The Forever War

41zlujxgfxlBook #20: The Forever War, Dexter Filkins

The last decade and a half has seen perpetual conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq.  In fact today’s kids younger than 15 know nothing other than America at war.  Yet, unlike other wars, the average American knows so little about what is going on thousands of miles away.  In fact, ask yourself, how did we get into each conflict?  What were the issues that drew us there?  Who are the major players and who are we fighting?  What are the major objectives?  In this book, Dexter Filkins writes about his experience as a reported imbedded with the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He provide a unique portrait of 2 countries torn by war and divided by religious and political sects as well as a poignant memoir of the young Americans who served in these conflicts.

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Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS

b00rrt346e-01-lBook #12: Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, Jobi Warrick

ISIS has become one of the greatest threats to the security of the United States, its citizens abroad and United States interests.  It is an Islamic organization similar to previous terrorist organizations based on a fundamentalistic understanding of Islamic theology that condones and at times mandates violence.  However this group has taken the violence against muslims and non-muslims as well as oppression of its people to a new extreme in a power play that harkens back to 7th century conquests by the followers of Muhammed.  This book describes the rise of ISIS by chronicling the life of Abu Musab al-Zarqawai and his successor Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  It is a chilling read as it discusses the efforts of Al Qaeda in Iraq and the subsequent franchise ISIS in their efforts to destabilized the middle east and aggravate sectarian conflict.  It is a must read for anyone interested in current events in the Middle East as well as for policy makers who will be making decisions on our role in Middle East affairs.

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The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

b000jmkntw-01-lBook #23: The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Lawrence Wright

In the wake of 9/11 radical, fundamental Islam has been in the forefront of the American consciousness.  But the people and ideas that formed Al-Qaeda found their roots decades earlier.  In this book Lawrence Wright outlines the history of radical fundamental Islam and their attempt to establish an islamic theocracy.  It is a fascinating trek through Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Sudan and ultimately to the foot of the World Trade Center.  As Americans, if we want to understand contemporary movements like ISIS we need to understand the history of the threat.

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Code Name: Johnny Walker: The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs

b00db3a0cq-01-lBook #14: Code Name: Johnny Walker: The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs, Johnny Walker & Jim DeFelice

Much has been written about Iraq by U.S. service men/women.  This book is the memoir of an Iraqi man who worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Navy SEALs in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.  He describes growing up in Iraq, the rich history of the middle east, ethnic and religious tensions and ultimately an Iraqi’s perspective on the war.  It is a fascinating story of a man and his family’s quest to live and work in war-torn Iraq and ultimately for the freedom he found in the United States.

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American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History

512bw41lr2b5lBook #7: American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, Chris Kyle

This book documents the career of the most prolific sniper in American military history.  It explores the passion and motivation driving US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle while documenting the contrast between triumphs on the battlefield with the struggles of deployment at home.  What We Were Soldiers does in movie form, this book does by showing the battle front and the home front.

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