The 8 Military History Books Tom Just Recommended

The Long March
Sam Fellman

On Sunday the NY Times ran one of my occasional surveys of new books on military history and national security issues.


I really liked ARMY OF NONE: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, by Paul Scharre, which I called “One of the most interesting books on military affairs that I have read in some time.” His “bottom line is that the more an autonomous weapon is let free to roam in time and space, the more likely it is that something will go catastrophically wrong.”

I also was impressed by William Harris’ QUICKSILVER WAR: Syria, Iraq and the Spiral of Conflict. He treats the wars in the two countries as one conflict, which I thought made sense in several ways.

Other books in the survey are listed below. I generally don’t mention a book unless I think it is worth reading. (The discard pile is huge. One fell over in my basement the other day.)

THE CALIPHATE AT WAR: Operational Realities and Innovations of the Islamic State by Ahmed S. Hashim

THE BOER WAR, by Martin Bossenbroek

THE KILLING SEASON: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66 by Geoffrey Robinson

THE STRATEGY OF VICTORY: How General George Washington Won the American Revolution by Thomas Fleming

TERMINAL LANCE ULTIMATE OMNIBUS by Maximilian Uriarte. (I called it “probably the best book about Marine Corps culture in decades” but warned that it is so raunchy that “Anyone not shocked or offended by at least a quarter of this book should probably seek professional help.”)

FIGHT LIKE A GIRL: The Truth Behind How Female Marines Are Trained by Kate Germano

From left to right: Naval Special Warfare Operator First Class Eddie Gallagher, Army 1Lt. Clint Lorance, and Army Special Forces Maj. Mathew Golsteyn

On Friday, President Donald Trump intervened in the cases of three U.S. service members accused of war crimes, granting pardons to two Army soldiers accused of murder in Afghanistan and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL found guilty of wrongdoing in Iraq.

While the statements coming out of the Pentagon regarding Trump's actions have been understandably measured, comments from former military leaders and other knowledgable veterans help paint a picture as to why the president's Friday actions are so controversial.

Read More Show Less

A former Soviet submarine that became a tourist attraction docked adjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach is expected to be sold soon to an anonymous buyer, with plans to remove the rusting sub by mid-May.

The 48-year-old Russian Foxtrot-class submarine, known as the Scorpion, had hosted paying visitors for 17 years before it fell into such disrepair that it became infested with raccoons and was closed to the public in 2015.

Read More Show Less

Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.

The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.

During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.

"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."

"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."

Read More Show Less
Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. (Reuters photo)

Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.

Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.

Read More Show Less
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith (Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.

Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.

Read More Show Less