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Here are some recommended books and videos of the Iraq war. Click a title to order from Amazon.com. If you've got a title to add, please let me know.
Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine’s Passion to Recover the World’s Greatest Stolen Treasures, is Colonel Matthew Bogdanos' first-hand account of his journey to recover Iraq’s lost treasures.
After losing his apartment near the World Trade Center after September 11, 2001, Colonel Bogdanos was recalled to active duty, where he led a multi-agency task force in Afghanistan and received a Bronze Star, obtaining intelligence on 11 of the “Top 25” Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in the War on Terrorism. Then appointed Deputy Director, Bogdanos led that interagency task force into Iraq in March 2003 to search for evidence of terrorist cells, UN Security Council Resolution violations, and terrorist financing.
In April 2003, he began the investigation into the looting of Baghdad’s Iraq Museum, resulting in the recovery of over 5,000 antiquities in six countries. He is the recipient of a 2005 National Humanities Medal for his work recovering Iraq’s treasures, and the author of Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine's Passion to Recover the World's Greatest Stolen Treasures.
His royalties from the sale of the book go to the Iraq Museum.
Versatile and accomplished, Matthew Bogdanos has been an assistant district attorney in Manhattan as well as a Colonel in the Marine Reserves and a middleweight boxer. He also has a degree in classics from Bucknell University, a law degree and a master's degree in Classical Studies from Columbia University, and a master's degree from the Army War College.
In Iraq, the front line is everywhere...and everywhere in Iraq, women in the U.S. military fight. More than 155,000 of them have served in Iraq since 2003--four times the number of women sent to Desert Storm in 1991--and more than 430 have been wounded and over 70 killed, almost twice the number of U.S. military women killed in action in Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm combined. Band of Sisters presents twelve amazing and often heart-wrenching stories of American women in the frontlines including America's first female pilot to be shot down and survive, the U.S. military's first black female combat pilot, a 21-year-old turret gunner defending a convoy, two military policewomen in a firefight, a nurse struggling to save lives, including her own and more.
The riveting story of one hero who defines courage under fire. Experience the deadly din of modern warfare and the inspiring leadership and courage of legendary First Sergeant Brad Kasal in this riveting new book. It's a page-turning, first-hand account of Kasal's courageous mission to rescue fallen comrades under intense enemy fire during the Battle of Fallujah-actions that earned him the distinguished Navy Cross, America's second highest military award. This stunning, unforgettable account shows an American hero rising to the challenge of world events with leadership, valor, and loyalty.
Michelle Keener gives a firsthand experience of a Marine wife during wartime: Her husband is a Marine officer with two tours in Iraq including time in Fallujah. From their meeting in the years before the events of 9/11 through his deployments into the Iraq war zone, Michelle brings readers into the homes of those left behind-those who also serve. From raising children to comforting other wives to keeping the bills paid back home, Michelle presents a heartfelt and moving account of the loneliness of wartime distance-and the constant fear that the next Marine to fall will be her own.
From Tracy Della Vecchia, Founder, MarineParents.com, Inc. Mrs. Keener tells her experiences during her husband's two combat deployment with compassion, intelligence, and a touch of humor. I read the book in one night; I cried, I laughed and I couldn't put it down. I was touched by the similarities of emotions she and I experienced, though my worries were for my son, and her worries were for her husband. I highly recommend this book to parents with married Marines, to gain insight to the wives' perspectives, and I recommend it to any mother of a deployed Marine to show once again, you are not alone with the emotional roller coaster of deployment. This book will touch your heart. Michelle Keener will be a guest author at this year's Marine Parents conference, April 20-22, 2007.
This book is a first-hand account of the Battle for Fallujah, Iraq, in November of 2004. The Marines of Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment (3/1) tell the story of the battle that ended in thirty-five casualties, including four dead.
As the founder of Marine Parents, remembering what November 2004 was like for our families at home, I was compelled to read this book. I talked with many 3/1 families on the phone during that month; I heard their fears, and often took their phone call again when their fears became a reality. I heard the families tell their stories, and now I've read the Marines telling their story. The book is well written and the story is told well, from the actions in battle to the emotions afterward. I recommend reading the book not only for a good understanding of the grit and determination of our Marines in battle, but because these are the Marines whose families we know and support. These Marines are indeed One; they are our sons, our husbands, our brothers, our fathers.
From the Author: We (Marine families at MarineParents.com and the author) have been in touch at some point over the few years I have spent periodically embedded with the Marines in Iraq. I was a speaker at the MarineParents.com conference in Houston in April 2004. Many of you contacted me after I wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal last year about Corporal Jason Dunham of Kilo Co., Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, who placed his helmet on an Iraqi hand grenade to save his buddies and paid the ultimate price. His fellow Marines honored his sacrifice by nominating him for the Congressional Medal of Honor. After that piece ran in the paper, I continued to research Corporal Dunham’s story and wrote The Gift of Valor: A War Story that details not only what happened that confused, bloody day in April 2004, but also describes his eight-day journey home to his family, from Husaybah to Bethesda.
It is not a book about the politics of the Iraq War; it is, I hope, a vivid, in-the-dirt depiction of what it means to be a grunt. It is the story of the Marine infantrymen, the sailors and soldiers who fight alongside them, and of those who wait for them to return.
November 10, 2006: President Bush announced that the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration, will be awarded posthumously to Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham.
Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families
by Andrew Carroll (Editor)
The first book of its kind, Operation Homecoming is the result of a major initiative launched by the National Endowment for the Arts to bring distinguished writers to military bases and inspire U.S. Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen and their families to record their wartime experiences. Encouraged by such authors as Tom Clancy, Mark Bowden, Bobbie Ann Mason, Tobias Wolff, Jeff Shaara, and Marilyn Nelson, American military personnel and their loved ones wrote candidly about what they saw, heard, and felt while in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as on the home front. Taken together, these almost one hundred never-before-published eyewitness accounts, private journals, short stories, letters, and other personal writings become a dramatic narrative that shows the human side of warfare.
the fear and exhilaration of heading into battle;
the interactions between U.S. forces and Afghans and Iraqis, both as enemies and friends;
the boredom, gripes, and humorous incidents of day-to-day life on the front lines;
the anxiety and heartache of worried spouses, parents, and other loved ones on the home front;
the sheer brutality of warfare and the physical and emotional toll it takes on those who fight;
the tearful homecomings for those who returned to the States alive– and the somber ceremonies for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.
From riveting combat accounts to profound reflections on warfare and the pride these troops feel for one another, Operation Homecoming offers an unflinching and intensely revealing look into the lives of extraordinary men and women. What they have written is without question some of the greatest wartime literature ever published.
A Greater Freedom
by Oliver North and Sara Horn
As an embedded Fox News correspondent during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Oliver North witnessed first hand the courage and spirit of the men and women of America’s armed forces. North crafts an intensely personal foreword in A Greater Freedom: Stories of Faith from Operation Iraqi Freedom, a moving tribute to those who put their lives on the line for one another, as well as the Iraqi people. Told by Sara Horn, whose reporting took her aboard the USS Harry S. Truman during the height of the conflict, the stories offer a rare glimpse into the spiritual side of the battlefield.
Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Returning Soldiers and Their Families
by Keith Armstrong, Suzanne Best, Paula Domenici
The bravery displayed by our soldiers at war is commonly recognized. However, often forgotten is the courage required by veterans when they return home and suddenly face reintegration into their families, workplaces, and communities. Authored by three mental health professionals with many years of experience counseling veterans, Courage After Fire provides strategies and techniques for this challenging journey home.
From the Publisher: Bryan McCoy has written a superb primer on how to prepare an infantry battalion for battle. He preaches the basics, the blocking and tackling of warfighting. A quick read and well worth the effort for anyone preparing Marines for battle.
Recommendation From Tracy Della Vecchia Founder and Director, MarineParents.com, Inc.: I highly recommend this book to every parent of a Marine. You will read a first-hand account of what your Marine's commander teaches and instills in the hearts and minds of our Marines. You will come away with an understanding of the love and brotherhood of the Marine Corps; from the battalion commander to the privates.
The book opens with an account of a 2003 Iraq battle fought by the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, under the command of the author, then LtCol McCoy. No details are spared. The highly-descriptive account of this battle lays the groundwork for the remainder of the book, explaining each step how the Marines are trained to carry out their missions.
Parents of Marines will be moved and comforted by this book; moved by the compassion and love Marines have for one another, and comforted by the gained knowledge of how Marines work together to succeed on the battlefield.
All proceeds from the sale of this book will be given to Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Bridget C. Cantrell, Ph.D. and Vietnam veteran, Chuck Dean have joined forces to present this vital information and resource manual for both returning troops and their loved ones. Here you will find answers, explanations, and insights as to why so many combat veterans suffer from flashbacks, depression, fits of rage, nightmares, anxiety, emotional numbing, and other troubling aspects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
During Operation Iraqi Freedom alone, Jack Coughlin of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines recorded at least thirty-six kills, thirteen of them in a single twenty-four-hour period. Now Coughlin has written a highly personal story about his deadly craft, taking readers deep inside an invisible society that is off-limits to outsiders. This is not a heroic battlefield memoir, but the careful study of an exceptional man who must keep his sanity while carrying forward one of the deadliest legacies in the U.S. military today.
McCoy's Marines: Darkside to Baghdad
John Koopman, from the San Francisco Chronicle, has a book coming out in March 2005, that details 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines' expeditions in Iraq over the past couple of years. The McCoy family got an advance copy of it in the mail from Koopman and report that it is a GREAT, easy and quite humorous read. 3/4 has much to be proud of, from Basra to Baghdad to Haditha to Karma to Fallujah to places at 29 Palms. Koopman has provided a wonderful gift to Marines with this book, and has some great stories and quotes. There are many names who now have a piece of our nation's history written by their actions. Koopman also included many emails that he received from Marine family members, and feedback to his articles that he wrote while he was embedded with 3/4. It takes a lot of effort to write such a book, and we are eternally indebted to him for the effort that he has put forth to chronicle such a memoir of real history, from an embedded reporter's experience. I believe this is the first book that tracks a unit, their families, and an embedded reporter and his readers over TWO deployments to Iraq.
I read the book on a flight to Houston and back and I cried through much of it. I sent the book to my son, now in Iraq for a third time. It stirred up memories for him that made him feel as though he was back in it. He said he never expected it to be so accurate. His copy of the book is now making the rounds with the rest of the 3/4 battalion in Iraq.
No True Glory
BING WEST is the author of several books, including the award-winning The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the United States Marines and the Vietnam classic The Village. In No True Glory, Bing is in Fallujah, March and April 2004 with the US Marines. The Marines originally planned to slip into Fallujah “as soft as fog.” But in March 2004, after a mob killing and mutilating four American contractors was recorded in images that horrified the world, the Marines attacked. West recounts the ferocious street battles that followed, the stiff resistance and shocking violence that caught many in our military and government off guard, and the sweeping US counterattack that outraged the Arab world.
Book: A Table in the Presence
As the 1st Battalion’s chaplain, Lieutenant Carey Cash had the unique privilege of seeing firsthand, from the beginning of the war to the end, how God miraculously delivered, and even transformed, the lives of the men of the 1st Battalion. Their regiment, the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the Marines, was the first ground force to cross the border into Iraq, the first to see one of their own killed in battle, and they were the unit to fight what most believe to have been the decisive battle of the war—April 10th in downtown Baghdad. Through it all, Carey Cash says, the presence of God was undeniable.
Book/DVD Combo: CBS News: America at War : The Battle for Iraq: A View from the Frontlines
Combination book and video. Nothing specific to Marines that I can tell by reading the excerpts, but there is footage of the statue coming down on April 9, which of course is the Marines 3/4, 1st Tanks, and others. Also includes Rather's (controversial?) interview with Saddam Hussein.
Book/DVD Combo: NBC's: Operation Iraqi Freedom
This book + DVD package written and produced by NBC News presents a chronological narrative of reporting from the field supplemented by interviews and anchored broadcasts from Qatar, Kuwait, and the United States.
I've just ordered my copy today, Sept. 24. I'll keep you posted. ~ Tracy
Book: The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division
No one reporting on the war in Iraq had the unique battlefield clearance afforded the authors of this dramatic eyewitness account. Unlike embedded journalists confined to a single unit, West and Smith acquired a captured yellow SUV and joined with whatever unit was leading the assault every day of the fight. The result is a report of what really happened from the heart of the action unlike anything you’ll read anywhere else. (They are with our Marines)
Although the authors have done some 'fill-in-the-blanks' where further research would have warranted, this is a non-stop read. Includes Marines from 1/7, 3/4, 3/5, 3/7, 1st Tanks, and other units that were attached to the 1st Marine Division. Includes most of the major battles and very detailed information about our Marines' experiences. I believe this is a must-have book for anyone interested in the role of the Marine Corps' during the war. ~ Tracy
Book: Embedded: The Media At War in Iraq I've just finished this book. These are the stories the media didn't tell in the newspapers; there is no sugar-coating. The stories are told by the journalists and photographers who were in the field during the 21-22 day war. Some of them made me laugh, many more made me cry, and some made me angry. All of them opened my eyes. This is not strictly Marines, but does include many of the embeds that were with the 1st Marine Division (including 1/5 Alpha, 3/4) as well as MEF FSSG, CSSG-11 and more. I'll try to compile a detailed list of the Marine units involved. ~ Tracy
New! The Iraq War Reader by Micah L. Sifry (Editor), Christopher Cerf (Editor)
From the editors of the 1991 anthology The Gulf War Reader comes a comprehensive guide "to the most urgent foreign policy questions of our time." Culled from a wide variety of sources, these essays, commentaries, and official documents cover the entire scope of the conflict with particular attention...
DVD/VHS Video: National Geographic Video: 21 Days to Baghdad From Tracy Della Vecchia: This is outstanding! If you want an excellent account of the Iraq war and very nice footage, this is a good one to buy. There is more time spent with the Marines than the other branches of the service (specifically Marines of 3/4). I had seen the majority of the footage before, but I'm okay with that as I keep it for posterity, and there was some new stuff.
There is some footage of my son during the biblically proportioned sand storm; he's in the back of a track vehicle going over maps and says "This sand is killin' me" then takes a big drag off a cigarette. There's a couple other shots of him as well, but none as funny as that, and not the same coverage as "Baghdad Bound: The Devil Dog Diaries".
Take a comprehensive look at Operation Iraqi Freedom, from the military buildup and the shock and awe campaign to the fire-fight in Basra and the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue. With spectacular footage never before seen in the U.S. and first-hand accounts of soldiers, reporters and National Geographic's award-winning production team, 21 Days to Baghdad will feature an exclusive, insider's look at the war strategy that ultimately drove Saddam Hussein from Baghdad.
DVD/VHS Video: CNN Tribute - War in Iraq From Tracy Della Vecchia: This is very good coverage of the Iraq war is more detailed than the National Geographic DVD. It's told from the perspective of CNN, but I must say, they attempted to represent all sides. There is footage of the demonstrations prior to war, both Peace Activists and Pro-Troop Rallies. The filming is a bit choppier than the National Geographic, but both DVDs are worth having. The CNN DVD has more facts and broader coverage of the different military branches. There is a lot of Martin Savidge and Marines of 7/1.
Released July 15, 2003. This is the definitive account of the removal of an dictator and the struggles of the coalition of the willing to free the people of Iraq. An outstanding piece with one of the highest production values.
Photo Book: 21 Days to Baghdad: A Chronicle of the Iraq War Reuters, the international news agency, provides a historic and invaluable account of how the war against Saddam Hussein unfolded in its latest book, Twenty-One Days to Baghdad: A Chronicle of the Iraq War. Award-winning photographers paint a unique and unbiased picture of the military campaign described by General Tommy Franks as "unlike any in history." Vivid text and precision graphics complete a compelling narrative of the conflict. A day-by-day chronicle assembles more than 100 gripping pictures--from the decks of American aircraft carriers in the Gulf to the heat of battle in the Iraqi desert and finally to the streets of Baghdad and Saddam's collapse.
Reuters photographers, some embedded with U.S. and British forces, capture the definitive images from the first air strike on Saddam's bunker to the military sprint to Baghdad. The pictures capture the raw emotions of war--moments of pain, anguish, courage and compassion. The Reuters team provides an unrivaled portfolio, folding the best from the news agency's coverage of the Iraq War into an authoritative and riveting full-color book.
Photo Book: The War in Iraq: A Photo History Operation Iraqi Freedom commanded the interest and ignited the passions of people of every political stripe around the world. The War in Iraq, which draws on the work of dozens of international photographers -- many of whom risked their lives to get the shot -- collects 250 of the most compelling images taken during the conflict.
From the heroes braving desert combat to the demonstrations of support and protest around the world, from the eerie and blinding sandstorms of the Iraqi desert to the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad -- here are the unforgettable images that tell the story, including many that have never been published before. The result is a historic collection, a spectacular visual chronicle of every aspect of the first full-scale war of the twenty-first century: at once a journalistic record of the realities of battle, and a vivid and eye-opening portrait of the cultural turmoil -- and, in many quarters, jubilation -- that followed the fall of Saddam.
Capturing the dramatic impact of the war at every scale, from the epic to the intimate, The War in Iraq offers a vivid window onto Operation Iraqi Freedom in all its tragedy and triumph -- and a sterling showcase for the talented photographers who braved the battle in pursuit of truth.
Photo Book: LIFE: The War in Iraq A photo book by Life Magazine (Editor), One Nation (Editor), Walter Cronkite (Introduction), editors of LIFE Magazine, editors of One Nation
1991 Gulf War Book: Baghdad Express: A Gulf War Memoir Turnipseed has expanded a 1997 GQ article on his experiences as a reluctant Marine during the first war with Iraq into a compelling memoir that has more than a little in common with Anthony Swofford's Jarhead, which was also an account of the camaraderie, "soul rending boredom" and horror of life on the battlefield by a bookish soldier more comfortable hefting a pen than a gun. In 1990, Turnipseed is a college dropout in Minnesota, spending his days sipping coffee and reading Nietzsche, when his unit is called up for active duty. The first thing he does is decide to start smoking. Armed with a pack of Camels (later a pipe), a journal and a duffel full of philosophy texts, Turnipseed soon finds himself hauling munitions through the Saudi desert. His bunkmates, with their Game Boys and beer parties, at first regard him with suspicion. And no wonder: when his nose isn't buried in a Kierkegaard tome, he's prone to pedantic lectures and generally comes across as sneering and pretentious. For a while, Turnipseed relishes his role as egghead among the meatheads. Offered a warm Old Milwaukee one night by one of his brothers-in-arms, Turnipseed waves him off and turns back to his book. "Get real," the soldier retorts. "We're all in this together now, philosopher. Better make the best of what ya got." And soon, of course, his pompous veneer melts away in the desert sun and he realizes he has more in common with his Marine brothers than he would ever have thought. This is a coming-of-age story with all the right ingredients: self-deprecation, wit, insight, irony and a lucid, enthusiastic writing style. The Marine who emerges at war's end is older and wiser-and liked and accepted by his unit-and a pretty good writer to boot.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A witty, profane, down-in-the-sand account of the war many only know from CNN, this former sniper's debut is a worthy addition to the battlefield memoir genre. There isn't a bit of heroic posturing as Swofford describes the sheer terror of being fired upon by Iraqi troops; the elite special forces warrior freely admits wetting himself once rockets start exploding around his unit's encampment. But the adrenaline of battle is fleeting, and Swofford shows how it's in the waiting that soldiers are really made. With blunt language and bittersweet humor, he vividly recounts the worrying, drinking, joking, lusting and just plain sitting around that his troop endured while wondering if they would ever put their deadly skills to use. As Operation Desert Shield becomes Desert Storm, one of Swofford's fellow snipers-the most macho of the bunch-solicits a hug from each man. "We are about to die in combat, so why not get one last hug, one last bit of physical contact," Swofford writes. "And through the hugs [he] helps make us human again." When they do finally fight, Swofford questions whether the men are as prepared as their commanders, the American public and the men themselves think they are. Swofford deftly uses flashbacks to chart his journey from a wide-eyed adolescent with a family military legacy to a hardened fighter who becomes consumed with doubt about his chosen role. As young soldiers might just find themselves deployed to the deserts of Iraq, this book offers them, as well as the casual reader, an unflinching portrayal of the loneliness and brutality of modern warfare and sophisticated analyses of-and visceral reactions to-its politics.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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