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We’ve been at war for well over a decade now. Even though the conflicts have settled down, there are still men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq serving their country with honor. The Middle East is still a pretty unstable place, and there are plenty of men and women who come home changed. For many of them, they return to a life that is so profoundly different, that they struggle every day to find some normalcy. For others, they decide to write about their experiences. The result is plenty of must read books about the war in Afghanistan.
From the day to day life of the good soldiers and Marines on the front lines to the quest to find Osama Bin Laden, there are books that tell the true story from the people who fought Al Qaeda and other forces while serving in Afghanistan.
These books are destined to become a huge part of the history of the United States, and are a must read for anyone wanting to understand what was really happening within the borders of Afghanistan and during the Iraq War.
Run to the Sound of the Guns: The True Story of an American Ranger at War in Afghanistan and Iraq by Nicholas Moore and Mir Bahmanyar
Author Nicholas Moore was a member of the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, and was deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. He was on the front lines, helping in the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, and lost Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. He participated in night missions, and faced combat situations during his deployments. This is his account of his time spent in on the ground, where he strives to keep his brothers alive with the hope that he can return to the US with ways to reintegrate into society after deployment so as to continue his life as a loving husband to his wife and watch his children grow up.
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll
This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, and dives into the history of the rise of radical Islam in a region which eventually led to the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. The book looks at the role of the CIA’s role in Afghanistan, and explains how Osama bin Laden rose to power and why the Taliban has not yet been defeated. It also gives a history of the conflict in Afghanistan during the 10 years that Russia was at war in the area, and the role the CIA played in their own covert operations against Russian troops during that time. This is one of the best books about the war in Afghanistan for anyone interested in learning the history of how the area became so radicalized.
No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy Seal: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer
The hunt for Osama bin Laden captivated the world. It seemed like the allied forces would never be able to locate him and bring him to justice. Eventually, the military became aware of his location and raided the compound where he was hiding. This is the firsthand account of a member of the elite Seal Team Six, Mark Owen, as he hunted down bin Laden. The books shows his experiences on the streets of Iraq to the Afghanistan mountain ranges as the team searched to find Osama bin Laden.
No Easy Day was #1 on the New York Times’ bestseller list because of the detail of the training the SEAL team underwent and the eventual assault on the compound. Readers are given a first-person account of these events through the eyes of someone who was there. Owens helps readers to understand the role of elite units on the war on terror, and pays respect to all servicemen and servicewomen risking their lives in these dangerous locations.
The Fighters by C.J. Chivers
If you want to know what being in combat is like, then The Fighters is a must read. The book follows six different people, from pilots to corpsmen to the infantry and special forces operators on the ground, and gives a detailed account of their personal experiences. The author, C.J. Chivers, is a Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent who does an excellent job of capturing the real effects of combat from the perspective of the six people profiled in the book. Readers will live alongside these people as they try to win the war in Afghanistan and retain a sense of normalcy in a world filled with chaos.
Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan by Sean Parnell and John R. Bruning
Another book on the New York Times bestseller list, Outlaw Platoon follows the Army’s 10th Mountain Division as they trek through the hostile territory in the mountains of Afghanistan. The soldiers of this Division faced combat for well over a year, and tells of the incredible journey of the Division as they fought in one of the most unforgiving locations during the war.
The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan by J. Kael Weston
Author, J. Kael Weston spent years working for the US State Department during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Weston takes a look at the effects of war from soldiers and civilians, both American and from the Middle East, to paint a picture of the effects of war on the people directly and indirectly involved.
Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
For those of you who like to read about the politics behind the war, this is definitely one of the books about the war in Afghanistan that you should read. The author tackles the struggle between the military and President Obama during the year of the surge in Southern Afghanistan. What readers get is a behind-the-scenes look at the consequences of a political struggle on real people. The book paints an honest portrait of what really needs to be done at the highest levels of bureaucracy as a country tries to win a war.
War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq: A Series of Cases, 2003-2007 by Walter Reed Army Medical Center
The casualties of war are always seen most profoundly in the hospitals and surgery room where the true cost of war is shown firsthand. The book, put out by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, shows a variety of case studies about what the doctors and surgeons were confronted with during their time trying to save the lives and limbs of the military members who were wounded during battle in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan by Seth G. Jones
This book takes aim about the roots of the insurgency in Afghanistan. The book takes a historical look at the area and how, after the Taliban was overthrown, it looked like Afghanistan was going to finally be able to put an end to decades of fighting. The author looks at what worked in the area and what did not, as we strive to stabilize a country that has been war-torn for so long.
The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
The Forever War is one of the books about the war in Afghanistan and Iraq that gives a detailed account of how America deals with the challenges faced during the wars. The author was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, and gives a historical account of Afghanistan and the Taliban as it rose to power in the 90s. The book gives a detailed account of the effects of war that can only come from an author who has been involved in these affairs for over two decades.
War is one of the most unfortunate realities of life, and the must read books about the war in Afghanistan and Iraq provide honest accounts of the lives of the people involved, as well as the role of the different governments at play within these disputes. These accounts are modern history that come alive, and readers looking for more books recommended by the US military for aspiring soldiers will get insights into the effects of war from the people who lived it.