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  1. #1

    Books We Read/Listen To

    I love books, and I like to hear about what other people are reading. Sometimes I'll even read a certain book because someone else liked it. So, what are you reading now, what's it about, and is it any good? And don't forget to comeback when you finish and tell us what your reading next. We can include audio books, as well.

  2. #2
    I am currently reading:

    All In: The Education of General David Petraeus by Paula Broadwell with Vernon Loeb.

    Excellent book by the mistress on Petraeus's year as ISAF commander in Afghanistan. Progress was made in the summer and fall of 2010, but the real test would come in the spring and summer of 2011 with the resumption of the fighting season.


    Some other books I have read recently:

    Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq by Linda Robinson

    An excellent book on Petraeus and his role in the decisive years of the Iraq War.


    Threat Vector by Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney

    Jack Ryan Sr. is back in the White House for a second, non-consecutive term as president. A failing economy leads to a coup against the Chinese president and politburo chairman who is saved by the head of the Chinese military. To save the Chinese economy the president repays the military by launching an operation to take islands in the South China Sea, end Hong Kong autonomy and retake Taiwan. To weaken the U.S. a secret cyber army launches a cyber attack. Excellent!


    Serenade to the Big Bird by Bert Stiles

    Bert Stiles volunteered to join the U.S. Army Air Forces in January 1943, becoming an aviation cadet and receiving his wings and his commission as a 2nd lieutenant in November of that year. In the spring of 1944 he began flying missions as a co-piliot on a B-17 Flying Fortress in the 91st Bomb Group. He would fly 35 missions with the 91st before volunteering to fly fighters and joining the 339th Fighter Group. On his 16th mission as a fighter pilot, Stiles apparently became disoriented after shooting down a Gerrman Fw-190 in a dog fight that descended to low altitude. Stile's P-51 impacted the ground almost immediately, killing him.

    Before joining the Army, Stiles had already become an accomplished author, having had short stories published by The Saturday Evening Post, Liberty, and The American magazines. While in the USAAF, Stiles continued to write and had articles published in the London Daily Mail, Yank, and Air Force Magazine. He also worked on a manuscript about his experiences in the 91st Bomb Group, and after the war the manuscript was published under the title Serenade to the Big Bird. The book earned almost instant cult status among aviation enthusiasts for its honest depictions of bomber combat and also won favorable literary reviews for its "spare, Hemingway-style prose and its anti-war sensitivity." Knowing that Stiles didn't not survive the war gives his writing even more meaning; the book is very moving.

    Excellent!


    Final Patrol: True Stories of World War II Submarines by Don Keith

    A good book about the 16 WWII era U.S. Navy submarines that have become museum ships, plus the U-505 which is on display in Chicago.


    The Chase by Clive Cussler

    It is 1906 and the western United States is being terrorized by a bank robber who murders any and all witnesses. The Van Dorn Detective Agency is hired by the federal government to track down the killer and Isaac Bell is assigned to the case. From Arizona to Colorado to the streets of San Francisco, Bell pursues the smartest and deadliest criminal mind he has ever encountered. Fantastic!


    The Secret of Stalingrad by Walter Kerr

    Why Stalingrad? What happened there in 1942? How did it affect allied strategy in World War II? These are questions Kerr, a war correspondent in Moscow during the war, tried to find the answers to when he returned to Russia in the years between 1967 and 1972. As a result, Kerr provides a compelling account of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. Excellent.


    Enterprise: America's Fightingest Ship and the Men Who Helped Win World War II by Barrett Tillman

    An excellent history of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), from her authorization to her scrapping. Tillman is a very good writer and an expert on U.S. Navy aviation.


    The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden by Mark Bowden

    An excellent book by the author of Black Hawk Down on the trail that found bin Laden and the mission that killed him.


    Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War by Dakota Meyer and Bing West

    The battle of Ganjigal resulted in the largest loss of American advisors, the highest number of distinguished awards for valor, and the most controversial investigations of dereliction of duty in the entire Afghanistan war. This is the story of a man who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in that battle. At Ganjigal, Afghan soldiers and their U.S. Marine advisers walked into an ambush and Dakota Meyer charged in to rescue them.

    Excellent!


    Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe

    This was the first novel ever published in England (1719) and is definitely a classic. It started out very strong as Crusoe went from one misadventure to the next before ending up as a cast away on a desert isle in the Caribbean Sea (possibly Tobago, near Trinidad). It got a little slow with Crusoe's descriptions of his housekeeping, but readers should definitely stick around for the second half of the book as it gets much, much better.

    Fantastic book!

  3. #3
    If you are reading all of those at once then your nightstand probably looks like mine. Most of my stack is either popular science or Mormon History/Mormon Studies.

    I don't have the time to read I used to but am working on:

    Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History Of Our Ancestors, by Nicholas Wade

    Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, by John G. Turner (my wife actually went and heard him speak here in VA a week or so ago).

    The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan (re-reading, one of my all time favs).

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by UtahDan View Post
    If you are reading all of those at once then your nightstand probably looks like mine. Most of my stack is either popular science or Mormon History/Mormon Studies.

    I don't have the time to read I used to but am working on:

    Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History Of Our Ancestors, by Nicholas Wade

    Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, by John G. Turner (my wife actually went and heard him speak here in VA a week or so ago).

    The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan (re-reading, one of my all time favs).
    You and I have bandied about this before, of course, but I love the Turner bio of BY.

    I just got done with the Tippett/Newell bio of Emma Smith (Mormon Enigma) and I'm in the middle of Givens' bio of Parley P Pratt and Daymon Smiths' The Book of Mammon. I am also rereading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series for the umpteenth time just for good measure.

  5. #5
    Big thumbs up for Givens' Pratt biography and the God Who Weeps - amazing that Givens can do history so well and then turn to Mormon Doctrine and write (with his wife Fiona) one of the finest contributions to a commentary on religious doctrine that I've ever read.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Utebiquitous View Post
    Big thumbs up for Givens' Pratt biography and the God Who Weeps - amazing that Givens can do history so well and then turn to Mormon Doctrine and write (with his wife Fiona) one of the finest contributions to a commentary on religious doctrine that I've ever read.
    The God Who Weeps is on my short list - it comes highly recommended by a number of friends (one of whom is here).

  7. #7
    Somewhat Useful Idiot SgtUte's Avatar
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    [QUOTEInto the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War by Dakota Meyer and Bing West

    The battle of Ganjigal resulted in the largest loss of American advisors, the highest number of distinguished awards for valor, and the most controversial investigations of dereliction of duty in the entire Afghanistan war. This is the story of a man who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in that battle. At Ganjigal, Afghan soldiers and their U.S. Marine advisers walked into an ambush and Dakota Meyer charged in to rescue them.
    ][/QUOTE]





    I have read most everything that has come out of our currents wars, and this book is by the far the best one I've read. Riveting!


    HOUSE TO HOUSE by David Bellavia is a very close second. It's a firsthand account of the house to house fighting that occurred in Fallujah in 2004. Some of the hand to hand combat fights that occur, literally almost made me start sweating.
    Last edited by SgtUte; 02-19-2013 at 02:44 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by SgtUte View Post
    I have read most everything that has come out of our currents wars, and this book is by the far the best one I've read. Riveting!


    HOUSE TO HOUSE by David Bellavia is a very close second. It's a firsthand account of the house to house fighting that occurred in Fallujah in 2004. Some of the hand to hand combat fights that occur, literally almost made me start sweating.
    Bing West's No True Glory about Fallujah is excellent.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SgtUte View Post
    [QUOTEInto the Fire:

    HOUSE TO HOUSE by David Bellavia is a very close second. It's a firsthand account of the house to house fighting that occurred in Fallujah in 2004. Some of the hand to hand combat fights that occur, literally almost made me start sweating.
    I agree that Into the Fire was a good book.

    I'll check out House to House, sounds cool.

  10. #10
    "No Easy Day" was a great read.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Viking View Post
    "No Easy Day" was a great read.
    It was. If you haven't read "American Sniper" "SEAL Team Six", "Inside Delta Force" or "One Perfect Op" I recommend those as well.

    I just finished "Damn Few" which came out last week. Written by Lieutenant Commander Rorke Denver, a SEAL who overseas BUD/S, and was one if the main stars of "Act Of Valor". It's a very good read as well.

  12. #12
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    I watched the first season of Game Of Thrones on HBO last spring and got hooked, so I bought the 4-pack of ebooks and loved them. I just started book 5. 4 was kind of weak, so I hope 5 returns back to how the first 3 books were.

  13. #13
    Handsome Boy Graduate mpfunk's Avatar
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    5 is better than 4, but not on par with 1-3. Soon you will join the rest of us extremely frustrated readers waiting for Winds of Winter. You will also start fearing that GRRM dies before he finishes the series.


  14. #14
    Right now I'm reading The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough. I listened to an audio recording years ago, and I lived near Johnstown for a short time. My wife bought it for me for Christmas after I finished The Great Bridge.

    The Johnstown Flood is about the breaching of the South Fork Dam above Johnstown, PA in 1889 after a period of very heavy rain. The steel town of Johnstown got the worst of it, and over 2,200 people were killed.

  15. #15
    I'm a huge John Irving fan and reading his latest In One Person. His books are typically full of irresponsible sex and personal tragedy and this one does not disappoint. The World According to Garp and A prayer for Owen Meany are two of my favorites.

  16. #16
    I listened to World War Z not too long ago...I'm interested in how that translates into film.

    Speaking of Zombies, apparently there is a trilogy of books about the Governor that I might be checking out as well.

    Additionally I've got Guns, Germs and Steel hanging around as well as a book called Against the Gods; the Remarkable Story of Risk.
    “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”

    Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Danimal View Post
    I'm a huge John Irving fan and reading his latest In One Person. His books are typically full of irresponsible sex and personal tragedy and this one does not disappoint. The World According to Garp and A prayer for Owen Meany are two of my favorites.
    A Prayer for Owen Meany stayed with me for months after reading.

    [/QUOTE]

  18. #18
    currently reading

    http://www.amazon.com/FDR-Chief-Just...justice+hughes

    The author was on BookTV and it looked interesting

  19. #19
    I have been listening to The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today by Thomas E. Ricks, finished it last week. It was pretty good and Ricks does make some valid points, but there are some problems. First, the book is primarily about the Army; two Marine generals are discussed to show contrast with Army generals in Korea and Iraq, and one Air Force general is discussed to make the case that generals are typically fired by civilians these days rather than other generals. Regarding that AF general, however, it was a chief of staff of the AF who had loose lips about planning during the run-up to Operation Desert Storm; the problem is that as chief of staff there were only two people who could have fired him and both were civilians, there was no superior officer in the AF who could have because a chief of staff is the top officer in U.S. service branch. Two more problems I found were that Ricks did not examine the role or impact of policy, set by civilians, on strategy, which is supposed to be formulated by generals; additionally, there was no discussion of the impact of the Goldwater-Nichols Act which created the area commands and made the chairman of the Joint Chiefs nothing but an adviser to the president.

    With very few exceptions, Ricks finds areas of criticism for every Army general except George C. Marshall. He all but ignored Omar Bradley. Still, I have to agree with his premise that the Army has moved in the wrong direction since World War II in avoiding reliefs of generals and other officers. Ricks approached a retired general at a social gathering once and told him about the premise of his book and the general is supposed to have said "Why not just court martial them?" In effect, that is how the Army has come to view the relief of generals, yet Ricks argues that a relief does not need to be a career ender and uses the example of Terry Allen who was relieved as commander of the 1st Infantry Division by Patton in Sicily, but who returned to Europe a year later in command of another division. Ricks also suggested making the first six months in a combat command probationary, allowing an officer to be relieved without prejudice if they don't measure up. Finally, Ricks noted that the Navy has continued to relieve ship captains, even as many in the Navy are concerned that these reliefs, especially for offenses unrelated to ship handling, are happening too frequently.
    Last edited by USS Utah; 07-15-2013 at 01:03 PM.
    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  20. #20
    Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

    Simply Magnificent. This is the story of Ernest Shackleton's second Antarctic expedition which led to the loss of the ship Endurance and a desperate trek across ice and sea to safety.
    "It'd be nice to please everyone but I thought it would be more interesting to have a point of view." -- Oscar Levant

  21. #21
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    I just finished "The Goldfinch," by Donna Tartt. I loved it. Here's a pretty good review of the book. The reviewer says "The Goldfinch" is Dickensian, and I agree there are whiffs of Dickens throughout (most of you know I love Dickens), but this is a much harder-edged book than anything old Charles would write.

    What I look for most in fiction -- whether books or movies -- are (1) a good story and (2) characters I care about. This book has both, in spades. I cared so much about the protagonist, Theo Decker, that for about half the book I found myself thinking, "Oh, no -- Theo, don't do that!" If you feel that way too, all I can say is "Hang on until the ending!" The book is 700 pages long, but don't let that discourage you. It is a page-turner, and highly-recommended.
    Last edited by LA Ute; 01-02-2014 at 10:05 AM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  22. #22
    I am currently reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. It has been a life changing read so far.

  23. #23
    Senior Member big z's Avatar
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    I liked the book No Easy Day

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
    “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”
    ~Bob Marley

  24. #24
    DnF, I loved 'Guns, Germs, and Steel'. Reading that book and then trying to read about horses, steel, wheat, barley in the BoM is an interesting transition. I did enjoy watching Mitt Romney totally put his foot in his mouth when he mangled and twisted a quote from Jared Diamond, when I knew the actual context was the polar opposite of Diamond's intent.

    I most recently read 'Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed', also by Diamond. He rolls through the history of a number of civilizations which succeeded or failed based on their economic, food production, environmental, and other choices. Of particular interest to me was the exploration of the failures of societies in Rwanda, on Greenland (juxtaposing the Norse settlers with the Inuit) and on Easter Island. I was intrigued but the follow thought: "What went through the mind of the person as he felled the last tree on Easter Island? "
    Last edited by NorthwestUteFan; 02-19-2013 at 08:03 PM.

  25. #25
    Let's not forget Lone Survivor, which was fantastic.

  26. #26
    Seems most of these books are serious reading.

    If anyone likes golf and humor, Rick Reilly has written two great books in that realm. They are Missing Links and Who's Your Caddy.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by USS Utah View Post
    Let's not forget Lone Survivor, which was fantastic.
    I almost thought I read "Sole Survivor" when I saw this post. Great book about Ensign George Gay. If you've ever seen the film "Midway" you'll immediately know who I'm talking about. I have a signed copy of it from a live lecture.
    Desse jeito, não tem jeito.

  28. #28
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    Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball, Norman Macht.

    This is the first of (eventually) three biographies on the longtime manager's life. It might be the most extensive single project on a single figure in the history of sport. The first two books cover in excess of 600 pages, and the author began this project nearly 30 years ago. Part I was released in 2007, Part II was released in 2012. I hope the final installment is published soon -- Macht is over 80, although if he has the staying power of his subject, I don't have to worry.

    I read the second installment first (titled, Connie Mack: The Turbulent and Triumphant Years, 1915-1931), but it really doesn't matter which one you tackle first. And with 1,300 pages between the two books, it's impossible to pick the high points. The best summary of these books is this: Connie Mack was born in the Civil War and lived to see transcontinental air travel. He saw everything in baseball. With the possible exception of PEDs, there is nothing about today's game that Mack didn't see. As part-owner (and eventually full owner) of the Philadelphia Athletics, Mack's salary interactions with players destroys the long-established myth held by many that money didn't motivate yesterday's ballplayer.

    Mack, along with Ban Johnson and Charles Somers, deserves full credit for the establishment of the American League and putting organized professional baseball on solid ground. You gotta have a good chunk of hardcore baseball history to fully appreciate this book, but if you recognize the names of Collins, Bender, Waddell, Cochrane, Foxx, Simmons, etc., then it's a great read. Self-professed A's fans like mpfunk would appreciate the origins of the franchise, although how the A's left for Kansas City (and ultimately Oakland) is certainly for the third installment -- the second one goes up to 1931, which was Mack's last A.L. pennant winner.

  29. #29
    Announced today that Dan Brown's new Langdon book is names Inferno (think Dante) and will be released in May. I pre-ordered it today.

    I am half way through feast of crows. Not bad but nothing like the first 3 books. Book 3 was absolutely riveting and this season of GoT is supposed to be the first half of That book. Awesome!

    Next on my list is a book by Neil Gaiman "American Gods".

  30. #30
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

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