The best books to safely satisfy your lust for action and mystery

Marvin J. Wolf Author Of M-9
By Marvin J. Wolf

Who am I?

I was 13 years a soldier and saw combat in Vietnam. There I met some of the finest men this country has ever produced and became hooked on the exploits of brave men. I have written many books about men—and women—in peril, and strive always for accurate accounts.

I wrote...


By Marvin J. Wolf,

Book cover of M-9

What is my book about?

When you step into the origin story of Marvin J. Wolf's Chelmin and Spaulding CID mystery, M-9, it's much like being in the front seat of the world's wildest roller coaster. You have a nice overview from the original climb, and then drop right into more action than you are ready for, with boomerang turns that double back, corkscrew twists to disorient you, the odd "what the hell was that" moment that leaves your heart in your throat, and when you hit that last page, the feeling of, "Ah man, this can't be the end already."

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The books I picked & why

We Were Soldiers Once... and Young

By Joseph Galloway, General Harold Moore,

Book cover of We Were Soldiers Once... and Young

Why did I love this book?

This was written by my late friend, Joe Galloway, and tells the true story of the first major encounter between elements of the regular armies of North Vietnam and the United States. It is full of heroic acts, the tragedy of the deaths of many fine men, and a satisfactory, if unsettling, conclusion. But for the grace of God, I would likely have been one of the men who died in those battles: A few months earlier, I had reenlisted as an Infantry private (after a break of three years from my previous three years in the peacetime infantry, half of which I served as a sergeant) and was assigned to one of the companies that were all but massacred at Landing Zone Albany. Two months before they departed for Vietnam, I was pulled out of my company to become a combat photographer for the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile) Public Information Office. So this book is very personal to me.

By Joseph Galloway, General Harold Moore,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked We Were Soldiers Once... and Young as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'If you want to know what is was like to go to Vietnam as a young American... and find yourself caught in ferocious, remorseless combat with an enemy as courageous and idealistic as you were, then you must read this book. Moore and Galloway have captured the terror and exhilaration, the comradeship and self-sacrifice, the brutality and compassion that are the dark heart of war' THE TIMES


In November 1965, 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt.Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small…

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

Why did I love this book?

Pressfield has recreated the famous encounter between the Spartans and the invading Persian armies under Xerxes The Great. What makes men willing to die for their country? Pressfield shows us. He also illuminates the forces that shaped the men of Sparta, who remain the ideal of all soldiers since. I had long been curious about this battle because the Spartans were not merely greatly outnumbered but because Xerxes had conquered much of the ancient world. I wanted to know how those Spartans were relevant to today, and Pressman tells us.

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the Sunday Times bestseller Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield tells the breathtaking story of the legendary Spartans: the men and women who helped shaped our history and have themselves become as immortal as their gods.

'Breathtakingly brilliant . . . this is a work of rare genius. Savour it!' DAVID GEMMELL

'A tale worthy of Homer, a timeless epic of man and war, exquisitely researched and boldy written. Pressfield has created a new classic' STEPHEN COONTS

'A really impressive book - imaginatively framed, historically detailed and a really gripping narrative' ***** Reader review

'Beautifully written and a great joy…

Book cover of Healing Wounds: A Vietnam War Combat Nurse's 10-Year Fight to Win Women a Place of Honor in Washington, D.C.

Why did I love this book?

Evans was the power behind the creation of the Vietnam Women's Memorial located at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Twenty-some years ago, she called me—we didn’t know each other—and asked to meet. She was looking for help in writing about her experiences as a combat nurse in Vietnam, and how that led to her spending ten years to create the Vietnam Woman’s Memorial. We spent a long lunch at a beachfront bistro in Venice, CA talking, and finally agreed that she should have the catharsis from writing her book, when she was ready. This is that book, and it tells about war and politics—war by peaceful means—from a woman’s perspective. Positively riveting story by an extraordinary woman.

By Diane Carlson Evans, Bob Welch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Healing Wounds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What is the price of honor? It took ten years for Vietnam War nurse Diane Carlson Evans to answer that question—and the answer was a heavy one.

In 1983, when Evans came up with the vision for the first-ever memorial on the National Mall to honor women who’d worn a military uniform, she wouldn’t be deterred. She remembered not only her sister veterans, but also the hundreds of young wounded men she had cared for, as she expressed during a Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C.: “Women didn’t have to enter military service, but we stepped up to serve believing we…

The Naked and the Dead

By Norman Mailer,

Book cover of The Naked and the Dead

Why did I love this book?

This is a fictionalized account of Mailer’s WWII experience during the amphibious invasion of a Japanese-held Island and shows the courage and cowardice of men in war. I decided to read this after meeting Mailer at my cousin Jack Gelber’s Manhattan Apartment in 1966. Upon learning that I had received a battlefield commission in Vietnam, Mailer, who was drunk, called me a baby killer, jerked me from a chair, and assumed a boxer’s stance, meanwhile challenging me to fight him. He was unceremoniously shoved into his overcoat and out the door. But the man could write

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Naked and the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed as one of the finest novels to come out of the Second World War, The Naked and the Dead received unprecedented critical acclaim upon its publication and has since enjoyed a long and well-deserved tenure in the American canon. This fiftieth anniversary edition features a new introduction created especially for the occasion by Norman Mailer.

Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows a platoon of Marines who are stationed on the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948 with the wisdom of a man twice Mailer's age and the raw courage of the young man he was, The…

They Were Expendable

By W. L. White,

Book cover of They Were Expendable

Why did I love this book?

The author recreated as a novel the adventures of a handful of Navy officers whose tiny Patrol Torpedo Boats more than held their own against the full might of the Japanese Navy during the fall of the Philippines. Told in the first person by three of the principal characters, we meet Douglas MacArthur, seasick and soaking wet, as he flees Manila in an overloaded PT Boat, and eventually reaches a smaller island from which he is flown to safety in Australia. And we see and are in awe, of these young naval officers. In 1951, when I was ten and perched on my father's shoulders, I saw MacArthur from just a few feet away as he passed during a Chicago parade. I became fascinated with the man and his legend, and here he is presented as a very human creature.

By W. L. White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked They Were Expendable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A national bestseller when it was originally published in 1942 and the subject of a 1945 John Ford film featuring John Wayne, this book offers a thrilling account of the role of the U.S. Navy's Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three during the disastrous Philippine campaign early in World War II. The author uses an unusual, but thorough, spellbinding format to tell the story: an interview with four heroic young participants. Ranked "with the great tales of war" by the Saturday Review of Literature, it is a deeply moving book that describes the four officers' extraordinary exploits from the first appearance…

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