The best Afghanistan War books 📚

Browse the best books on Afghanistan War as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front

Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front

By Mary Jennings Hegar

Why this book?

In 2012, former Air National Guard pilot and Purple Heart recipient Mary Jennings Hegar joined forces with the ACLU to challenge the ban that kept American women out of ground combat units. In Shoot Like A Girl, Hegar tells the story of the career that led her to that point.

Hegar’s love for flying, her commitment to her job, and her bonds with teammates are vividly portrayed. The incident for which she received the Purple Heart–her helicopter shot down in Afghanistan with wounded men aboard—is gripping. But the heart of the book is the systemic sexism Hegar faced throughout…

From the list:

The best books about women in war

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Book cover of Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

By Marcus Luttrell, Patrick Robinson

Why this book?

Many are familiar with this movie, but the book is downright excellent. Marcus Luttrell and his Navy Seal team fought a ferocious battle in Northern Afghanistan, one that will have you on the edge of your seat. If patriotism isn’t enough, Luttrell’s persistence to never back down or surrender the fight is an inspiration for anyone reading his story.

From the list:

The best books for inspiration

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Book cover of American Cipher: Bowe Bergdahl and the U.S. Tragedy in Afghanistan

American Cipher: Bowe Bergdahl and the U.S. Tragedy in Afghanistan

By Matt Farwell, Michael Ames

Why this book?

I like this book because it's a case study of what can go wrong. If one doesn't know who they are. The consequences can have harmful effects. Not only for the person but for others as well. That is the definition of pathology - having a harmful impact.

The authors do a masterful job of explaining Bergdahl's personality. He was diagnosed as having a schizotypal personality disorder and never sought treatment. Using Daniel Nettle's Big Five personality indicators descriptors, Bergdahl can be described as a Worried, out-of-control, Wanderer.

From the list:

The best books to understand personality and who you are

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Book cover of Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War

Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War

By Jake Wood

Why this book?

This is a story that deals with old soldiers who never give up. It’s the story of Jake surviving Afghanistan as a serving soldier. I write about soldiers with PTSD, so it’s important I study the area, and it can be tough. Really tough. Heartbreaking to read about the effects of war on the mind of a soldier. I’ve read several, but this one really knocked me for six. It’s an educated, intelligent narrative about a young life full of honour, duty, passion, and hope. Then he goes to war. If we are ever to understand why war is so…

From the list:

The best books about spooky places, spooky minds, and old soldiers who never give up

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Book cover of War

War

By Sebastian Junger

Why this book?

Junger has worked as an imbedded journalist for decades, and he’s one of those rare nonfiction storytellers whose keen observations collide with simple, elegant prose to illuminate truths in a profound way. War is his account of his many months spent with a leading infantry unit in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom immediately following 9/11. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the current conflicts in the Middle East and the effects of combat on soldiers and civilians alike. His perspective truly humanizes the combat experience and helped me understand that I was far from alone in my own…

From the list:

The best war books about turning PTSD into post-traumatic growth

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Book cover of An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict, 1978-2012

An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict, 1978-2012

By Mike Martin

Why this book?

Martin was a British Army officer who learned to speak fluent Pashto, and spent long hours talking with and gaining the trust of various players in Helmand Province. Based on those discussions, he has put together the only oral history of the conflict there available in any language. By starting in 1978, he clearly shows that the fighting thirty years later had much deeper roots, and that more often than not, the causes of conflict were not apparent to Western eyes.

From the list:

The best books on the War in Afghanistan

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