The most recommended books about the United States Army

Who picked these books? Meet our 38 experts.

38 authors created a book list connected to the United States Army, and here are their favorite United States Army books.
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Book cover of Rangers at War: LRRPs in Vietnam

Michael Lee Lanning Author Of Inside the LRRPs: Rangers in Vietnam

From my list on long range reconnaissance patrols and Rangers In The Vietnam War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served as an infantry platoon leader, reconnaissance platoon leader, and rifle company commander in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. I was an instructor in the Florida Phase of the U.S. Army Ranger School for two years.

Michael's book list on long range reconnaissance patrols and Rangers In The Vietnam War

Michael Lee Lanning Why did Michael love this book?

Stanton, one of the earliest and most prolific writers on the Vietnam War, details LRRP/Ranger operations primarily through unit Quarterly After Action Reports from the National Archives. Although mostly numbers and places with few actual combat stories, the book nonetheless offers an accurate assessment of the actions of LRRPs/Rangers in the war.

By Shelby L. Stanton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Shelby Stanton has emerged as the leading military historian on the war in Southest Asia."
COL. CHARLES B. MacDONALD
Author of COMPANY COMMANDER and A TIME FOR TRUMPETS
One of the toughest and most challenging jobs in Vietnam was to be a U.S. Army Ranger running Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols. The LRRPs took volunteers only, and training was designed to weed out all but the best. What emerged was an elite outfit of warriors in the finest sense of the word. Now Shelby Stanton, renowned military authority on the war in Southeast Asia, presents the first and only definitive history…


Book cover of Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being

Michelle Waitzman Author Of Be as Happy as Your Dog: 16 Dog-Tested Ways to Be Happier Using Pawsitive Psychology

From Michelle's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Dog lover Plain language writer Kitchen queen Happy wanderer Curious mind

Michelle's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Michelle Waitzman Why did Michelle love this book?

I did a deep dive into positive psychology when I was researching my own book, and Martin Seligman is the godfather in this field of research.

Flourish goes beyond his earlier work to look at total well-being (not only happiness) and how we can all live our best lives. This book is a bit more academic than some self-help readers might like, but I love hearing about the research that backs up the suggestions. Show me the proof! He does this and more, giving readers the opportunity to examine their own lives and how they could become more satisfying by adopting a different outlook and some new practices.

By Martin E. P. Seligman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness comes “a relentlessly optimistic guidebook on finding and securing individual happiness” (Kirkus Reviews).

With this unprecedented promise, internationally esteemed psychologist Martin Seligman begins Flourish, his first book in ten years—and the first to present his dynamic new concept of what well-being really is. Traditionally, the goal of psychology has been to relieve human suffering, but the goal of the Positive Psychology movement, which Dr. Seligman has led for fifteen years, is different—it’s about actually raising the bar for the human condition.

Flourish builds on Dr. Seligman’s game-changing work on optimism,…


Book cover of To Hunt a Holy Man

Ron Felber Author Of Mojave Incident: Inspired by a Chilling Story of Alien Abduction

From Ron's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Curious Passionate Determined Sensitive Humble

Ron's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Ron Felber Why did Ron love this book?

To Hunt a Holy Man cuts across the cultural landscape of Vietnam and Thailand circa the 1960s when war raged and everyday Americans drafted into the army became acquainted with drugs, killing, and madness.

Fleeing circumstances impossible to bear, a US Army Catholic priest goes AWOL in search of spiritual fulfillment and a Buddhist monastic life far from death and the battlefield. Enter Fletcher’s protagonist, Mordechai Goodcut, tough, devoted to military discipline, cut off from human emotion, and charged with the pursuit and capture of the priest-deserter. The hunt for the Holy Man is on!

Who could know that Mordechai would, himself, embark on a spiritual journey that would change both of their lives forever? 

By Michael Fletcher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"To Hunt a Holy Man brings to mind the likes of Graham Greene and Brian Moore. Readers will be moved by the depth of characterization and plot which is as intriguing as it is important." –Ron Felber, bestselling author of A Man of Indeterminate Value

Leaving the raw battlefields of Vietnam, To Hunt a Holy Man, cuts across the rich cultural landscape of Buddhist Thailand. Its characters are enmeshed in war-born adventure, danger, sexual encounters, and spiritual quests. Both Hunter and Holy Man have everything to win-but someone has to lose.

The Holy Man is a US Army Catholic priest…


Book cover of Valdez Is Coming

Sam Foster Author Of Non-Semper Fidelis

From my list on showing that a man is the sum of his choices.

Why am I passionate about this?

I heard a Jordan Peterson interview in which he boiled down my entire life’s struggle in a single phrase.  The interviewer was pushing Jordon on the subject of male toxicity. Jordon said something like, “If a man is entirely unwilling to fight under any circumstance, he is merely a weakling. Ask in martial arts trainer and they will tell you they teach two things – the ability to fight and self-control. A man who knows how and also knows how to control himself is a man.”

Sam's book list on showing that a man is the sum of his choices

Sam Foster Why did Sam love this book?

Valdez is a humble and quiet Hispanic living in a Texas border town in the 1870s. When a hand riding with the most powerful rancher in the valley inadvertently kills a man, Valdez assumes responsibility of asking the rancher to pay a remittance to the widow. For his trouble he’s beaten almost to death. When he recovers Valdez becomes again the man he was in his youth, a US Army scout and sets out to destroy the rancher.  He kills one of the ranches thugs with a shot at 1,000 yards.  

Valdez is finally captured by the rancher’s hands. The foreman looks at Valdez’s rifle and, knowing what he’s seeing, asks, “Buffalo hunter?” Valdez responds, “No, Apache.” The foreman asks, “When?” Valdez’s response marks him as a man who has learned and earned wisdom. “Before I knew better.”

If you wonder why this book has stayed with me for so many years, read…

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Valdez Is Coming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No writer chronicles the battles of misfits, underdogs and renegades like Elmore Leonard ...

VALDEZ IS COMING is a stunning stale of morality and justice in which a simple, honest man is transformed into a killer - and begins a long journey of revenge against those who scarred his soul for ever.

Elmore Leonard's Western novels stand as some of the most vivid writing of his career. With all of his trademark sharp dialogue and set against a beautifully evoked landscape, this is a classic work that captures the wild and glorious spirit of the American West.


Book cover of Ask, Tell

Jae Author Of Just a Touch Away

From my list on women who love women and romance novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a full-time writer, part-time editor, and avid reader of romances between queer women. I’ve just published my twenty-third novel, and I’m still amazed and humbled at getting to live my dream: writing sapphic romances for a living. Discovering sapphic books was a life-saver for me since I grew up in a tiny little village, with no openly LGBT+ people around, and I love knowing that my books are now doing the same for my readers. 

Jae's book list on women who love women and romance novels

Jae Why did Jae love this book?

Ask, Tell is the story of Captain Sabine Fleischer, a surgeon in the US Army during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era. The book is told entirely from Sabine’s point of view, so as a reader, I could really feel her pining for her superior officer, stunning and competent Colonel Rebecca Keane. It’s a story that will make you laugh and cry and understand much better what LGBT+ people serving in the military went through during that time. 

By E.J. Noyes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Where can you turn when you’re caught in a crossfire of war and passion?

Captain Sabine Fleischer is a skilled and dedicated U.S. Army surgeon deployed to a combat hospital in Afghanistan. She is also one of the thousands of troops who are forced to serve in silence because of the military’s anti-gay policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).”

Usually driven and focused, Sabine finds that battles raging both inside and outside the perimeter walls are making it more and more difficult for her to deal with her emotions. Dealing with loss and mortality, lack of privacy, sleep deprivation,…


Book cover of Secrets on the Wind

Amanda Cabot Author Of The Spark of Love

From my list on to forget you’re living in the 21st century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like Thomas Jefferson, I cannot live without books. And, while I read in a variety of genres, from early childhood on, my favorite stories were the ones that began with “once upon a time.” My fascination with historicals started with one of my father’s few books from his childhood, The Cave Twins, which introduced me to a world far different from suburban America. For me, the appeal of historicals is the opportunity to learn about another era and to escape from the modern world. And so, if you want to escape from what seems like an endless pandemic, I invite you to explore the worlds six talented authors have created.

Amanda's book list on to forget you’re living in the 21st century

Amanda Cabot Why did Amanda love this book?

“You ought to write inspirationals.” Every time a reader told me that, I’d shake my head and reply, “They’re too preachy.” But then a dear friend’s death made me reconsider the direction of my writing, and I began to research the inspirational market. One of the first books I read was Secrets on the Wind, the first of Whitson’s Pine Ridge Portraits trilogy. To my delight, she combined meticulous research, sprinkling her story with “telling” details that brought the Nebraska prairie and Fort Robinson to life, and unforgettable characters to create a story that’s lingered in my memory for more than a decade. Best of all, she demonstrated that faith-friendly fiction doesn’t need to be preachy. I’m deeply grateful to her because Secrets on the Wind convinced me that this was the right market for me. 

By Stephanie Grace Whitson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Pine Ridge Portraits series opens as two soldiers discover a desperate woman hidden in a cellar, then take her back with them to their U.S. Army post at Fort Robinson. The painful secrets surrounding Laina Gray and her seeming indiffernce toward those who try to help her will touch readers deeply as her journey to faith unfolds. Every effort is made to reach out to this strange, silent woman, but after living through her worst nightmare, she isn't soon ready to trust anyone with her secrets...not God, and definitely not the handsome soldier who tries to befriend her.


Book cover of Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler

Stephanie Vanderslice Author Of The Lost Son

From my list on stories of World War II you’ve never heard before.

Why am I passionate about this?

In writing The Lost Son, which is loosely based on family history, I immersed myself in the history of World War II and in the world between the wars. It was important to me to understand this period from both sides—from the perspective of Germans who were either forced to flee their homeland or witness its destruction from within by a madman, and from the perspective of Americans with German ties who also fought fascism. The stories of ordinary people during this time are far more nuanced than the epic battles that World War II depicted, as the stories of ordinary people often are. 

Stephanie's book list on stories of World War II you’ve never heard before

Stephanie Vanderslice Why did Stephanie love this book?

Sons and Soldiers tells the stories of the Ritchie Boys, a special military intelligence unit of the US Army in World War II trained in Camp Ritchie, Maryland and made up of German-Austrian men, often German Jews who had fled Nazi persecution. These men had everything to lose: if they were captured and identified behind enemy lines, they would be killed on the spot. However, they also knew that their special knowledge of the German language and German culture gave them an advantage against Hitler’s army. The Ritchie Boys were critical to the Allied victory. Not surprisingly, those who survived went on to become leaders in American society, great heroes who understood that there are some things worth dying for. 

By Bruce Henderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The last great, untold story of WWII... highly compelling' Daily Mail

Fleeing Nazi persecution for America in the 1930s, the young German-born Jews who would come to be known as The Ritchie Boys were labelled 'enemy aliens' when war broke out. Although of the age to be inducted into the U.S. military, their German accents made them distrusted. Until one day in 1942, when the Pentagon woke up to the incredible asset they had in their ranks, and sent these young recruits to a secret military intelligence training centre at Camp Ritchie, Maryland.

These men knew the language, culture and…


Book cover of The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual

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?

Military doctrine is rarely particularly enthralling reading. However, this manual, published by the University of Chicago Press, was featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It provided a road map for General Petraeus to follow on the ground in Iraq with its focus on creating an Army that could learn and adapt while protecting the population rather than creating more insurgents with excessive violence. For more than two centuries, the Army’s missions had been “Attack” and “Defend”; this book added “Protect,” making it perhaps the most important Army doctrinal manual since the end of the Cold War.

By United States Army,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the U.S. military invaded Iraq, it lacked a common understanding of the problems inherent in counterinsurgency campaigns. It had neither studied them, nor developed doctrine and tactics to deal with them. It is fair to say that in 2003, most Army officers knew more about the U.S. Civil War than about counterinsurgency. This volume was written to fill that void. The result of unprecedented collaboration among top U.S. military experts, scholars, and practitioners in the field, the manual espouses an approach to combat that emphasizes constant adaptation and learning, the importance of decentralized decision making, the need to understand…


Book cover of Storming Heaven

Meredith Sue Willis Author Of Their Houses

From my list on great American stories from Appalachia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in West Virginia and believed you had to leave the region to write. Only after I’d published my first novel did I discover books like these and many more. I have become a wide reader in our literature, with a special interest in novels that both tell the stories of individuals and families and explore the connection between resource extraction and poverty. It’s also a pleasure to read about regional successes as well as losses.  

Meredith's book list on great American stories from Appalachia

Meredith Sue Willis Why did Meredith love this book?

West Virginian Denise Giardina’s brilliant Great American Novel is the fictionalized account of the mine wars of 1920 and 1922 in the coal fields of southern West Virginia. 

I love it for the mix of the lives of real (albeit fictional) human beings with actual history and allusions to labor figures and other American political struggles and strikes. Giardina, an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church, grew up herself in a mining camp, and gives us a perfect introduction to the struggles of industrial workers of central Appalachia– and a grand epic of American life.

By Denise Giardina,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Brilliant, diamond-hard fiction, heartwrenching, tough and tender.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

Annadel, West Virginia, was a small town rich in coal, farms, and close-knit families, all destroyed when the coal company came in. It stole everything it hadn't bothered to buy—land deeds, private homes, and ultimately, the souls of its men and women.

Four people tell this powerful, deeply moving tale: Activist Mayor C.J. Marcum. Fierce, loveless union man Rondal Lloyd. Gutsy nurse Carrie Bishop, who loved Rondal. And lonely, Sicilian immigrant Rose Angelelli, who lost four sons to the deadly mines.

They all bear witness to nearly forgotten events…


Book cover of Preparing for War: The Emergence of the Modern U.S. Army, 1815-1917

Brian McAllister Linn Author Of Elvis's Army: Cold War GIs and the Atomic Battlefield

From my list on the peacetime US Army.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of modern (post-1898) American military history who has been fortunate enough to be at a university that supports my research. I have always been fascinated by the “black holes” in military history, the topics that are not glamorous like the big wars, charismatic generals, or Washington-level civil-military relations. This has led me to study such obscure topics as the conquest and pacification of the Philippines, the forty-year plans for Pacific defense prior to World War II, and how military officers have envisioned future war. The peacetime US Army is a terrific “black hole” because so many people, civilians, and military, assume that they already know that history.

Brian's book list on the peacetime US Army

Brian McAllister Linn Why did Brian love this book?

A pathbreaking study of the century-long transformation from frontier constabulary and border protection force to a modern army organized to wage industrial warfare against a rival Great Power. Clark brilliantly traces the intellectual evolution of Army concepts of future conflict, how they were shaped by experiences and observations of war, and the emergence of distinct generations of reformers. Exceptionally well researched and written, Clark’s work undermines much of both the historical and theoretical interpretations of military reform, proving that the path to the modern army was tortuous, contested, and uneven, with yesterday’s reformers becoming today’s reactionaries. The book is not only a terrific history, it is essential reading for those who want to understand today’s Army.

By J. P. Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The U.S. Army has always regarded preparing for war as its peacetime role, but how it fulfilled that duty has changed dramatically over time. J. P. Clark traces the evolution of the Army between the War of 1812 and World War I, showing how differing personal experiences of war and peace among successive generations of professional soldiers left their mark upon the Army and its ways.

Nineteenth-century officers believed that generalship and battlefield command were more a matter of innate ability than anything institutions could teach. They saw no benefit in conceptual preparation beyond mastering technical skills like engineering and…