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

  1. #21
    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth

    The rest of you have already mentioned most of the SciFi. Except for Dune.
    Yeah, The Dogs of War!
    "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?"


  2. #22
    Council Member CPT Foley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpeper View Post
    Heart of Darkness: J. Conrad

    Great recommendation. It is notably missing from the SWJ reading list. Lord Jim too.

  3. #23
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    Strongly second MarcT's proposal for Starship Troopers. In my view perhaps one of the greatest books of fiction ever written about war and society.

    Also consider Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo.

    gian

  4. #24
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Hi Gian,

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Strongly second MarcT's proposal for Starship Troopers. In my view perhaps one of the greatest books of fiction ever written about war and society.
    Personally, I always thought that Heinlein should be thought of as a philosopher - Starship Troopers is definitely a work of philosophy, as is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Space Cadet. I've often wanted to teach a course in either H&MP or "Doubt" !

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Also consider Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo.
    That one, I haven't read, Gian. I'll check it out.

    Let me toss in another one - Apuleius' The Golden Ass. It is not, per se, strictly about the military and society, but it does have an immense amount of examination about how people come to believe what they do. as a side note, The Golden Ass was one of the few books that Lawrence carried with him while on campaign....
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  5. #25
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    Default Metallica

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Also consider Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty sure that this book was the inspiration for Metallica's song and video "One" about a man who is wounded in war and basically left a vegetable, except he can still think and feel.

    I tried reading this book in college, but just could not get into it. If my memory serves me, the intro talking about Trumbo's blacklisting was pretty interesting, though it portrayed him as more of a martyr than author.
    "What do you think this is, some kind of encounter group?"
    - Harry Callahan, The Enforcer.

  6. #26
    Council Member CPT Foley's Avatar
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    Some Graham Greene is proably in order too, e.g., "The Quiet American, "Our Man in Havana." It's pretty cynical stuff, but he seems to have his finger on the pulse of the the post-colonial, emerging American activist Foreign policy tensions.

  7. #27
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    Default A Good Man in Africa

    here is another Africa novel that is worth a look--the movie isn't bad either
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  8. #28
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patmc View Post
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty sure that this book was the inspiration for Metallica's song and video "One" about a man who is wounded in war and basically left a vegetable, except he can still think and feel.

    I tried reading this book in college, but just could not get into it. If my memory serves me, the intro talking about Trumbo's blacklisting was pretty interesting, though it portrayed him as more of a martyr than author.
    that would fit. remember the book came out on the eve of WWII and was well recieved--until the left picked it up as a reason to stay out of the war--until Hitler invaded the USSR--and later became the reason Trumbo was blacklisted

    It was Timothy Bottom's first movie and redone as a stage-movie in 2008.
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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    The movie was more the inspiration than the book, but you would be correct about "One".
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  10. #30
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    The Thirteenth Valley is pretty good. I also have a soft spot for Leonard Scott's stuff (some of it, at least...The Hill, The Expendables, and The Iron Men are all pretty good). Fred Chiaventone's stuff (Moon of Bitter Cold, A Road We Do Not Know) is pretty good for a look at the Frontier Army and the Indian Wars.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Tom and Steve are right with their explanations of the book, movie, and metalica video. I show the video in class usually in the concluding lesson for our block on World War I and explain the background to the video, movie, and book. But I have also used it at the end of the second semester for any number of classes on post vietnam. Either way it is a powerful video that crosses a number of different historical and contextual points.

    g

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    that would fit. remember the book came out on the eve of WWII and was well recieved--until the left picked it up as a reason to stay out of the war--until Hitler invaded the USSR--and later became the reason Trumbo was blacklisted

    It was Timothy Bottom's first movie and redone as a stage-movie in 2008.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    Tom and Steve are right with their explanations of the book, movie, and metalica video. I show the video in class usually in the concluding lesson for our block on World War I and explain the background to the video, movie, and book. But I have also used it at the end of the second semester for any number of classes on post vietnam. Either way it is a powerful video that crosses a number of different historical and contextual points.

    g
    "One" is one of my favorite songs of all time...

    Metallica also has a song called "For Whom the Bell Tolls"...not sure if it has anything to do with the Hemingway novel about the Spanish Civil War.

    Lyrics:
    Make his fight on the hill in the early day
    Constant chill deep inside
    Shouting gun, on they run through the endless grey
    On the fight, for they are right, yes, by whos to say?
    For a hill men would kill, why? they do not know
    Suffered wounds test there their pride
    Men of five, still alive through the raging glow
    Gone insane from the pain that they surely know

    For whom the bell tolls
    Time marches on
    For whom the bell tolls

    Take a look to the sky just before you die
    It is the last time you will
    Blackened roar massive roar fills the crumbling sky
    Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry
    Stranger now, are his eyes, to this mystery
    He hears the silence so loud
    Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be
    Now they will see what will be, blinded eyes to see
    And lyrics to "One"
    I cant remember anything
    Cant tell if this is true or dream
    Deep down inside I feel to scream
    This terrible silence stops me

    Now that the war is through with me
    Im waking up I can not see
    That there is not much left of me
    Nothing is real but pain now

    Hold my breath as I wish for death
    Oh please god,wake me

    Back in the womb its much too real
    In pumps life that I must feel
    But cant look forward to reveal
    Look to the time when Ill live

    Fed through the tube that sticks in me
    Just like a wartime novelty
    Tied to machines that make me be
    Cut this life off from me

    Hold my breath as I wish for death
    Oh please god,wake me
    Now the world is gone Im just one
    Oh god,help me hold my breath as I wish for death
    Oh please God help me

    Darkness imprisoning me
    All that I see
    Absolute horror
    I cannot live
    I cannot die
    Trapped in myself
    Body my holding cell

    Landmine has taken my sight
    Taken my speech
    Taken my hearing
    Taken my arms
    Taken my legs
    Taken my soul
    Left me with life in hell
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

  13. #33
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure that "For Whom the Bell Tolls" ties back to Hemingway. At the time they did that, Metallica was still heavily influenced by Iron Maiden's stuff, and with Cliff Burton still alive that was a given. I think he had a hand in "One" before he was killed in that bus crash.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  14. #34
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    The Casca book series by Sgt. Barry Sadler (yes the one with the song) was pretty good.

    http://www.amazon.com/Eternal-Mercen.../dp/0515095354

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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    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.
    Oddball trivia factoid: I've been corresponding periodically with David Drake since the late 1980s; first by letter and then by e-mails. He's really a nice guy and is an extremely driven writer.

    BTW, I dislike the genre of police fiction as well, but I await, with baited breath each and every book my John Sandford....

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    I liked James Clavell's books:

    Tai-Pan.
    Shogun.
    King Rat.
    Gai-Jin.
    Noble House.
    Children's Story.
    Whirlwind.

    In these novels you will find insurgency, revolution, grand strategy, torture, intercultural communication, finance, indoctrination and just about everything that is discussed on the forum. They needn't be read in order, although I would advise it, except Tai-Pan should be read before Gai-Jin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth

    The rest of you have already mentioned most of the SciFi. Except for Dune.
    What about Forever War?

    http://www.amazon.com/Forever-War-Jo.../dp/0312536631

    There's some of the Fred Saberhagen Berzerker-series short stories and some of Keith Laumer's bolo short stories that are good and probably topical (the full length novels tend to not be very good).

    A Fire Upon the Deep is a great book, but I don't know if I can do any gymnastics to tie it into COIN, its just a great book...

  18. #38
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default Jkm...

    the Metallica song For Whom the Bell Tolls is based mostly on Chapter 27 in Hemingway's novel, where El Sordo and his men are killed in an air attack on the hill they were defending, with allusions to the final chapter where Jordon is lying wounded, awaiting the Fascists, and is contemplating his death.

    Have to add:

    Jones’ From Here to Eternity

    Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny
    Last edited by Umar Al-Mokhtār; 06-03-2009 at 03:47 PM.
    "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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    Default I can't believe...

    ..no one seems to have mentioned 'Once An Eagle' by Anton Myrer - ultimate novel of command, integrity and self respect. It also has sex in it.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Once-Eagle-M...4111518&sr=1-1


    Amazon Review:

    Anton Myrer, a former U.S. Marine, has written the all-time greatest novel of a soldier's life of service. The protagonist, Sam Damon, was commissioned on the battlefield but never forgot his simple and honorable roots as a citizen and enlisted man. He lived a life of dedicated service, loyal to his subordinates, leaders, the Army, and the nation, and rose to two-star General officer rank. His nemesis was a West Point graduate, Courtney Massengale, who was never a soldier at heart, but merely a careerist... out for himself. On one level, these two characters provide contrasting types of military officers, one noble and self-sacrificing, and and the other obsessed with personal aggrandizement. On a more intimate level, these two characters represent the struggle within every soldier's heart between the allure of promotion and prestige, and the call to duty and humble loyalty to his men and profession. Myrer died of cancer on Robert E. Lee's birthday in January 1996. I read the book before I was commissioned at West Point in 1976 and the story stuck with me throughout my own humble 20+ year career as a constant conscience and counselor against self-promotion. This is a character-building tale!

  20. #40
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Damon's Demons Live

    Quote Originally Posted by Coldstreamer View Post
    ..no one seems to have mentioned 'Once An Eagle' by Anton Myrer - ultimate novel of command, integrity and self respect. It also has sex in it.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Once-Eagle-M...4111518&sr=1-1


    Amazon Review:

    Anton Myrer, a former U.S. Marine, has written the all-time greatest novel of a soldier's life of service. The protagonist, Sam Damon, was commissioned on the battlefield but never forgot his simple and honorable roots as a citizen and enlisted man. He lived a life of dedicated service, loyal to his subordinates, leaders, the Army, and the nation, and rose to two-star General officer rank. His nemesis was a West Point graduate, Courtney Massengale, who was never a soldier at heart, but merely a careerist... out for himself. On one level, these two characters provide contrasting types of military officers, one noble and self-sacrificing, and and the other obsessed with personal aggrandizement. On a more intimate level, these two characters represent the struggle within every soldier's heart between the allure of promotion and prestige, and the call to duty and humble loyalty to his men and profession. Myrer died of cancer on Robert E. Lee's birthday in January 1996. I read the book before I was commissioned at West Point in 1976 and the story stuck with me throughout my own humble 20+ year career as a constant conscience and counselor against self-promotion. This is a character-building tale!
    That's because Sam Damon was real!

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