The best Gulf War books 📚

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

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Book cover of Call-Sign Kluso: An American Fighter Pilot in Mr. Reagan's Air Force

Call-Sign Kluso: An American Fighter Pilot in Mr. Reagan's Air Force

By Rick Tollini

Why this book?

Plenty of memoirs have been written by combat pilots, but Call Sign Kluso is truly one-of-a-kind. It weaves a captivating personal narrative within the context of America’s resurgence from the post-Vietnam era, while demonstrating the US Air Force’s transformation into the high-tech, cutting-edge organization that defeated Saddam Hussein during Operation Desert Storm. 

From the list:

The best books on military aviation

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Book cover of My War Gone By, I Miss It So

My War Gone By, I Miss It So

By Anthony Loyd

Why this book?

The effects of war don’t only affect the soldiers on the battlefield. This memoir by British war correspondent Anthony Loyd, who covered the war in Bosnia and the conflict in Chechnya, and was himself a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, illuminates the mindset and the consequences felt by anyone involved or witness to acts of violence in war. By turns brutal and lyrical, it is not a narrative of distant analysis that one would expect from a journalist. Loyd states unequivocally that to be “neutral” no matter what actually undermines an honest accounting of conflict and the actors involved.…

From the list:

The best books on the personal impact of war

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Book cover of The Fist of God

The Fist of God

By Frederick Forsyth

Why this book?

Though not Forsyth’s best-known thriller, The Fist of God is reputedly his favorite. I credit this to the fascinating complexity of the storylines, one subplot after another intricately woven together, and to the way this complexity mirrors the time and circumstance of its setting: the first Gulf War. Forsyth’s vision of the mysterious weapon of mass destruction is a supergun, innocently developed by a Western engineer, but repurposed by the Iraqis as a means to launch a massive gas attack against an invading force. Though The Day of the Jackal has always been a political thriller favorite of mine, after…

From the list:

The best underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers

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

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

By William G Pagonis, Jeffrey L. Cruikshank

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books to become a self-starter

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Book cover of Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat

By Dan Hampton

Why this book?

Few histories have been written about the F-16, much less from the perspective of the pilots who flew it in combat.  Dan Hampton offers his unique insights into the world of American airpower. From Desert Storm to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Hampton logged 608 flight hours across 151 combat missions. From this deftly written account, we relive the days of “Shock and Awe” from the pilot’s seat.  

From the list:

The best books on military aviation

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Book cover of Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power

Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power

By John France

Why this book?

John France has a knack for making the history of war interesting and readable, without taking away its gore and horror, without making you think it in any way romantic or desirable. The title already captures it: the book is largely about the rise of Europe (or later: the West) on the back of military prowess, but at what perilous price! The book aptly traces military traditions and continuity of ideas and concepts, but also profound changes, from Antiquity to the present, giving us a grasp of the essence of warfare during different periods. This book can be said to…

From the list:

The best books on war in general

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