I had some, uh, other things going on when I first got John Miller’s email soliciting contributions for the wonderful military books symposium NRO is running. I should have responded, particularly since my father was visiting and I had the opportunity to ask him what books he would recommend — my father is a retired Lt. Col. USMC, Vietnam vet, Naval Academy grad, Naval War College, Army Command and General Staff College, etc.
For what it’s worth, Dad had two recommendations. First, Black Hawk Down because it both illustrates the fog-of-war problem well and does a good job defining perhaps the central problem of modern war — the desire to politicize conflicts as they evolve and subsequently try and micromanage the battlefield. (Note: I purchased this book as a Christmas gift for Dad some years ago. I must have done well.)
And finally, this isn’t a book, but let me throw in my my own Memorial Day recommendation. This evening HBO2 is showing Taking Chance which is just a terrific film — as I noted previously, “There’s not a single battlefield scene, but the film probably does more to drive home the sacrifices the American military makes — both big and small — than just about anything I can think of.” If you don’t have HBO, you can order the DVD which just came out.
Anyway, enjoy the long weekend — and I hope everybody takes some time out to thank and reflect on to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and their families.