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Books for Veteran’s Day

Veteran memoirs, real stories, and other non-fiction about the armed services.

November 3, 2021

Celebrate Veterans Day by reading about the stories of those who have served.

Memoir

All the gallant men

All the Gallant Men
An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor

Donald Stratton

A memoir by a USS Arizona survivor describes his experience of the attacks that left him with burns over more than sixty-five percent of his body, his resolve to reenter service after a grueling recovery, and his contributions to some of the Pacific’s most violent battles.

American sniper

American Sniper
The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History

Chris Kyle

A member of Navy SEAL Team 3 describes his life as a father and husband, and as the serviceman with the most confirmed sniper kills in the history of the United States military while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, in this special memorial edition of the bestselling memoir that is filled with remembrances and tributes from family and friends.

Born on the Fourth of July

Born on the Fourth of July

Ron Kovic

A former marine paralyzed from the chest down as a result of an injury suffered in Vietnam recalls his youth, battlefield experiences, and the agonies of his slow reentry into American society.

A dog called hope

A Dog Called Hope
The Special Forces Wounded Warrior and the Dog Who Dared to Love Him

Jason Morgan, Damien Lewis

A former Special Forces operative, who lost the use of his legs after a mission went horribly wrong, describes how his service dog, a loyal black Lab, lifted him out of the darkest period of his life and inspired him to live again.

Eat the apple

Eat the Apple

Matt Young

A combat veteran and writing instructor traces the darkly comic story of his youth and masculinity as they were shaped in an age of continuous war, describing how he joined the Marines as a way to temper his reckless nature before enduring three Iraq deployments.

Full battle rattle

Full Battle Rattle
My Story as the Longest-Serving Special Forces A-Team Soldier in American History

Changiz Lahidji, Ralph Pezzullo

The legendary Special Forces veteran and first Muslim Green Beret shares the stories of his contributions to history-shaping operations, including the Iran hostage rescue of 1980, the 1993 conflict that inspired Black Hawk Down and the locating of Osama Bin Laden.

Helmet for my pillow

Helmet for My Pillow
From Parris Island to the Pacific, a Young Marine’s Stirring Account of Combat in World War II

Robert Leckie

A soldier presents an account of his participation in World War II, from basic training to battles on Guadalcanal, New Britain, and Peleliu, reflecting on the horrors and sacrifices of war.

The long walk

The Long Walk
A Story of War and the Life That Follows

Brian Castner

A memoir by a bomb-disposal veteran of the Iraq War traces his three tours of duty in the Middle East and his team’s daily life-threatening efforts to stop roadside bombers, sharing additional coverage of the challenges he faced while reacclimating to civilian life.

The longest kill

The Longest Kill
The Story of Maverick 41, One of the World’s Greatest Snipers

Craig Harrison

A world-record holding sniper traces his experiences in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, sharing suspenseful accounts of his life-saving ops, struggles with PTSD, and the terrorist threats that have been made against his family.

Never call me a hero

Never Call Me a Hero
A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway

N. Jack Kleiss

In an eyewitness account of the Battle of Midway by one of its key participants, timed to the 75th anniversary, an American dive-bomber pilot discusses how he sank two Japanese carriers, struck a third, received the Navy Cross and is credited with playing a decisive individual role in determining the outcome of a battle that is considered a turning point in World War II.

The operator

The Operator
Firing the Shots That Killed Osama Bin Laden and My Years as a Seal Team Warrior

Robert O’Neill

Describes the Navy SEAL’s four-hundred mission career, which included his attempts to rescue Marcus Luttrell and Captain Richard Phillips, and his early life in Butte, Montana.

Shoot like a girl

Shoot Like a Girl
One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front

Mary Jennings Hegar

An Air National Guard officer describes her experiences after being shot down on a Medevac mission in Afghanistan and her efforts to convince the U.S. government to allow women to serve openly on the front lines.

Thank you for my service

Thank You for My Service

Mat Best

A memoir from an five-tour Army Ranger who became a YouTube phenomenon follows him from Columbus, Georgia, to Ramadi and offers front-line action as well as comfort and counsel in the form of humor while he advocates for veterans.

Tough as they come

Tough as They Come

Travis Mills

A retired paratrooper who became a quadruple amputee as the result of injuries sustained in an IED blast in Afghanistan, the author describes how his faith and his mantra of “never give up—never quit” has helped him rebuild his life.

Un-American

Un-American
A Soldier’s Reckoning of Our Longest War

Erik Edstrom

A West Point graduate who served in Afghanistan challenges the War on Terror, calling it not just a tragedy, but a crime, and exposes how war actually exacerbates the problems it’s meant to solve.

Unbecoming

Unbecoming
A Memoir of Disobedience

Anuradha Kristina Bhagwati

A memoir from a former U.S. Marine captain discusses her experiences facing misogyny, racism and injustice and subsequent fight to bring historic change to the military, including the lifting of the ban on women in combat roles.

Unbroken

Unbroken
A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Laura Hillenbrand

Relates the story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war.

 

Non-Fiction

Alpha

Alpha
Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy Seals

David Philipps

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Philipps uncovers the shocking rise and fall of Eddie Gallagher, the decorated Navy SEAL accused of war crimes during his deployment to Mosul, the fellow SEALs who turned him in, and the court martial that captivated the nation.

Band of sisters

Band of Sisters
American Women at War in Iraq

Kirsten Holmstedt

Profiles twelve women soldiers who have served in the Iraq War, describing their experiences in the war, discussing the pressures of the job, and touching on the difficulties of being a woman in the military.

Charlie Mike

Charlie Mike
A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home

Joe Klein

Traces how two veterans of the wars in the Middle East organized ways that injured veterans could continue to serve, sharing inspiring stories of disaster relief in Haiti and post-Sandy New York as well as tales of support for newly returned and traumatized vets.

Drone warrior

Drone Warrior
An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Enemies

Brett Velicovich, Christopher S. Stewart

A former Delta Force black ops member offers an account of America’s use of drone warfare to pursue and eliminate high-value terrorist targets, discussing the complex nature of drone operations and sharing insider stories of secret missions.

Eagle down

Eagle Down
The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War

Jessica Donati

The former Afghanistan bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal recounts the experiences of U.S. Special Forces fighting on the front lines against the Taliban and Islamic State during the longest war in American history.

Heroes among us

Heroes Among Us
Firsthand Accounts of Combat From America’s Most Decorated Warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Chuck Larson

Firsthand accounts from of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan from decorated soldiers of all branches of the military capture front-line stories of combat, courage under fire, and heroism on the battlefield.

A higher call

A Higher Call

Adam Makos

Relates the true story of two World War II airmen, one American and one German, who put aside the conflict and helped each other to safety in the wake of a damaged aircraft and describes their meeting again forty-seven years later.

The immortals

The Immortals
The World War II Story of Five Fearless Heroes, the Sinking of the Dorchester, and an Awe-Inspiring Rescue

Steven T. Collis

The story of the heroic actions of chaplains George Fox, Alexander Goode, John Washington, and Clark Poling of the Dorchester and steward’s mate Charles W. David Jr. of the Comanche in the aftermath of a German submarine attack during World War II.

The last punisher

The Last Punisher
A Seal Team Three Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi

Kevin Lacz

A first-person account of the Iraq War, from a Navy SEAL who was part of SEAL Team 3 with “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, describes their legendary unit, “The Punishers,” and provides details of their missions in Ramadi.

Leave no man behind

Leave No Man Behind
The Untold Story of the Rangers’ Unrelenting Search for Marcus Luttrell, the Navy Seal Lone Survivor in Afghanistan

Tony Brooks

A story of courage, perseverance, and patriotism behind the 75th Ranger Regiment’s rescue mission following one of the deadliest Special Ops incidents in Afghanistan—a grueling search for twelve Navy SEAL casualties and eight downed Night Stalkers, but just one lone survivor.

Lone survivor

Lone Survivor
The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10

Marcus Luttrell

The leader, and only survivor, of a team of U.S. Navy SEALs sent to northern Afghanistan to capture a well-known al Qaeda leader chronicles the events of the battle that killed his teammates and offers insight into the training of this elite group of warriors.

The medic

The Medic
Life and Death in the Last Days of WWII

Leo Litwak

A World War II medic shares his story for the first time, detailing the intense combat and human drama he experienced as he patched up men on the frontlines during the final days of the war.

One bullet away

One Bullet Away
The Making of a Marine Officer

Nathaniel Fick

An ex-Marine captain shares his story of fighting in a recon battalion in both Afghanistan and Iraq, beginning with his brutal training on Quantico Island and following his progress through various training sessions and ultimately, conflict in the deadliest conflicts since the Vietnam War.

Red Platoon

Red Platoon
A True Story of American Valor

Clinton Romesha

A comprehensive account of the 13-hour firefight at the Battle of Keating by a Medal of Honor recipient describes the harrowing events of the October 3, 2009 attack and how the sacrifices and victories of heroic men raised questions about whether the strategically vulnerable outpost should ever have been built.

A rumor of war

A Rumor of War

Philip Caputo

Republished on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, a renowned classic war memoir, which shattered America’s indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam, follows the experiences of Marine Lieutenant Phillip J. Caputo both during the war and on the aftermath on the home front. Includes a new foreword.

Shooting ghosts

Shooting Ghosts
A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back From War

Thomas J. Brennan, Finbarr O’Reilly

A dual memoir by a U.S. Marine and a conflict photographer profile their unlikely friendship and how it helped them recover from combat wounds and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The spymaster of Baghdad

The Spymaster of Baghdad
A True Story of Bravery, Family, and Patriotism in the Battle Against Isis

Margaret Coker

A former New York Times Baghdad bureau chief tells the story of a covert Iraqi intelligence unit who infiltrated ISIS and helped turned the tide of war against the terrorist organization.

Thank you for your service

Thank You for Your Service

David Finkel

Discusses the hardships faced by soldiers who have come home from service by following the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion originally depicted in the author’s book “The Good Soldiers.”

The things they cannot say

The Things They Cannot Say
Stories Soldiers Won’t Tell You About What They’ve Seen, Done or Failed to Do in War

Kevin Sites

Compiling the accounts of soldiers, Marines, and their families, as well as a narrative of the author’s own failures during war, presents real stories of battle, revealing that war both gives and takes from those most intimately involved in it.

Thirteen soldiers

Thirteen Soldiers
A Personal History of Americans at War

John McCain, Mark Salter

The coauthors of Faith of My Fathers present an evocative history of Americans at war through the personal accounts of 13 remarkable soldiers who fought in major military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Walking point

Walking Point
From the Ashes of the Vietnam War

Perry A. Ulander

This intimate memoir by an American GI who served in Vietnam offers a powerful narrative for readers with an interest in the effects of war and violence, American involvement in Vietnam and how trauma can be a catalyst for transformation.

War

War

Sebastian Junger

The #1 best-selling author of The Perfect Storm offers an on-the-ground account of a single platoon during its 15-month tour of duty in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley.

What it is like to go to war

What It is Like to Go to War

Karl Marlantes

The author of the best-selling Matterhorn offers insight into the combat experience, drawing on his background as a decorated Vietnam War veteran to raise awareness about how inadequately troops are prepared for battle-related psychological and spiritual trauma.

With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa

With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa

E.B. Sledge

A former member of the First Marine Division gives a front-line description of two World War II Pacific campaigns—the bloody campaigns at Peleliu and Okinawa—in which he participated as a teenage soldier.