The best books showing the measure of a man is the things for which he is willing to die

Sam Foster Author Of A Panther Crosses Over
By Sam Foster

Who am I?

When I was 22, I joined the USMC for the same reason Socrates drank the hemlock. And since being so directly and harshly confronted with my own mortality at such a young age, I’ve not been able to shake the question, what is worth dying for? I study it in myself and I study it in others. We all die; we all know we will. That is boring in its ubiquity. What is fascinating is any choice that a man or woman may make which will cause him or her to give into it one breath early.   


I wrote...

A Panther Crosses Over

By Sam Foster,

Book cover of A Panther Crosses Over

What is my book about?

Following the French and Indian War, white settlers pour over the Appalachians and down the Ohio River.  But native tribes of the Northwest Territory have long inhabited this land—and they are willing to fight to remain. Leading the Shawnee is Tecumseh—courageous, discerning, and capable of assembling fifty thousand warriors to rise together to chase the white settlers back east when he commands. How will warriors from Florida to Canada know when the command has come? For twenty years his answer has been the same: “I will stomp my foot.”

Against Tecumseh stands an equally talented, implacable, and gifted opponent, William Henry Harrison. The decades-long struggle between cultures, and men, comes to a dramatic head at the Battle of Tippecanoe, with history-shaping consequences. 

The books I picked & why

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Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

By Steven Pressfield,

Book cover of Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Why this book?

“Stranger, go tell the Spartans here we lie, faithful to their command,” is the inscription on the stela that marks the battlefield which is the book’s focus. Pressfield’s is not merely to show that 300 Spartans would stand and die or even why. His interest is in what kind of society produces such men. He shows us that.

Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Gates of Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War

By Michael Shaara,

Book cover of The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War

Why this book?

In Shaara’s telling we learn the intellectual and spiritual grounding by which men lead themselves to give “their last full measure.” If a book of brilliant conversations between a New England academic commanding officer and an uneducated Irish immigrant top sergeant does not explain the choice to you then you may never learn it.  

Perhaps it is most simply put in the title which comes from a conversation between the two men. The professor from Bowdoin College says simply, “Man is an angel.” To wit his British-trained top sergeant responds, “Colonel, darlin’, if man is an angel he is a killer angel.”

The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War

By Michael Shaara,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Killer Angels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“My favorite historical novel . . . a superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant.”—James M. McPherson
 
In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty…

The Heart of Everything That Is

By Bob Drury, Tom Clavin,

Book cover of The Heart of Everything That Is

Why this book?

The Sioux, Red Cloud, is known for his actions rather than his words. But his actions led not just to a draw with the US Cavalry but to the only treaty ever signed between the United States of American and an indigenous nation where America gave up land. Winning it back and living was even better than dying for it.

The Heart of Everything That Is

By Bob Drury, Tom Clavin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heart of Everything That Is as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History

By S.C. Gwynne,

Book cover of Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History

Why this book?

Gwynne tells us the Comanche’s only businesses were robbery and slave trading. But he does give them credit for the geography of America. That is holding both the French and Spanish at bay until America was ready to take the land. The measure of their men was not in what they would die for but what they would have others die for.

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History

By S.C. Gwynne,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Empire of the Summer Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.

S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moonspans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood…


East of Eden

By John Steinbeck,

Book cover of East of Eden

Why this book?

“If thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire and thou shalt rule over him.” Genesis 4:7 KJV But is the proper translation into English from an ancient language with few words, (there are less than 9,000 discrete words in the ancient Hebrew version of the Old Testament) shalt or is it perhaps will or may? On the answer to that simple question the condition of our soul henges.  

Only Steinbeck could make a novel of that question.

East of Eden

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked East of Eden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

California's fertile Salinas Valley is home to two families whose destinies are fruitfully, and fatally, intertwined. Over the generations, between the beginning of the twentieth century and the end of the First World War, the Trasks and the Hamiltons will helplessly replay the fall of Adam and Eve and the murderous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

East of Eden was considered by Steinbeck to be his magnum opus, and its epic scope and memorable characters, exploring universal themes of love and identity, ensure it remains one of America's most enduring novels. This edition features a stunning new cover by renowned…


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