100 books like Generation Kill

By Evan Wright,

Here are 100 books that Generation Kill fans have personally recommended if you like Generation Kill. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Jerry Stahl Author Of Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man's Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust

From my list on turning insane personal history into entertainment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jerry Stahl is an American novelist and screenwriter. His latest release, Nein, Nein, Nein! One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychis Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust relieves Stahl’s group tour to concentration camps in Poland and Germany. He has written a number of novels including Perv: A Love Story, Plainclothes Naked, I, Fatty, Pain Killers, Bad Sex on Speed, and Happy Mutant Baby Pills: A NovelStahl got this start publishing short fiction, winning a Pushcart Prize in 1976 for a story in the Transatlantic Review. His 1995 memoir Permanent Midnight was adapted into a film starring Ben Stiller as well as the screenplay for Bad Boys II, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Jerry's book list on turning insane personal history into entertainment

Jerry Stahl Why did Jerry love this book?

The author’s chronicle of growing up the child of a married Catholic priest—who lives in his boxer shorts, plays ear-crushing electric guitar, worships action films, and once got arrested at an abortion clinic sit-insomehow manages to be beautiful, cringe-inducing, jaw-dropping and absolutely hilarious at once. When circumstances force the author and her husband to move back in with her Priest-dad in her parents’ rectory, their worlds collide in an explosion of soulful, moving family madness. Woven through the entire saga are strains of love, faith, and the enduring, hysterical bonds of family.

By Patricia Lockwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW STATESMAN AND OBSERVER BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2017

'Glorious' Sunday Times
'Laugh-out-loud funny' The Times
'Extraordinary' Observer
'Exceptional' Telegraph
'Electric' New York Times
'Snort-out-loud' Financial Times
'Dazzling' Guardian
'Do yourself a favour and read this memoir!' BookPage

The childhood of Patricia Lockwood, the poet dubbed' The Smutty-Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas' by The New York Times, was unusual in many respects. There was the location: an impoverished, nuclear waste-riddled area of the American Midwest. There was her mother, a woman who speaks almost entirely in strange riddles and warnings of impending danger. Above all, there was her gun-toting, guitar-riffing,…


Book cover of Model Citizen: A Memoir

Jerry Stahl Author Of Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man's Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust

From my list on turning insane personal history into entertainment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jerry Stahl is an American novelist and screenwriter. His latest release, Nein, Nein, Nein! One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychis Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust relieves Stahl’s group tour to concentration camps in Poland and Germany. He has written a number of novels including Perv: A Love Story, Plainclothes Naked, I, Fatty, Pain Killers, Bad Sex on Speed, and Happy Mutant Baby Pills: A NovelStahl got this start publishing short fiction, winning a Pushcart Prize in 1976 for a story in the Transatlantic Review. His 1995 memoir Permanent Midnight was adapted into a film starring Ben Stiller as well as the screenplay for Bad Boys II, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Jerry's book list on turning insane personal history into entertainment

Jerry Stahl Why did Jerry love this book?

Joshua Mohr should not be alive. Diagnosed young with a medical condition that could kill him any second, the author does what addicts do: continues grinding his own face in the dirt even as he struggles to keep his life together and stop. In vignettes of astonishing violence and poetry, Mohr careens from unspeakable despair to moments of fearless, weirdly laugh-out-loud intensity and beauty—sometimes in the same sentence. All that, and his portrait of San Francisco makes you want to show up, find a dive and bang your head off the floor until you’re healed. Mohr writes with everything on the line. Almost like he’s trying to save his own life as much as yours.

By Joshua Mohr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The intimate, gorgeous, garish confessions of Joshua Mohr—writer, father, alcoholic, addict

Her teeth marks in the wood are some of my favorite things. Every now and again she rips the pick out of my hand and tosses it inside the guitar . . . I hold it over my head, hole down, shaking it back and forth, the pick rattling around in there. And as it ricochets from side to side, I always think about pills. Maybe the pick has turned into oxy. Or Norco, codeine, Demerol. Maybe it’s a pill and when it falls out I can gobble it…


Book cover of Pryor Convictions: And Other Life Sentences

Jerry Stahl Author Of Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man's Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust

From my list on turning insane personal history into entertainment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jerry Stahl is an American novelist and screenwriter. His latest release, Nein, Nein, Nein! One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychis Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust relieves Stahl’s group tour to concentration camps in Poland and Germany. He has written a number of novels including Perv: A Love Story, Plainclothes Naked, I, Fatty, Pain Killers, Bad Sex on Speed, and Happy Mutant Baby Pills: A NovelStahl got this start publishing short fiction, winning a Pushcart Prize in 1976 for a story in the Transatlantic Review. His 1995 memoir Permanent Midnight was adapted into a film starring Ben Stiller as well as the screenplay for Bad Boys II, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Jerry's book list on turning insane personal history into entertainment

Jerry Stahl Why did Jerry love this book?

Two reasons I love Richard Pryor’s memoir—his failures and his successes. 1967, Richard Pryor flamed out in front of Dean Martin in Vegas, asking a sold-out crowd: What the fuck am I doing here? A year later, scheduled to open for Miles Davis at the Village Gate, a guy pops backstage to say Miles Davis would be opening for him. A gesture of ultimate respect. From boyhood brothel to Sunset Boulevard icon—there is so much heart in this book, so much raw honesty, so many crazy highs and unbelievable bottoms, I feel almost guilty marching out the killer anecdotes: Yes,  Pryor scored weed for Jackie Gleason. Yes, he smuggled dope into Arizona prisoners filming Stir Crazy. But what makes this memoir essential reading is Richard Pryor’s genius. “You all know how Black humor started? It started on slave ships. Cat was rowing and dude says,…

By Richard Pryor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Richard Pryor journeys from his childhood in a family that worked in whore-houses and bars, through to his years in Hollywood - the money, the women, the drugs - and the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.


Book cover of Paradoxia: A Predator's Diary

Cathi Unsworth Author Of Season of the Witch: The Book of Goth

From my list on the magical and horrible history of Goth.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was not hard to grow up Goth in an old farmhouse in Norfolk, one of the most haunted counties in England. Age 11, when the Eighties began, I genuinely believed that ghosts, witches, and a demon dog called Old Shuck stalked this land. John Peel's radio show kept the night terrors at bay and replaced them with the music that became my passion. By 19, I was writing for Sounds and would meet and work with many of the bands and artists who saw me through that dread decade. Forty years on, this is my love letter to a most maligned and misunderstood genre – and why it still matters.

Cathi's book list on the magical and horrible history of Goth

Cathi Unsworth Why did Cathi love this book?

While the Ripper was abroad in Yorkshire, New York was stalked by its own phantom killer, Son of Sam, while its rapidly diminishing police force were otherwise engaged giving out leaflets entitled Welcome To Fear City: A Survival Guide for Visitors.

Abe Beame was Mayor over a burned-out necropolis of demolished buildings, crumbling infrastructure and tripling crime rates, a city President Gerald Ford told to "drop dead". This was the stage on which Lydia Lunch began her assault on the senses and sensibilities of her nation, at the tender age of 16.

Her account of not only surviving but grabbing every last moment of fun to be had in Fear City is rivalled only by mentor Hubert Selby Jr's Last Exit to Brooklyn as the ultimate in New York stories.

By Lydia Lunch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Paradoxia reveals that Lunch is at her best when she’s at her worst . . . [and] gives voice to her sometimes scary, frequently funny, always canny, never sentimental siren song."—Barbara Kruger, Artforum

Lydia Lunch relays in graphic detail the true psychic repercussions of sexual misadventure. From New York to London to New Orleans, Paradoxia is an uncensored, novelized account of one woman’s assault on men.

Lydia Lunch was the primary instigator of the No Wave Movement and the focal point of the Cinema of Transgression. A musician, writer, and photographer, she exposes the dark underbelly of passion confronting the…


Book cover of The Devil You Don't Know: Going Back to Iraq

Emma Sky Author Of The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq

From my list on what the Iraq War was like for Iraqis.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served in Iraq as Governorate Co-ordinator of Kirkuk for the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003-2004; and as advisor to the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq from 2007-2010. I retain a deep love of the country and am a regular visitor. I teach about the Middle East and Global Affairs at Yale University. 

Emma's book list on what the Iraq War was like for Iraqis

Emma Sky Why did Emma love this book?

What did the Iraq War look like from the perspective of Iraqis? In most accounts of the Iraq War, Iraqis only feature as terrorists or victims. This book explains how Iraqis felt about the invasion of the country; what relations were like between returning exiles and those who had remained in Iraq all along; and the hopes that Iraqis had for their country. It is really well written and engaging.

By Zuhair al-Jezairy, John West (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Devil You Don't Know as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1979, journalist Zuhair al-Jezairy fled Iraq and certain death after openly criticising Saddam's regime. Twenty-five years later he is back, and cautiously celebrating the toppling of the hated Ba'ath Party.

As editor of a newspaper, he breaks the Oil for Food scandal, disclosing the names of Arab and Westerners who were involved. He then sets up a television company and travels all over Iraq, documenting the country's descent into sectarianism and hopeless violence, soon becoming a target himself.

Al-Jezairy's first-hand accounts of the looting of Baghdad, the destruction of government buildings, and indiscriminate bombings are a searing, personal and…


Book cover of Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad

Darin Pepple Author Of Dodgebomb: Outside the Wire in the Second Iraq War

From my list on the Iraq War without fake Hollywood nonsense.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being an Iraq War veteran and former Army officer, I cringe at the prevailing Hollywood cliché that stereotypes everyone that served in Iraq as Special Forces with crazy PTSD or being some broken human being. It’s apparent that popular movies and books on this war were produced without any veteran input, usually done by authors completely unfamiliar with the military and this region. I wrote my book Dodgebomb to insert reality into the narrative—that most servicemembers were regular men and women who expertly fought jihadists, rebuilt this country, and tried to instill democratic self-determination while reconciling impossible political and strategic goals that muddled completing the job.

Darin's book list on the Iraq War without fake Hollywood nonsense

Darin Pepple Why did Darin love this book?

This compelling history of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s armored spearhead into Baghdad details the coup de main that broke the Saddam’s regime’s grip on Iraq. Rich with exploits of individual soldiers, tank operations, and combat this nonfiction work relates the initial success in the war when victory seemed obtainable in months not years. I thoroughly enjoy this history because it illustrates the early war’s events accurately without politicized narrative and details just how daring and complicated this decisive attack was. If more people read this history, then our society could remember and have a fairer discourse on the Iraq War.

By David Zucchino,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter provides a brilliant account of the harrowing drive into Baghdad by an American armor brigade.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
 
Based on reporting that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Thunder Run chronicles one of the boldest gambles in modern military history: the surprise assault on Baghdad by the Spartan Brigade, the Second Brigade of the Third Infantry Division (Mechanized). Three battalions and fewer than a thousand men launched a violent thrust of tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles into the heart of a city of five million people—and in three days of bloody combat ended the Iraqi war.…


Book cover of The U.S. Army in the Iraq War Volume 1: Invasion Insurgency Civil War 2003 – 2006

Kenneth M. Pollack Author Of Armies of Sand: The Past, Present, and Future of Arab Military Effectiveness

From my list on Middle East military history.

Why am I passionate about this?

After college I joined the CIA. They assigned me to the Iran-Iraq military account so I had a front-row seat for the Persian Gulf War. I went on to do two tours at the NSC and a quick stop at DoD in between, all working on Middle East political and security issues. I was unexpectedly thrown out by Bush II in 2001 and so had to flee to the think tank world. I’ve since written ten books on the political-military affairs of the Middle East and am now working on my eleventh, a history of the U.S. and Iraq since 1979 titled The Iraq Wars.

Kenneth's book list on Middle East military history

Kenneth M. Pollack Why did Kenneth love this book?

This is the first volume of the U.S. Army’s official two-volume history of the Iraq War, from 2003 to 2006. They are big and long, but if you are serious about military history or the Middle East, you owe it to yourself to read them. If you do, you will be richly rewarded. Like the famous U.S. Army “Green Books” of World War II, The U.S. Army in the Iraq War is magnificent. You could not imagine that a government product could be so gracefully written, so wise, and so insightful. Together, the two volumes cover the entire span of the conflict, brilliantly explaining what happened and why, and providing a new and comprehensive understanding of one of America’s longest and most important conflicts.  

By Joel D. Rayburn, Frank K. Sobchak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The U.S. Army in the Iraq War Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Iraq War has been the costliest U.S. conflict since the Vietnam War. To date, few official studies have been conducted to review what happened, why it happened, and what lessons should be drawn. This publication, The U.S. Army in the Iraq War Volume 1: Invasion Insurgency Civil War 2003 – 2006, is the Army’s initial operational level analysis of this conflict, written in narrative format, with assessments and lessons embedded throughout the work. This study reviews the conflict from a Landpower perspective and includes the contributions of coalition allies, the U.S. Marine Corps, and special operations forces. Presented principally…


Book cover of My War: Kiling Time in Iraq

Ronny Bruce Author Of The Grunts of Wrath: A Memoir Examining Modern War and Mental Health

From my list on infantry life during modern war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an OG ATLien (born in Atlanta, Georgia) and served in the US Marine Corps and the US Army. I hold a degree from Kennesaw State University and taught high school social studies from 2004 - 2006, before my military reenlistment which jumpstarted the events in my memoir.   

Ronny's book list on infantry life during modern war

Ronny Bruce Why did Ronny love this book?

My War is a true story set in 2004 post-invasion Iraq told by a US Army grunt on the bottom of the totem pole.

As a former infantryman near the bottom myself, I could relate to the rollercoaster ride war grunts endure that can go from extreme boredom and amp up to fierce combat in an instance. Buzzell’s language is grunt speak which is unrefined and full of profanity, not for everyone, but it’s the perfect dialect for describing everything from battles to talking trash with other grunts.

I also appreciated that Buzzell guided us through his life as a struggling twentysomething, before joining the army, rather than taking the reader straight to battle. Gen Xers will love \m/.

By Colby Buzzell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Colby Buzzell traded a dead-end future for the army-and ended up a machine gunner in Iraq. To make sense of the bloody insanity surrounding him, he started a blog about the war and how it differed from the government's official version. As his blog's popularity grew, Buzzell became the embedded reporter the Army couldn't control-despite its often comical efforts to do so.

The result is an extraordinary narrative, rich with unforgettable scenes: the Iraqi woman crying uncontrollably during a raid on her home; the soldier too afraid to fight; the troops chain-smoking in a guard tower and counting tracer rounds.…


Book cover of Here, Bullet

Barbara Nickless Author Of Blood on the Tracks

From my list on what it is like to go to war and come home.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning and bestselling author who teaches creative writing to veterans as part of a collaboration between the Department of Defense and the National Endowment for the Arts. I’m also an Air Force brat who grew up around military folk. After traumatic events gave me personal experience with post-traumatic stress disorder, I better understood why veterans don’t talk about their time in war. The books on this list are some of my favorites for capturing the terror of battle and the difficulty of reintegrating into a society that gives little thought to the human cost of war. 

Barbara's book list on what it is like to go to war and come home

Barbara Nickless Why did Barbara love this book?

This collection of poems by an Iraq war veteran opens a door into the crazy, horrifying world of America’s time in Iraq. I used this book while teaching a section on poetry to combat veterans at the local university. For some of these men and women, the poems offered their first glimpse into the power of verse. Turner showed my students how, through the searing beauty of words made into images, it was possible to capture—and thus contain—the horrors of war. As Turner writes:

This is a language made of blood.
It is made of sand and time.
To be spoken, it must be earned.

By Brian Turner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A first-person account of the Iraq War by a solider-poet, winner of the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award.

Adding his voice to the current debate about the US occupation of Iraq, in poems written in the tradition of such poets as Wilfred Owen, Yusef Komunyakaa (Dien Cai Dau), Bruce Weigl (Song of Napalm) and Alice James’ own Doug Anderson (The Moon Reflected Fire), Iraqi war veteran Brian Turner writes power-fully affecting poetry of witness, exceptional for its beauty, honesty, and skill. Based on Turner’s yearlong tour in Iraq as an infantry team leader, the poems offer gracefully rendered, unflinching description but,…


Book cover of To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq

Emma Sky Author Of The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq

From my list on what the Iraq War was like for Iraqis.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served in Iraq as Governorate Co-ordinator of Kirkuk for the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003-2004; and as advisor to the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq from 2007-2010. I retain a deep love of the country and am a regular visitor. I teach about the Middle East and Global Affairs at Yale University. 

Emma's book list on what the Iraq War was like for Iraqis

Emma Sky Why did Emma love this book?

In To Start a War, Robert Draper investigates how it was that the US came to invade Iraq in 2003. A gifted writer, he reveals the paranoia and fear that led to the collecting of ‘intelligence’ that confirmed the biases of senior US officials – but which was often fabricated and false. 

By Robert Draper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Start a War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Essential . . . one for the ages . . . a must read for all who care about presidential power." -The Washington Post

"Authoritative . . . The most comprehensive account yet of that smoldering wreck of foreign policy, one that haunts us today." -LA Times

One of BookPage's Best Books of 2020

To Start a War paints a vivid and indelible picture of a decision-making process that was fatally compromised by a combination of post-9/11 fear and paranoia, rank naivete, craven groupthink, and a set of actors with idees fixes who gamed the process relentlessly. Everything was believed;…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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