed how military service and whiskey went hand in hand during his service as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. In Bourbon and Bullets Tramazzo reveals the rich and dramatic connection between bourbon and military service in America. Although others have discussed whiskey’s place in military history, Bourbon and Bullets explores the relationship between military service and some of the most notable whiskey distillers and executives working today. American servicemen Weller, Handy, Stagg, Van Winkle, and Bulleit all experienced combat before they became household names for American whiskey enthusiasts. In small towns and big cities across America, veterans of armed conflict in Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq, and Afghanistan cook mash, operate stills, and push the booming industry to new heights. Bourbon and Bullets delves into the lives and military careers of these whiskey distillers and tells the story of whiskey’s role on the battlefield and in the American military community.
Resistance: The Underground War Against Hitler, 1939-1945Halik Kochanski
“This is the most comprehensive and best account of resistance I have read. It addresses the story with scholarly objectivity and an absolute lack of sentimentality. So much romantic twaddle is still published . . . it is marvelous to read a study of such breadth and depth, which reaches balanced judgments.” —Max Hastings, The Sunday Times (UK) Resistance is the first book of its kind: a monumental history that finally integrates the many resistance movements against Nazi hegemony in Europe into a single, sweeping narrative of defiance. “To resist, therefore. But how, when and where? There were no laws, no guidelines, no precedents to show the way . . .” —Dutch resister Herman Friedhoff In every country that fell to the Third Reich during the Second World War, from France in the west to parts of the Soviet Union in the east, a resistance movement against Nazi domination emerged. And every country that endured occupation created its own fiercely nationalist account of the role of homegrown resistance in its eventual liberation. Halik Kochanski’s panoramic, prodigiously researched work is a monumental achievement: the first book to strip these disparate national histories of myth and nostalgia and to integrate them into a definitive chronicle of the underground war against the Nazis. Bringing to light many powerful and often little-known stories, Resistance shows how small bands of individuals took actions that could lead not merely to their own deaths, but to the liquidation of their families and their entire communities. As Kochanski demonstrates, most who joined up were not supermen and superwomen, but ordinary people drawn from all walks of life who would not have been expected—least of all by themselves—to become heroes of any kind. Kochanski also covers the sheer variety of resistance activities, from the clandestine press, assistance to Allied servicemen evading capture, and the provision of intelligence to the Allies to the more violent manifestations of resistance through sabotage and armed insurrection. For many people, resistance was not an occupation or an identity, but an activity: a person would deliver a cache of stolen documents to armed partisans and then seamlessly return to their normal life. For Jews under Nazi rule, meanwhile, the stakes at every point were life and death; resistance was less about national restoration than about mere survival. Why resist at all? Who is the real enemy? What kind of future are we risking our lives for? These and other questions animated those who resisted. With penetrating insight, Kochanski reveals that the single quality that defined resistance across borders was resilience: despite the constant arrests and executions, resistance movements rebuilt themselves time and time again. A landmark history that will endure for decades to come, Resistance forces every reader to ask themselves yet another question, this distinct to our own times: “What would I have done?”
A Higher CallAdam Makos & Larry Alexander
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER: “Beautifully told.” —CNN • “A remarkable story...worth retelling and celebrating.”— USA Today • “Oh, it’s a good one!” —Fox News A “beautiful story of a brotherhood between enemies” emerges from the horrors of World War II in this New York Times bestseller by the author of Spearhead . December, 1943 : A badly damaged American bomber struggles to fly over wartime Germany. At the controls is twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown. Half his crew lay wounded or dead on this, their first mission. Suddenly, a Messerschmitt fighter pulls up on the bomber’s tail. The pilot is German ace Franz Stigler—and he can destroy the young American crew with the squeeze of a trigger... What happened next would defy imagination and later be called “the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.” The U.S. 8th Air Force would later classify what happened between them as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention for fear of facing a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search the world for each other, a last mission that could change their lives forever.
Eight Days in May: The Final Collapse of the Third ReichVolker Ullrich & Jefferson Chase
"[G]ripping, immaculately researched . . . In Mr. Ullrich’s account, the murderous behavior of the Reich’s last-ditch loyalists was not a reaction born of rage or of stubbornness in the face of defeat—common enough in war—but of something that had long ago tipped over into the pathological." —Andrew Stuttaford, Wall Street Journal The best-selling author of Hitler: Ascent and Hitler: Downfall reconstructs the chaotic, otherworldly last days of Nazi Germany. In a bunker deep below Berlin’s Old Reich Chancellery, Adolf Hitler and his new bride, Eva Braun, took their own lives just after 3:00 p.m. on April 30, 1945—Hitler by gunshot to the temple, Braun by ingesting cyanide. But the Führer’s suicide did not instantly end either Nazism or the Second World War in Europe. Far from it: the eight days that followed were among the most traumatic in modern history, witnessing not only the final paroxysms of bloodshed and the frantic surrender of the Wehrmacht, but the total disintegration of the once-mighty Third Reich. In Eight Days in May, the award-winning historian and Hitler biographer Volker Ullrich draws on an astonishing variety of sources, including diaries and letters of ordinary Germans, to narrate a society’s descent into Hobbesian chaos. In the town of Demmin in the north, residents succumbed to madness and committed mass suicide. In Berlin, Soviet soldiers raped German civilians on a near-unprecedented scale. In Nazi-occupied Prague, Czech insurgents led an uprising in the hope that General George S. Patton would come to their aid but were brutally put down by German units in the city. Throughout the remains of Third Reich, huge numbers of people were on the move, creating a surrealistic tableau: death marches of concentration-camp inmates crossed paths with retreating Wehrmacht soldiers and groups of refugees; columns of POWs encountered those of liberated slave laborers and bombed-out people returning home. A taut, propulsive narrative, Eight Days in May takes us inside the phantomlike regime of Hitler’s chosen successor, Admiral Karl Dönitz, revealing how the desperate attempt to impose order utterly failed, as frontline soldiers deserted and Nazi Party fanatics called on German civilians to martyr themselves in a last stand against encroaching Allied forces. In truth, however, the post-Hitler government represented continuity more than change: its leaders categorically refused to take responsibility for their crimes against humanity, an attitude typical not just of the Nazi elite but also of large segments of the German populace. The consequences would be severe. Eight Days in May is not only an indispensable account of the Nazi endgame, but a historic work that brilliantly examines the costs of mass delusion.
Horse SoldiersDoug Stanton
“A thrilling action ride of a book” ( The New York Times Book Review )—from Jerry Bruckheimer in theaters everywhere January 19, 2018—the New York Times bestselling, true-life account of a US Special Forces team deployed to dangerous, war-ridden Afghanistan in the weeks following 9/11. Previously published as Horse Soldiers , 12 Strong is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban. Outnumbered forty to one, they pursued the enemy army across the mountainous Afghanistan terrain and, after a series of intense battles, captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The bone-weary American soldiers were welcomed as liberators as they rode into the city. Then the action took a wholly unexpected turn. During a surrender of six hundred Taliban troops, the Horse Soldiers were ambushed by the would-be POWs. Dangerously overpowered, they fought for their lives in the city’s immense fortress, Qala-i-Janghi, or the House of War. At risk were the military gains of the entire campaign: if the soldiers perished or were captured, the entire effort to outmaneuver the Taliban was likely doomed. “A riveting story of the brave and resourceful American warriors who rode into Afghanistan after 9/11 and waged war against Al Qaeda” (Tom Brokaw), Doug Stanton’s account touches the mythic. The soldiers on horses combined ancient strategies of cavalry warfare with twenty-first-century aerial bombardment technology to perform a seemingly impossible feat. Moreover, their careful effort to win the hearts of local townspeople proved a valuable lesson for America’s ongoing efforts in Afghanistan. With “spellbinding...action packed prose...The book reads more like a novel than a military history...the Horse Soldier’s secret mission remains the US military’s finest moment in what has since arguably been a muddled war” ( USA TODAY ).
Shadow DiversRobert Kurson
In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery–and make history themselves. For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships. But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment. No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location. Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew. Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robert Kurson's Pirate Hunters .