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The MilBooks You Should Add to Your List This Year

January 18, 2018
AUTHOR: Emilie
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Reading Time: 5 minutes

This post is in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures. #12StrongMovie

It’s no secret around these parts that I’m an avid reader. When I want to learn something, I often turn it into “Well, let me find a book on that.” As an aside, I think my conquest to want to constantly be learning new things has manifested in my impulsive book buying- but a discussion for another time.

If you think about it, our whole lives we’re taught that books have the answers. I remember this one class I took in college where we had to buy 12 books- not textbooks, actual paper back books. We read one per week (just for this one class- I don’t know how I survived college). What my professor taught me, perhaps implicitly, was that if there was something I wanted to know that a book had that information. My quest for knowledge did not end or even slow down when I graduated from college.

Today, I have a lot more freedom to learn about whatever I want through the books I read. I’m no longer duty bound to reading 12 books on the Catholic Church in 12 weeks because of the class that I’m registered for. In fact, in the last twelve weeks I’ve read:

Clearly there was no syllabus to follow here. From personal finance to high-tech marketing to psychology to memoir, I’ve read the things that suited my learning goals or interests in that moment.

My interest in learning also extends to understand C’s job, a service member’s perspective, and the military spouse experience. Between the books I

read, the resulting questions that I ask, often over dinner, and the movies and TV shows we watch together, I feel comfortable when I say that I understand what it is C does- to the extent where I am, at least, not stupid about it. It is pretty cool to watch an episode of Sons of Anarchy and immediately recognize a Polish Ambush (they do them ALL the time) or The Long Road Home and know that they did, in fact, have night vision with them, a lesson learned in Somalia (and portrayed in Black Hawk Down).

I have turned to books as a way to learn, and I have, in fact, learned. I will, thus, continue to turn to books to continue to learn. If that, too, is your thing, I’ve narrowed down my Top 5 mil-related books to read.

Before I dive into my list, though, I’d like to share that our friends over at MILLIE have created The Ultimate List of Military Spouse Books. It is worth a peak. Our friend Christine from Her Money Moves has put together a reading challenge that includes military spouse authors. Both of these are phenomenal resources I strongly recommend!

Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces tells the story of its author Corie Weathers as she visits Afghanistan as the 2015 Military Spouse of the Year. Through the experience, she comes to better understand what it was like for her husband to be deployed there. She is brought to some of the places he stood when it was he who was separated from their small children.

I read this book just as one of our first good friends deployed, leaving behind his fiancee, a good friend of mine. Reading Sacred Spaces, I cried many ugly tears. I would recommend the book to anyone affiliated with the military- spouse, servicemember, or just civilian supporter.

RELATED: Corie Weathers is hosting the third-annual Military Spouse Wellness Summit: Renew You! Learn from 10 experts who reveal their secrets to a balanced mind and body. All summit VIP registrants will receive access to a virtual swag bag with discounts to the top health and wellness brands and will be eligible to win exclusive giveaways specific to this event, including an all expenses paid trip to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation Empowered Spouses Retreat in 2018. Free and VIP tickets available. Use code EARLYBIRD at checkout to get 50% off on a VIP ticket until Jan 31st! I have personally attended all of the previous summits and would strongly recommend!

13 Hours

Remember how for a year all the news could talk about was Benghazi? If you really want to understand what happened, 13 Hours is your book. Written by Mitchell Zuckoff, 13 Hours chronicles the arrival of the special operators to Libya and the subsequent events of the day, which included the uprising of a local militia against the American Embassy.

The first military events book I ever read, I think back in fall 2015, this one was a little hard for me to follow, but when I subsequently watched the movie, I understood many more details than I think I would have otherwise. I often think that if I re-read this one I will get even more out of it today since I have a better understanding of the day’s events and the terminology they use (but, alas, I’m not really a re-reader).

The Long Road Home

Written by Martha Raddatz, The Long Road Home tells the story of Black Sunday and the turn of Sadr City in Iraq. The books toggles between First Cav in Iraq and the families back home at Fort Hood and in other cities around the US. The Long Road Home was recently turned into an 8-episode miniseries by National Geographic.

In fact, it was the miniseries that prompted me to read the book. I don’t think we finished the first episode before I ordered the book on Amazon. Once I picked it up, I just could not put it down. The book was a phenomenal read. I really appreciated the inclusion of the experience back home, particularly how the FRG leads handled the situation- let’s not forget that they, too, had husbands abroad who they did not have news on.

Horse Soldiers

By Doug Stanton, Horse Soldiers tells of the special forces soldiers who were sent to Afghanistan immediately following the attacks on September 11, 2001. They rode, as you might have guessed it from the name, horses, and liberated a key city from Taliban rule.

I’ve only recently started this one, but I know it’s one I’ll finish before C and I go watch 12 Strong, the movie adaptation, which comes out this weekend. I can’t wait for us to make a date night out of watching this! Look at how great the trailer looks!

Heart of a hero. Courage of a warrior. 12 Strong is in theaters Friday.
A soldier is as strong as his word. Tickets on sale now for #12StrongMovie.

Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers” films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” “Nocturnal Animals”) star in “12 Strong,” a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Based on Doug Stanton’s best-selling book, “Horse Soldiers,” it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.

“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghani horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.
Rated R for war violence and language throughout.
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