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Thread: Why Is The SWJ Recommended Reading List Devoid of Fiction?

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    Council Member CPT Foley's Avatar
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    Default Why Is The SWJ Recommended Reading List Devoid of Fiction?

    The Yacoubian Building (Arabic: عمارة يعقوبيان ʿImārat Yaʿqūbīān) by Egyptian author Alaa el-Aswany is more insightful on the appeal of the Islamic extremism than anything on the list.

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Why Is The SWJ Recommended Reading List Devoid of Fiction?
    It doesn't have to be...just seems to have turned out that way. But now we have a recommendation for a new book. Do you have any other info to add, like a brief review or layout of the book's themes?

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    Check out the "what are you reading now" thread. There is a broader inventory there.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    I vote for he first three books of the "Ender's" series by Orson Scott Card.

    Each one embodies a key element of Small Wars. The first is about leadership, the second is about cultural relevance and the third is about ethics.

    Must read fiction for COIN afficianadoes.

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    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein.

    An outstanding work of fiction that describes an insurgency from inception to independence, loosely based on the American Revoltion (or the Irish-German-Presbyterian Uprising for our British readers). The roles of media, communications, lethal force, cell structures, and financing are discussed intelligently.


    "The Prince" by Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling.

    A compilation of the Falkenberg's Legion background and stories in a single volume. The last half is about an insurgency with the full range of insurgent and counter-insurgent activities.

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    Council Member CPT Foley's Avatar
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    Default Some Info on The Yacoubian Building

    (From Amazon) The Yacoubian Building holds all that Egypt was and has become over the 75 years since its namesake was built on one of downtown Cairo’s main boulevards. From the pious son of the building’s doorkeeper and the raucous, impoverished squatters on its roof, via the tattered aristocrat and the gay intellectual in its apartments, to the ruthless businessman whose stores occupy its ground floor, each sharply etched character embodies a facet of modern Egypt -- where political corruption, ill-gotten wealth, and religious hypocrisy are natural allies, where the arrogance and defensiveness of the powerful find expression in the exploitation of the weak, where youthful idealism can turn quickly to extremism, and where an older, less violent vision of society may yet prevail. Alaa Al Aswany’s novel caused an unprecedented stir when it was first published in 2002 and has remained the world’s best selling novel in the Arabic language since.

    About the Author
    Alaa Al Aswany was born in 1957. A dentist, whose first office was in the Yacoubian Building, Al Aswany has written prolifically for Egyptian newspapers across the political spectrum on literature, politics, and social issues.

    --------------

    It's flat-out disturbing, it paints the portrait of multiple sectors of Egyptian society and it's rotten to the core.

    -The aspiring police candidate who turns to the mosque after he is rejected from the academy simply because his father works as a doorman

    -His ex-girl friend who finally gives in and starts giving her boss what he wants, because that's the only way a woman in Egypt can hold a job outside the home

    -The gay journalist living in fear the police will raid his meeting place

    -"The Big Guy" aka, Mubarak, who gets a 25% cut of any significant commerce

    Etc., etc.

    Disturbing, but insightful.

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Heart of Darkness: J. Conrad

    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpeper View Post
    Heart of Darkness: J. Conrad

    Excellent pick!

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    All for this thread. Though there are many esteemed writers on this board, there are few novelists

    ...now I just have to write another one!
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Back in the mid-seventies, an "old" Sea Dog (or he may have been a Devil Dog) noticed me reading F. Spencer Chapman's, The Jungle Is Neutral. The next time our paths crossed he handed over a copy of Robert Roth's, Sand In The Wind, "Here ya go." I never did finish Chapman's book. Go figure.

    The Jungle Is Neutral

    Sand In The Wind

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    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    By Jean Lartéguy:

    Yellow Fever
    The Centurions
    The Praetorians

    "I'd like to have two Armies -- one for display, with lovely guns, tanks, little Soldiers, staffs, distinguished and doddering Generals and dear little regimental officers, who would be deeply concerned over their General's bowel movements or their Colonel's piles; an Army that would be shown for a modest fee on every fairground in the country."

    "The other would be the real one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage uniforms, who would not be put on display but from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That's the Army in which I should like to fight."

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    Last edited by J Wolfsberger; 05-17-2009 at 10:47 PM.
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    Council Member ODB's Avatar
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    Default Gates of Fire

    IMO Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield should be required reading for everyone in the military.

    Gates of Fire
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    Last edited by ODB; 05-18-2009 at 01:13 AM.
    ODB

    Exchange with an Iraqi soldier during FID:

    Why did you not clear your corner?

    Because we are on a base and it is secure.

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    Default Brotherhood of War

    For general, good-time, fun Army fiction, try the "Brotherhood of War" series by WEB Griffin. Starts with "The Lieutenants" and follow a group of officers and their families through their careers. Starts in WWII and ends with Vietnam, if my memory serves me. There are a dozen or so books in the series, and this group of guys always seem to be in combat and at the forefront of any new Army trend (ie: tanks, aviation, Special Forces, helicopters, etc...). The series is very entertaining, and you really get to love the characters. Leadership and Army / military history more than any particular small wars, though Vietnam and Congo play key rolls in the later book. I read the series while deployed in Iraq, and they were a good escape. Worth the time if you have it.

    For our Marine brothers, Griffin also has "The Corps" series. I got about half way through those, but got sidetracked. Focuses on pre-WW2 - WW2 Marines. Also great reads, especially if you're a WW2 buff.
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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patmc View Post
    For our Marine brothers, Griffin also has "The Corps" series. I got about half way through those, but got sidetracked. Focuses on pre-WW2 - WW2 Marines. Also great reads, especially if you're a WW2 buff.
    I have everything WEB Griffin ever wrote except for his behind the badge series. For some reason I don't read police fiction.

    I just bought blackfoot. I don't read much military fiction beyond hammers slammers, and WEB Griffin. I did read the "Net" series by Clancy but though it has elements of military it is sideways to the topic.
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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Default A lot of great suggestions by everybody

    The Man Eaters of Tsavo

    Considered nonfiction but the colonel did embellish quite a bit to make it fiction enough and much later a great fiction movie.

    BTW, did anyone recommend The Killer Angels yet?

    There is also this really thick book titled, Once an Eagle.

    America's fighting men have turned to Once an Eagle as a sourcebook for the military's core values since its publication at the height of the Vietnam War. The novel, following the careers of virtuous Sam Damon and opportunistic Courtney Massengale, is required reading for all members of the United States Marine Corps and frequently taught in leadership courses at West Point.
    Last edited by Culpeper; 05-18-2009 at 04:02 AM.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


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    Registered User Marble Model's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    I vote for he first three books of the "Ender's" series by Orson Scott Card.

    Each one embodies a key element of Small Wars. The first is about leadership, the second is about cultural relevance and the third is about ethics.

    Must read fiction for COIN afficianadoes.
    Agree; the Ender's series could serve as a refreshing change of pace for those that only read non-fiction warfare literature. Many parallels to leadership that could be applied in modern business or Small Wars in the first title--Ender's Game...just a great book.
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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default My, we DO think alike!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein.

    "The Prince" by Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling.
    Add in the Draka series by Sterling, Starship Troopers (BOOK, not movie) by Heinlein and Count Belisarius by Robert Graves.

    Of course, I also have a major weakness for Eric Flint's 1632 series, and Rob Thornton introduced me to the John Scalzi Old Man's War series which is pretty good.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Default Thought of another

    The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth

    The rest of you have already mentioned most of the SciFi. Except for Dune.
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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    The rest of you have already mentioned most of the SciFi. Except for Dune.
    Never really liked Worms in a Sandbox much . Of course, there's always the Aldenata series by John Ringo .
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
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