100 books like Thunder Run

By David Zucchino,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of House to House: A Soldier's Memoir

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 visceral infantryman’s memoir of combat in Iraq gives authentic firsthand details of clearing houses of jihadists in street fighting operations. Brutally descriptive about tactics, engagements, casualties, and the enemy, this book details the more conventional side of the war compared to the unorthodox counter-insurgency campaigns that dominated most of the conflict. House to House resonated with me because it showed how modern war can still devolve into bitter, bloody, Stalingrad-style engagements despite the existence of high-technology wonder weapons that are supposed to sanitize and civilize warfare.

By David Bellavia, John Bruning,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC SOLDIER’S MEMOIR FROM MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT STAFF SERGEANT DAVID BELLAVIA

“A rare and gripping account of frontline combat.”—LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty

“They used to say that the real war will never get in the books. Here it does, stunningly.” —Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq and Making the Corps

“To read this book is to know intimately the daily grind and danger of men at war.”—Anthony Swofford, New York Times bestselling author of Jarhead

One of the great heroes of the Iraq War, Staff Sergeant David…


Book cover of Fives and Twenty-Fives

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 novel about a U.S. Marine Corps road clearance platoon is one of the few fiction books out there that genuinely conveys the Iraq War experience. The deployment story, intertwined with post-war vignettes from its primary characters, captures the authentic perspectives and sensory feel of daily patrols in Anbar without the hackneyed action hero plot lines usually tacked on to sell books. Its accurate detailing of Marine Corps culture while translating it for the uninitiated with the author’s talented prose makes this a compelling and insightful journey into what this war was.

By Michael Pitre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fives and Twenty-Fives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's the rule-always watch your fives and twenty-fives. When a convoy halts to investigate a possible roadside bomb, stay in the vehicle and scan five meters in every direction. A bomb inside five meters cuts through the armor, killing everyone in the truck. Once clear, get out and sweep twenty-five meters. A bomb inside twenty-five meters kills the dismounted scouts investigating the road ahead.

Fives and twenty-fives mark the measure of a marine's life in the road repair platoon. Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel.…


Book cover of The Glass Factory

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?

A gut-wrenching true account about a U.S. Army soldier’s horrific wounding and recovery, The Glass Factory entails the unfathomable physical and emotional costs on veterans and their families in the Iraq War. This book was an authentic Iraq War story to me because it showed the casualty evacuation and horribly painful rehabilitation process often ignored by more vainglorious authors. However, instead of dwelling on victimhood and hurt, the author’s journey has an uplifting message of overcoming hardship and growth as a human being and citizen.

By Braxton McCoy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Glass Factory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2006, Sgt. Braxton McCoy (Ret.) was severely wounded by a suicide bomber in Ramadi, Iraq, and later told he may never walk again. After nearly a decade of physical therapy and rehabilitation Braxton has not only regained the majority of his strength, but he has now climbed mountains and competed in endurance races. This book follows his story from the day he was wounded through his nearly decade long rehabilitation. Along the way he finds himself trying to adapt to the world with a mind and body he no longer understands. Braxton battles not just physical and mental trauma,…


Book cover of 7 Nissan

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?

An obscure esoteric graphic novel, this seemingly crudely drawn book (and others by this author) genuinely showcases the brutal, tedious lifestyle that soldiers endured for years in Iraq. By telling the stories ignored by more cliché heroic works, things like a lieutenant being covered in raw sewage, Sisyphean Army work, and patrols, or casual violence, this book is a surprisingly honest glimpse into the day-to-day of the Iraq War. Be advised, I have a weakness for crass, dark soldier humor, so more highbrow readers may want to steer clear of this author.

By Keith Schnell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 7 Nissan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An unremarkable mission by an unremarkable unit on an unremarkable day of the Iraq War turns into an extended metaphor for the entire conflict in this graphic novel based on actual events.


Book cover of Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq

Gail Vida Hamburg Author Of The Edge of the World

From my list on books about surviving wars written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I feel compelled to write political works when I see an injustice, violation, corruption, or travesty that needs to be addressed. It's possibly the result of my heritage as a citizen of a British-colonized country and the child of parents from a Christian-colonized slice of a continent. As a journalist, I experienced censure and censorship by editors who wished to maintain their held beliefs about certain people, races, issues, and subjects. As a novelist, I was rejected by mainstream publishers for writing deemed too political. However, I made a commitment as a writer not to change my words to appease publishers or editors because it made them uncomfortable.   

Gail's book list on books about surviving wars written by women

Gail Vida Hamburg Why did Gail love this book?

As most Western media, from CNN on down, parroted the Bush administration’s talking points on the Iraq War, intellectually curious Americans turned to blogs written by Iraqis who gave first-person accounts of the war. I was riveted by the blogs of a 24-year-old Iraqi woman, an engineer, who posted under the pseudonym Riverbend, “I’m female, Iraqi, and 24. That’s all you need to know. It’s all that matters these days anyway,” she wrote in her first post on Aug. 17, 2003.

From 2003 to 2004, Riverbend wrote prolifically about life under American Occupation. The blogs were compiled into this book in 2005. Riverbend cataloged and chronicled life in wartime—a litany of rations of food, water, gas, and electricity; bombings, raids, and kidnappings; and the emotional and financial toll on her family as their ordinary middle-class lives were destroyed by the war.

Intelligent and opinionated, Riverbend gave a comprehensive testimony on…

By Riverbend,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Frankenstein in Baghdad

Andy Owen Author Of Land of the Blind

From my list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

War is perhaps the most extreme human activity. I have seen firsthand some of these extremes in Iraq and Afghanistan. I now write about the philosophy and ethics of war and geopolitics, exploring some of the impacts and enduring truths that war and its conduct tell us about ourselves that might be hidden under the surface of our everyday lives. The books I have chosen here explore, with elegance, sensitivity, and sometimes brutal and unflinching honesty, what the battlefield exposes, showing us that there is both tragedy and comedy at the extremities of human nature, and without one, you cannot really truly appreciate the other.

Andy's book list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war

Andy Owen Why did Andy love this book?

I have recommended this novel as it is one of the few to come out of the Iraq war written by an Iraqi writer, telling its story from the point of view of the local Iraqis. 

Hadi, an old junk dealer, dismayed by the hasty burials of incomplete bodies after the daily bombings, puts together a body from the parts he finds. This composite body, he calls “Whatsitsname,” becomes possessed with the soul of a bombing victim and sets about killing those responsible for turning Baghdad into a slaughterhouse.

Blending its style between war fiction, horror, and fantasy, this darkly effective satire of the fatal logic of sectarianism follows Whatsitsname as he expands his scope, claiming: “There are no innocents who are completely innocent, and no criminals who are completely criminal.”

By Ahmed Saadawi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Man Booker International Prize finalist*

"Brave and ingenious." -The New York Times

"Gripping, darkly humorous . . . profound." -Phil Klay, bestselling author and National Book Award winner for Redeployment

"Extraordinary . . . A devastating but essential read." -Kevin Powers, bestselling author and National Book Award finalist for The Yellow Birds

From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi-a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local cafe-collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial.…


Book cover of The Pride of Baghdad

Marthese Fenech Author Of Eight Pointed Cross

From my list on demonstrating the fallout of religious conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

Frequent visits to my parents’ Maltese homeland from the time I was very young piqued my interest in the island’s opulent history. Life under the rule of the Knights of St John fascinated me most. The Maltese Islands lend themselves very well to literary descriptions—gifted with four compass points of natural beauty, the smell of the sea constant no matter how far inland one might venture, ancient temples that predate the pyramids of Egypt. It was during a pre-college trip to Malta in July 2000 that the idea to write a novel based on the Siege of 1565 took root, thanks to a visit to the Malta Experience in Valletta.

Marthese's book list on demonstrating the fallout of religious conflict

Marthese Fenech Why did Marthese love this book?

This powerful graphic novel illustrates—literally and figuratively—the many casualties of religious conflict. Set in Baghdad in 2003 and told from the perspective of a pride of lions, this book captures the struggle for survival, the loss of innocence, and the collateral damage inflicted by war. A clear allegory, this book has proven an excellent teaching tool. The Pride of Baghdad raises important questions about clashing viewpoints, loyalty, sectarian violence, the true price of war, and who, ultimately, pays it. Although narrated by four lions, the story offers a heartbreakingly realistic glimpse into Iraq during the US-led invasion, the consequences of which reverberate still. As I watch the terrible events playing out daily in Ukraine, my mind drifts back to this book, and I am reminded that past is prologue. We are witnesses right now. And may we all be on the right side of history.

By Brian K. Vaughan, Niko Henrichon (illustrator), Todd Klein (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pride of Baghdad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Written by Brian K. Vaughn Art by Niko Henrichon In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escapes from the Baghdad Zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation - can it be given, or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live in captivity?


Book cover of Thank You for Your Service

John A. Nagl Author Of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

From my list on the exorbitant cost of America’s War in Iraq.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired Army officer who served in a tank unit in Operation Desert Storm. After that war, I became convinced that the future of warfare looked more like America’s experience in Vietnam than like the war in which I had just fought. I taught at West Point and then served in another tank unit early in the war in Iraq before being sent to the Pentagon where I helped Generals David Petraeus and Jim Mattis write the Army and Marine Corps doctrine for counterinsurgency campaigns. I am now studying and teaching about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a professor at the U.S. Army War College.  

John's book list on the exorbitant cost of America’s War in Iraq

John A. Nagl Why did John love this book?

A sequel to The Good Soldiers, which told the story of an infantry battalion through some of the bloodiest fighting of the war during the “Surge” in Baghdad, David Finkel’s Thank You for Your Service follows the soldiers on their return to the United States. All are marked forever by the experience of combat; many have devastating physical wounds while others struggle mentally and emotionally with what they have seen and done at their country’s call. Life after war can be harder than life in war, and Finkel unpacks how and why with an unsparing but compassionate eye. This book should be read by every politician with responsibility for sending troops to combat—before they start America’s next war.

By David Finkel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thank You for Your Service as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No journalist is better situated to reckon with the psychology of war than New York Times bestselling author David Finkel. In Thank You for Your Service he weaves a masterly, compelling narrative out of the troubling stories of a US infantry battalion as they return home from Iraq and attempt to survive peace.

Finkel writes frankly and compassionately about the soldiers, and about their partners and children: the heartbroken wife who wonders privately whether her returned husband is going to get better, or kill her; and the heroic victims, with the fresh taste of gunmetal in their mouths, who will…


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;…


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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Iraq War, Iraq, and Baghdad?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Iraq War, Iraq, and Baghdad.

The Iraq War Explore 58 books about the Iraq War
Iraq Explore 85 books about Iraq
Baghdad Explore 17 books about Baghdad