An Insurgency Reading List From Max Brooks, Author Of 'World War Z'

The Long March
A scene from the film adaptation of 'World War Z'
Paramount Pictures

Too often the impulse when going through a reading list is to critique it, and point out the holes. I’ve been guilty of this myself.


But I think the more fruitful approach is to look for the books you didn’t expect and to wonder why they were included. What does the picker see that you perhaps didn’t?

I mention this because I was reading Max Brooks’ list on books on insurgency and he makes an important distinction with his categories: First, he looks at the insurgents themselves, too often overlooked. Only then does he turn to the counterinsurgents who lead most military reading lists on the subject. Then he turns to the scholarly studies. Then he has a history list. And finally, he tops it off with 60 suggestions from other people.

And yeah, I would have included The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa.

In other reading list news, here’s a holiday season offering from the estimable War on the Rocks.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Aliah Reyes, a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) recovery team recovery noncommissioned officer, sifts through dirt during a recovery mission in Lang Son Province, Vietnam, Oct. 29, 2019. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

The 80-minute ride each day to the site in Lang Son Province, Vietnam, through mostly unspoiled forestland and fields, reminded Air Force Master Sgt. Aliah Reyes a little of her hometown back in Maine.

The Eliot native recently returned from a 45-day mission to the Southeast Asian country, where she was part of a team conducting a search for a Vietnam War service member who went missing more than 45 years ago and is presumed dead.

Reyes, 38, enlisted in the Air Force out of high school and has spent more than half her life in military service. But she had never been a part of anything like this.

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"Quite frankly, this is not just about burn pits — it's about the way we go to war as a country," Stewart said during his Jan. 17 visit to Washington, D.C. "We always have money to make war. We need to always have money to take care of what happens to people who are selfless enough, patriotic enough, to wage those wars on our behalf."

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