Terrible Swift Sword: The Life of General Philip H. Sheridan by Joseph Wheelan

General Philip Sheridan is best known as the third member of the triumvirate of Union generals (the others being Grant and Sherman) that led the Union Army to victory over the Confederate Army.  Joseph Wheelan brings Sheridan back-to-life in his book entitled Terrible Swift Sword: The Life of General Philip H. Sheridan. Sheridan started the war in obscurity as a lieutenant, but quickly rose in the ranks partly through his own actions and partly because of good fortune.  Wheelan adroitly...

Continue reading

The Last Full Measure: How Soldiers Die by Michael Stephenson

The Last Full Measure: How Soldiers Die in Battle by Michael Stephenson is a bit of a morbid topic, but it is insightful about the nature of combat and the differences between cultures regarding combat.  Stephenson tells the story of how soldiers throughout time have died in battle. As the publisher notes in its description of the book, the book is organized chronologically with frequent comparisons between different ages.  It covers the Greek phalanx and the Roman legion, medieval warfare in...

Continue reading

Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions: Farnsworth's Charge, South Cavalry Field, and the Battle of Fairfield, July 3, 1863 by Eric J. Wittenberg

I recently read another book from one of my favorite Civil War authors, Eric Wittenberg.  His latest book, Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions, is a revised edition that he originally wrote in 1998.   He updated the book because of new research, interpretations, and conclusions of the cavalry actions. Wittenberg is my favorite writer not only because he writes about some of the less studied and written areas of the Civil War, but he does it with excellent prose. Here is a synopsis...

Continue reading

Last Man Standing: The 1st Marine Regiment on Peleliu by Dick Camp

When World War II enthusiasts hear the word Peleliu, they think of the pointless battle in the Pacific that was a meat grinder for the 1st Marine Division.  Dick Camp details the battle for Peleliu from the perspective of the 1st Division’s 1st Marine Regiment – the Marines known as “The Old Breed” – in Last Man Standing: The 1st Marine Regiment on Peleliu, September 15-21, 1944. Here is a description of the book from the publisher (Zenith Press): One of the...

Continue reading

Inferno: The Epic Life and Death Struggle of the USS Franklin in World War II by Joseph A. Springer

I have been on a World War II history kick lately.  This kick continues with my most recent read – Joseph A. Springer’s Inferno: The Epic Life and Death Struggle of the USS Franklin in World War II.  It is an oral history that follows the USS Franklin(a fleet aircraft carrier) from the laying of its keel in Newport News, Virginia to its battles during World War II. I normally do not like oral histories because many times they are choppy – the first-hand accounts are not...

Continue reading

Omar Bradley: General at War by Jim DeFelice

Many people in their late thirties or older know of Omar Bradley from Karl Malden’s portrayal of him in the movie Patton.  He was portrayed as a bland, risk-averse character who was overshadowed by the flamboyant Patton (played by George C. Scott).  Jim DeFelice tries to dispel this image of Bradley in Omar Bradley: General at War. DeFelice discusses Bradley’s rise in rank before World War II.  Although never serving in combat, he gained valuable leadership experience in various...

Continue reading

Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq by Mark Urban

There is no doubt that the special forces of the United States have been heavily involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars since those wars’ initial stages.  However, many do not know how much assistance the Americans received from its allies, particularly the British.  Mark Urban highlights the efforts of British special forces to assist American special forces in taking down Saddam’s forces and the insurgents of al-Qaeda and Shia in his book Task Force Black: The Explosive True...

Continue reading

Noble Warrior: The Life and Times of Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston

I have recently read two books on the Vietnam War. The first of these, Noble Warrior: The Life and Times of Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret.), Medal of Honor by James E. Livingston, Colin D. Heaton, and Anne-Marie Lewis, is a biography of Major General James E. Livingston – a Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War. The book is a quick read at 272 pages. It includes 23 b/w photographs and seven maps (which are very helpful in following the action in the...

Continue reading