Ever since I watched the 20 minute documentary in SOCOM US Navy Seals on PS2, I’ve been watching and reading up on all the different military branches and historical events. Last summer, I spent six weeks at United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School and a big way I prepared for it was actually reading different books to know what to expect. In the past ten or so years, I’ve read a ton of military books, good and bad. Here are my absolute favorites that will blow you away, whether you’re interested in a career with the military or just looking for a good book. Not only will these books help potential Marine Officer Candidates prepare for what to expect at Officer Candidate School, but it will also give you plenty of motivation! I guarantee you these books are worth the read:
Lone Survivor: Lone Survivor is the story of Marcus Luttrell, a United States Navy SEAL and the only surviving member of Operation Red Wing. Initially part of a 4-member SEAL sniper team, his team was ambushed in the mountains of Afghanistan by a contingent of around 100 Taliban. Not only was every member of his team killed in action, but a rescue helicopter of SEALS sent to assist the team was also shot down. Lone Survivor not only describes Luttrell’s harrowing mission, but his life building up to becoming a Navy SEAL, including training at Basic Underwater Demolition school. If you have any interest in Special Forces and the men who took out Osama Bin Laden, read this book!
Where Men Win Glory: You all remember Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who turned down a multi-million dollar contract to enlist as a US Army Ranger. Well, this is the story of Tillman’s life, from his childhood to the day he was shot and killed in Afghanistan to the hazy details and coverup surrounding his death. This is an excellent book to find out the true story as to who Pat Tillman was and the kind of man many would aspire to be.
Band of Brothers: HBO’s incredible series, Band of Brothers, was actually based on an award winning book. And you guessed it, the book is as good as the series, if not better. As a 21 year old, it’s an awesome book to read because it enlightens you on the “Greatest Generation”, which many of our grandfathers were members of. If you enjoyed HBO’s Band of Brothers, you’ll certainly love the book it’s based off of.
One Bullet Away: This book was perhaps my biggest inspiration to attend United States Marine Corps Officer Candidates School. It’s written by Nate Fick, a former Force Recon Captain in the USMC, who speaks about his time spent in the Corps from OCS to missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you are interested in a career with the military, specifically the Marine Corps, this book will definitely give you some perspective on what it’s like.
Generation Kill: This is the story of a Rolling Stones journalist who embedded with a USMC Force Recon platoon during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. The book really personifies the modern day warrior and gives excellent personality to the men in Force Recon. It’s a no holds barred look into the conversations and the life in battle and in between. Nate Fick, from One Bullet Away, just so happened to be the platoon commander of this book. You may also remember the six episode HBO mini-series based off this book, which happened to be excellent as well.
Horse Soldiers: Many people wonder who the first Americans were on the ground after 9/11 in Afghanistan. Well, this is their story. The US Army Special Forces (sometimes referred to as Green Berets) were the initial strike force into Afghanistan, attacking the Taliban and Al-Qaeda from the start. You may be wondering why this book is entitled “Horse Soldiers” if it chronicles the missions of the Army Special Forces? Well, that’s because when these elite soldiers inserted into Afghanistan, they began to fight with local resistance, exclusively on horse back. This is quite an incredible story and certainly recommended for those interested in the War on Terror.
The Warrior Elite: Like I said Before, I initially became interested in the military after watching a documentary on US Navy SEALs. What appealed to me was the intense training they underwent in order to earn their title. Warrior Elite, written by Dick Couch, a former Navy SEAL from the Vietnam era, is a book that follows US Navy Basic Underwater Demolition school Class of 228. Couch literally makes you feel like a member of the BUD/s class as he gives in depth details on the lives of the members and the incredible training and strength needed to succeed. If you are interested in the Navy SEAls or intense military training, this is the best book you will read on the subject. Marcus Luttrell from Lone Survivor is actually a member of Class 228, chronicled in this book.
There you have it, the 7 must-read military books in my humble opinion. Like I said above, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed by reading any of these books. They will inspire the hell out of you and enlighten you to the sacrifices of our military. Hope you enjoy!