The most recommended armed forces books

Who picked these books? Meet our 15 experts.

15 authors created a book list connected to armed forces, and here are their favorite armed forces books.
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What type of armed forces book?


Book cover of Psychiatric Casualties: How and Why the Military Ignores the Full Cost of War

Michael J. Prince Author Of Weary Warriors: Power, Knowledge, and the Invisible Wounds of Soldiers

From my list on the psyche of disabled war veterans.

Why am I passionate about this?

A Canadian academic, Michael J. Prince is an award-winning author in the field of modern politics, government, and public policy. The Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy at the University of Victoria, he has written widely on issues of disability activism and social change, including on veterans and their families. He is co-author, with Pamela Moss, of Weary Warriors: Power, Knowledge, and the Invisible Wounds of Soldiers, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2014. 

Michael's book list on the psyche of disabled war veterans

Michael J. Prince Why did Michael love this book?

As American veterans and academics, both authors personally and professionally know the subject of modern warfare, stress disorders, and military mental health. This book examines the invisible injuries of psychiatric casualties from combat. The authors scrutinize what they call the dark side of military mental health and, in considerable detail, expose this darkness, which they show to be systemic and multifaceted in how it inflicts wounds on military personnel. The book ends with options for changing military mental healthcare and moving toward a resilient and mentally healthy military.  I appreciate this book because it demonstrates from the perspective of insiders how military culture and practices continue to harm those veterans with invisible wounds.   

By Mark C. Russell, Charles Figley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The psychological toll of war is vast, and the social costs of war's psychiatric casualties extend even further. Yet military mental health care suffers from extensive waiting lists, organizational scandals, spikes in veteran suicide, narcotic overprescription, shortages of mental health professionals, and inadequate treatment. The prevalence of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder is often underestimated, and there remains entrenched stigma and fear of being diagnosed. Even more alarming is how the military dismisses or conceals the significance and extent of the mental health crisis.

The trauma experts Mark C. Russell and Charles Figley offer an impassioned and meticulous critique…

Book cover of Moving Mountains: Lessons in Leadership and Logistics from the Gulf War

Jeff Davidson Author Of 60 Second Self-Starter: Sixty Solid Techniques to get motivated, get organized, and get going in the workplace.

From my list on to become a self-starter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the internationally recognized expert on work-life balance, harmony, and integrative issues, and since 2009, hold the registered trademark from the USPTO as the “Work-Life Balance Expert®." I'm the author of several popular books including Breathing Space; Everyday Project Management; Simpler Living; and 60 Second Organizer. Delivered with passion, I offer his cutting edge, hands-on strategies for a balanced career and life to audiences from Singapore to San Diego, with clients as diverse as Novo Nordisk, Worthington Steel, Lufthansa, American Law Institute, and the National Association of Realtors. I've been a guest on Late Night with Charlie Rose, CNBC, America in the Morning, the Australian Broadcasting Company, and USA Today Sky Radio.

Jeff's book list on to become a self-starter

Jeff Davidson Why did Jeff love this book?

I think that General Pagonis wrote an instant classic. On the battlefield in Iraq, Pagonis began and ended every day by asking, what do we do if Saddam attacks today? I held large classes, he recalls, open to anyone, but especially to our talented reserve forces, to discuss scenarios and potential solutions.

He would ask questions like, "A ship docked at Ad Dammam this morning. It's ready to be unloaded, but the onboard crane breaks. What do you do?" Or, "We suddenly find out we're receiving 15,000 troops today instead of the usual 5,000. How do we adjust to the increase?"

He constantly told people that we all needed to do our Monday-morning quarterbacking on Saturday night, before problems arose. I and everyone I know could benefit from such a policy. The added benefit of this approach was that it promoted collaborative talks about problems and responsibilities across ranks and…

By William G Pagonis, Jeffrey L. Cruikshank,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Business Week" described the Gulf War as "the largest military logistics operation in history", entailing an unprecedented deployment of troops and supplies halfway around the world. Here is a firsthand account of the supply effort that led to the dramatic Allied victory in the Gulf, written by the general who spearheaded the remarkable undertaking. General Pagonis recounts the Gulf War from the first fateful telephone call, to the mobilization of 550,000 troops and the shipment of 7,000,000 tons of supplies, to the enormously complex challenge of bringing home a half million soldiers and their equipment. Numerous leadership and logistics lessons…

Book cover of While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military

Karen Whiting Author Of Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front

From my list on unknown facts about women American patriots.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for this topic is my background as a military wife, daughter, sister, niece, and mother of men and women who served. I'm also a descendant of men who fought in the American Revolution and women who remained strong on the home front. Moving around the country as a military wife and mother gave me an inside understanding of some of the hardships and difficulties faced by women throughout American history. It’s important to share how women helped shaped this country and supported the military men and women who fought for the freedoms we have and need to continue to preserve. I've been weaving in historical stories into my current devotional series and articles.

Karen's book list on unknown facts about women American patriots

Karen Whiting Why did Karen love this book?

These heartfelt prayers for the military loved ones who serve and the reader provides a faith connection and hope for those at home. It also helps the member serving to know they someone at home cares and prays for them. As a mother of a son who served, Edie wrote these first for herself and then shared them for readers who also have a family member serving. Her authenticity in the prayers reveals the emotions of one who knows she has someone in harm’s way and also shares the joy of their homecoming from each tour. I met Edie after one of her sons served and see her great compassion for those who have a friend or family member currently serving.

By Edie Melson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With over 2.3 million active and reserve military personnel, there are many families who are waiting at home and praying for their well being. While My Soldier Serves Hardcover Journal is the perfect place to record your thoughtful prayers and meditations. Whether you are praying for the needs of your soldier such as for wisdom, faith, and protection, or for the challenges you face on the homefront, including fear, loneliness, and patience, these lightly lined pages with inspirational quotes throughout invite and encourage you to keep your soldier close to your heart.

Book cover of Winter Soldiers: An Oral History of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Amanda Cockrell Author Of Coyote Weather

From my list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era.

Why am I passionate about this?

Almost all of my books have been historical novels, but this one is the one most dear to me, an attempt to understand the fault line that the Vietnam War laid across American society, leaving almost every man of my generation with scars physical or psychic. My picks are all books that illuminate the multiple upheavals of that time.

Amanda's book list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era

Amanda Cockrell Why did Amanda love this book?

Winter Soldiers offers firsthand accounts of more than thirty of members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, some of whom first joined the military with a deep belief in the rightness of America’s role in that conflict.

Eventually they made common cause with the protesters against the war and their voices had a role in its ending. Winter Soldiers follows them from their lives before the war, through their service, and into its aftermath.

By Richard Stacewicz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1971, Vietnam veterans testified in public hearings about atrocities they had participated in or witnessed during the war. Here, Stacewicz seeks to tell their story by interviewing more than 30 members of Vietnam Veterans Against War and draws on their archives for supporting evidence.

Book cover of Shadow Warriors

Damien Larkin Author Of Big Red

From my list on military books written by veterans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served for seven years in the Irish Reserve Defence Forces, finishing as a weapons specialist in the infantry. I’m very grateful for the time I served in uniform and the lifelong lessons I learned that have helped me in my personal and professional life. Being a lifelong fan of military science fiction, I wrote Big Red from the point of view of a young Irish soldier thrown into a genocidal war on Mars. I’m a co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community and our online magazine Bard of the Isles.

Damien's book list on military books written by veterans

Damien Larkin Why did Damien love this book?

Ireland is known as the land of a thousand welcomes, but most people aren’t aware of its sixty unbroken years of Peacekeeping duty with the UN and even less know of its elite special forces unit known as the Army Ranger Wing (ARW).

The ARW is seen by many as one of the most effective special forces in operation. Shadow Warriors gives an in depth look into the history of the ARW, set up against the backdrop of rising instances of international terrorism and its deployment in a variety of roles across dozens of countries. This is an easy and straightforward read for anyone interested in military related books.

By Paul O’Brien, Wayne Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1980, the Irish Department of Defence sanctioned the establishment of a new unit within the Irish Defence Forces and the Irish Army Ranger Wing (ARW) came into being. In the decades that followed, its soldiers have been deployed on active service at home and abroad, generally without the knowledge of the wider public. The ARW is made up of seasoned men from across the island, who are selected through tough competition. Only the best of the best make it through and are trained in an extraordinary range of specialist skills. Being one of these elite operators…

Book cover of Scales on War: The Future of America's Military at Risk

Gabriella Rosen Kellerman Author Of Tomorrowmind: Thriving at Work with Resilience, Creativity, and Connection—Now and in an Uncertain Future

From my list on how work is changing and what it means for workers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve devoted my career to helping people achieve their potential and improve their wellbeing. One of the greatest challenges we’re all facing today is the highly unnatural world of work in which we all must perform. I’ve been fortunate both to lead large teams in this environment and to guide the Fortune 1000 on how to help their people thrive in its midst. Achieving sustainable peak performance requires that we understand what we are up against. This book list is a great place to start!

Gabriella's book list on how work is changing and what it means for workers

Gabriella Rosen Kellerman Why did Gabriella love this book?

Quite a lot about what the defining forces in today’s world of work became clear to our military leaders many decades ago. Warfare was once centralized, linear, and choreographed. Modern war is fragmented, dynamic, and unpredictable. The term VUCA itself came from the military.

Scales is one of our greatest military thinkers leading the way on how we should be approaching soldier readiness in this new reality. We need to think much more about psychological agility and resilience so that the front lines are enabled to respond to an unforeseeable challenge. He’s ahead of the corporate curve in this thinking, but just by a hair. 

By Bob Scales,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Scales on War is a collection of ideas, concepts, and observations aboutcontemporary war taken from over thirty years of research, writing, andpersonal experience by retired Major General Bob Scales. Scales' unique styleof writing utilizes contemporary military history, current events, and hisphilosophy of ground warfare to create a very personal and expansive view ofthe future direction of American defense policies.

Each chapter in the book addresses a distinct topic facing the upcomingprospects of America's military, including tactical ground warfare, future gazing,the draft, and the role of women in the infantry. Fusing all of these topicstogether is Scales' belief that, throughout its…

Book cover of The Troubled Man

David Norman Author Of Dinosaurs: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on stretching your imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a teacher and researcher my primary interest has been focused on the natural history, biology, functional mechanics and interactions between animals through time. Observation and interpretation are keys to my approach, and my little book about dinosaurs explores the range and variety of ways in which science can take observations (the bare fossil bones) and lead to science-based interpretations of what those bones mean. Similarly, the books that I enjoy relate, thematically, to that interest in observation and interpretation/understanding: ranging from attempting to understand the deep history of animal life, to a boy exploring Corfu or even a fictional detective observing and attempting to interpret the scene of a crime.

David's book list on stretching your imagination

David Norman Why did David love this book?

I love good writing, and I love the escapism provided by detective and spy thrillers. Choosing between so many quality authors: Le Carré, Dexter, James, Rankin, Nesbo, etc. is almost impossible and completely unfair. However, the series of Wallander novels by Mankell is one of my favourites. I have chosen the final book in the series – but obviously you should start with the first! As with most detective stories, Mankell’s hero has a messy life, his father doesn’t understand him (and vice-versa), his wife has left him, he has a hit & miss relationship with his only daughter, but in this novel you can feel that Wallander’s life is slowly, but perceptibly, unravelling. The key events that are the focus of this tale become more and more apparently contradictory and complex and at times the tension is almost palpable. It must be difficult for novelists to draw a close…

By Henning Mankell, Laurie Thompson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Every morning Hakan von Enke takes a walk in the forest near his apartment in Stockholm. However, one winter's day he fails to come home. It seems that the retired naval officer has vanished without trace.

Detective Kurt Wallander is not officially involved in the investigation but he has personal reasons for his interest in the case as Hakan's son is engaged to his daughter Linda. A few months earlier, at Hakan's 75th birthday party, Kurt noticed that the old man appeared uneasy and seemed eager to talk about a controversial incident from his past career that remained shrouded in…

Book cover of The Horrible Peace: British Veterans and the End of the Napoleonic Wars

Roger Knight Author Of Convoys: The British Struggle Against Napoleonic Europe and America

From my list on history to change your ideas on the Napoleonic Wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

For fifty years I've studied the British sailing navy, fascinated by its workings, the slow communications, the vagaries of the winds and tides. In parallel with my work in archives, I've sailed in most of the European waters described in Convoys. I worked at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, for 27 years, leaving as Deputy Director in 2000. Since then, I've taught postgraduates and written about Nelson and the British government (Britain against Napoleon), and became convinced that Britain came very close to being defeated by Napoleonic France. If Napoleon had not thrown it all away by his invasion of Russia in 1812, I might be writing this in French, with a very different script! 

Roger's book list on history to change your ideas on the Napoleonic Wars

Roger Knight Why did Roger love this book?

This is a fine new study looking at the lasting impact of the wars from 1815, particularly at the tens of thousands of men who had served in the army and navy.

Although Britain was in much better shape than the Continental economies, more than twenty years of warfare had changed life and industry, and there were few jobs for the returning soldiers and seamen. It led to domestic protest and violence on the streets, sometimes with veterans fighting regular troops and militia. You could not get further from the glossy fiction of C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian.

By Evan Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Few battles in world history provide a cleaner dividing line than Waterloo: before, there was Napoleon; after, there was the Pax Britannica. While Waterloo marked France's defeat and Britain's ascendance as an imperial power, the war was far from over for many soldiers and sailors, who were forced to contend with the lasting effects of battlefield trauma, the realities of an impossibly tight labour market, and growing social unrest. The Horrible Peace details a story of distress and discontent, of victory complicated by volcanism, and of the challenges facing Britain at the beginning of its victorious century.

Examining the process…

Book cover of The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz

Suzanna Eibuszyc Author Of Memory is Our Home

From my list on the trials and tribulations of the generation that came before us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Professor Elie Wiesel was instrumental in my translating and researching my mother’s journals. My awakening to the dark period in the chapter of the Jewish history happened between 1971-1974 at CCNY, when our paths crossed while I was taking his classes at the department of Jewish studies. It was in his classes that the things that bewildered me as a child growing up in communist Poland in the shadows of the Holocaust aftermath started to make sense. I asked my mother to commit to paper the painful memories, she buried deep inside her. She and the next generations have an obligation to bear witness, to be this history's keepers.

Suzanna's book list on the trials and tribulations of the generation that came before us

Suzanna Eibuszyc Why did Suzanna love this book?

Remembering the heroes, Witold Pilecki got himself arrested. After two and half years as a prisoner in Auschwitz, he escaped. He witnessed the brutality, the mass gassing of Europe’s Jews, thousands each day. He was among the first to set off the alarms that Auschwitz was the epicenter of the Nazis' plan to exterminate Europe’s Jews.        

By Jack Fairweather,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


“Superbly written and breathtakingly researched, The Volunteer smuggles us into Auschwitz and shows us—as if watching a movie—the story of a Polish agent who infiltrated the infamous camp, organized a rebellion, and then snuck back out. ... Fairweather has dug up a story of incalculable value and delivered it to us in the most compelling prose I have read in a long time.” —Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm and Tribe

The incredible true story of a Polish resistance fighter’s infiltration of Auschwitz to sabotage…

Book cover of Terms of Enlistment

Matthew O. Duncan Author Of The Warrior's Stone

From my list on old-school sci-fi from 21st century authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up a fan of all things sci-fi, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and so on. But the older I got, the pickier I got, wanting more depth in character, creative stories and fun, but believable action. I read classic sci-fi like iRobot, Starship Troopers, and Enders Game, to name a few. I did find some contemporary authors I liked like Marco Kloos, Detmare Wehr, and Rebecca Branch, but they were needles in a haystack. So, instead of complaining that there were not enough good books out there, I started writing my own. A decade later I have 8 published titles and more on the way.  

Matthew's book list on old-school sci-fi from 21st century authors

Matthew O. Duncan Why did Matthew love this book?

I first discovered this book as an audiobook several years ago. It was recommended as something similar to Starship Troopers, which I had recently finished. The beginning of the book didn’t grab me at first. As a matter of fact I started to think it was a rip-off of Starship Troopers. But there was something about the main character that made me want to stay to the next chapter. Andrew Grayson is a young man who is very bright, but because he lives in a welfare community in the not-so-distant future, his prospects are limited. One of the only ways he can get out of the PRCs (what the author refers to as the projects) is to join the military. What makes this book work so well is the fact that Andrew is not really special. He is smart and usually a little more capable than the people around him.…

By Marko Kloos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"There is nobody who does [military SF] better than Marko Kloos. His Frontlines series is a worthy successor to such classics as Starship Troopers, The Forever War, and We All Died at Breakaway Station." -George R. R. Martin

The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements: You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world . . . or you can join the service.

With the colony…