My Booklist

  • The book list provided below is a good resource for you when doing research for homework assignments or specific class topics. The books are organized by groups for easy reference. Simply click on the book title link to view additional information.

World War I

  • Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I

    by John Ellis Year Published:
    Millions of men lived in the trenches during World War I. More than six million died there. In Eye-Deep in Hell, the author explores this unique and terrifying world -- the rituals of battle, the habits of daily life, and the constant struggle of men to find meaning amid excruciating boredom and the specter of impending death.
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  • Over Here: The First World War and American Society

    by David M. Kennedy Year Published:
    The Great War of 1914-1918 confronted the United States with one of the most wrenching crises in the nation's history. It also left a residue of disruption and disillusion that spawned an even more ruinous conflict scarcely a generation later. Over Here is the single-most comprehensive discussion of the impact of World War I on American society. This 25th anniversary edition includes a new afterword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author David M. Kennedy, that explains his reasons for writing the original edition as well as his opinions on the legacy of Wilsonian idealism, most recently reflected in President George W. Bush's national security strategy. More than a chronicle of the war years, Over Here uses therecord of America's experience in the Great War as a prism through which to view early twentieth century American society. The ways in which America mobilized for the war, chose to fight it, and then went about the business of enshrining it in memory all indicate important aspects of enduring American character. An American history classic, Over Here reflects on a society's struggle with the pains of war, and offers trenchant insights into the birth of modern America.
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  • The 13th Valley

    by John M. Del Vecchio Year Published:
    A work that has served as a literary cornerstone for the Vietnam generation, The 13th Valley follows the strange and terrifying Vietnam combat experiences of James Chelini, a telephone-systems installer who finds himself an infantryman in territory controlled by the North Vietnamese Army. Spiraling deeper and deeper into a world of conflict and darkness, this harrowing account of Chelini's plunge and immersion into jungle warfare traces his evolution from a semipacifist to an all-out warmonger. The seminal novel on the Vietnam experience, The 13th Valley is a classic that illuminates the war in Southeast Asia like no other book.
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  • The First World War

    by John Keegan Year Published:
    In a riveting narrative that puts diaries, letters and action reports to good use, British military historian Keegan (The Face of Battle, etc.) delivers a stunningly vivid history of the Great War. He is equally at easeAand equally generous and sympatheticAprobing the hearts and minds of lowly soldiers in the trenches or examining the thoughts and motivations of leaders (such as Joffre, Haig and Hindenburg) who directed the maelstrom. In the end, Keegan leaves us with a brilliant, panoramic portrait of an epic struggle that was at once noble and futile, world-shaking and pathetic. The war was unnecessary, Keegan writes, because the train of events that led to it could have been derailed at any time, "had prudence or common goodwill found a voice." And it was tragic, consigning 10 million to their graves, destroying "the benevolent and optimistic culture" of Europe and sowing the seeds of WWII. While Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War (Forecasts, Mar. 8) offers a revisionist, economic interpretation of the causes of WWI, Keegan stands impressively mute before the unanswerable question he poses: "Why did a prosperous continent, at the height of its success as a source and agent of global wealth and power and at one of the peaks of its intellectual and cultural achievement, choose to risk all it had won for itself and all it offered to the world in the lottery of a vicious and local internecine conflict?" Photos not seen by PW. 75,000-copy first printing; simultaneous Random House audio. (June) Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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  • The Great War: 1914-1914

    by Spencer C. Tucker Year Published:
    World War I was an event of unprecedented violence and a turning point in history. This book presents a clearly written narrative for the general reader that concentrates on the military campaigns of The Great War. It addresses the dilemmas posed by new technologies and the impact of command decisions to overcome them. The author also provides an easy-to-understand, concise analysis of the events leading to the war and of the flawed peace settlement that came in its wake.
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  • The Guns of August

    The Guns of August

    by Barbara Tuchman Year Published:
    Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to Worl War I. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, Ms. Tuchman reveals, for the first time, just how the war started, why, and why it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, THE GUNS OF AUGUST will not be forgotten.
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  • The Millionaires' Unit

    by Marc Wortman Year Published:
    This entirely readable history of the First Yale Air Unit describes a flying club of well-off undergraduates whose money helped buy flying lessons and planes, enabling them to transform themselves into a group of trained military pilots who actually served with distinction in World War I in both the navy and the air service. First, however, they had to survive their instructors (including Frenchmen), their training planes, and the weather in the U.S and then Europe, all before getting within sight of the Germans. Among those who didn't return was Kenneth MacLeish, brother of the poet Archibald; among those who survived was Robert Lovett, eventually President Truman's secretary of defense. Others served further in World War II, and even those who never again climbed into a cockpit became an influential constituency for air power in business, the professions, politics, and academia. Wortman has researched thoroughly and written clearly, thereby enhancing our knowledge of aviation history, Yale, and World War I. Roland Green Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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  • World War I

    by S.L.A. Marshall Year Published:
    A "full-dress history of the war by one of our most distinguished military writers" (NEW YORK TIMES), WORLD WAR I takes us from the first shots in Sarajevo to the signing of the peace treaty in Versailles and through every bunker, foxhole, and minefield in between. General S.L.A. Marshall drew on his unique firsthand experience as a soldier and a lifetime of military service to pen this forthright, forward-thinking history of what people once believed would be the last great war. Newly introduced by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, David M. Kennedy, WORLD WAR I is a classic example of unflinching military history that is certain to inform, enrich, and deepen our understanding of this great cataclysm.
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Colonial America

  • American Colonies: The Settling of North America

    by Alan Taylor Year Published:
    First in Viking's new five-volume series the Penguin History of the United States, edited by noted Columbia historian Eric Foner (Reconstruction), this book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Taylor (William Cooper's Town) challenges traditional Anglocentric interpretations of colonial history by focusing more evenly on the myriad influences on North America's development. Beginning with the Siberian migrations across the Bering Straits 15 millennia ago, Taylor lays out the complicated road map of ownership, occupation and competition involving the Native Americans, African slaves and Spanish, Dutch, French and English colonists. He covers settlement and conquest from Canada to Mexico, and from the West Indies and mainland colonies to the Pacific islands. "The colonial intermingling of peoples and of microbes, plants, and animals from different continents was unparalleled in speed and volume in global history," he writes. Taylor delves deeply into topics given scant mention in most histories: the crucial role of the West Indies in the 17th-century economy and the particular brand of brutality that supported it; cultural disparities among the many Native peoples that influenced their mutually dependent relations with the various colonizers. An extensive, chapter-by-chapter bibliography lists further reading. Even the serious student of history will find a great deal of previously obscure information, for instance that in the 18th century the Russian fur traders went much farther on North America's Pacific Coast than the explorers sent by the Russian crown. The book offers a balanced understanding of the diverse peoples and forces that converged on this continent early on and influenced the course of American history. Illus. (Nov. 12)Forecast: This bold new view of early America should be widely and well reviewed, and will attract a broad range of students of American history.
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  • Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early North America

    by Gary B. Nash Year Published:
    "Breaking through the notion of Indians and Africans being kneaded like dough according to the whims of the invading Europeans was one of the main goals of his book from the start. During the last two decades, as I have revised this book for new editions, a host of resourceful and talented anthropologists and historians have provided rich studies that add depth and complexity to this initial formulation. A body of historical literature now shows irrefutably how Africans and Native Americans were critically important participants in the making of American history. Wherever has fallen the focus of these scholarly inquiries-the French penetration of the Great Lakes region, the Spanish occupation of Florida and New Mexico, the English interaction with the Iroquois or Catawba, the English enslavement of Africans in South Carolina, Virginia, Barbados, and Jamaica-a consistent picture has emerged of the complex, intercultural birthing of the 'new world"
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Revolutionary War

  • 'The Dye Is Now Cast': The Road to American Independence, 1774-1776

    by Lillian B. Miller Year Published:
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  • Founding Brother's: The Revolutionary Generation

    by Joseph J. Ellis Year Published:
    In retrospect, it seems as if the American Revolution was inevitable. But was it? In Founding Brothers, Joseph J. Ellis reveals that many of those truths we hold to be self-evident were actually fiercely contested in the early days of the republic. Ellis focuses on six crucial moments in the life of the new nation, including a secret dinner at which the seat of the nation's capital was determined--in exchange for support of Hamilton's financial plan; Washington's precedent-setting Farewell Address; and the Hamilton and Burr duel. Most interesting, perhaps, is the debate (still dividing scholars today) over the meaning of the Revolution. In a fascinating chapter on the renewed friendship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at the end of their lives, Ellis points out the fundamental differences between the Republicans, who saw the Revolution as a liberating act and hold the Declaration of Independence most sacred, and the Federalists, who saw the revolution as a step in the building of American nationhood and hold the Constitution most dear. Throughout the text, Ellis explains the personal, face-to-face nature of early American politics--and notes that the members of the revolutionary generation were conscious of the fact that they were establishing precedents on which future generations would rely.

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  • In the Minds and Hearts of the People: Prologue to the American Revolution 1760-1774

    by New York Graphic Society Year Published:
    Prologue to the Revolutionary War
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  • The American Revolution

    by Gordon S. Wood Year Published:
    An account of the revolution in arms and consciousness that gave birth tot he American Republic. "Wood is the preeminent historian of the Revolution...Here...he manages to boil down to its essence this crucial period in the country's history without in the process reducing it to History Lite...His account of the emergence and development of rank-and-file political opinion is especially provocative and informative, but then so is just about everything else in this remarkable, invaluable book." -The Washington Post Book World.
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  • The Boston Massacre

    by Hiller B. Zobel Year Published:
    "In hard, tight, and exact language, disciplined by close reasoning and close documentation, and seasoned with a sharp sense of character and drama, Hiller B. Zobel has written a definitive account. . . . Full of gripping detail, a good deal of myth-shattering, and some discriminating reappraisals."
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  • The Unknown American Revolution

    by Gary B. Nash Year Published:
    In this audacious recasting of the American Revolution, distinguished historian Gary Nash offers a profound new way of thinking about the struggle to create this country, introducing readers to a coalition of patriots from all classes and races of American society. From millennialist preachers to enslaved Africans, frontier mystics to dockside tars, disgruntled women to aggrieved Indians, the people so vividly portrayed in this book did not all agree or succeed, but during the exhilarating and messy years of this country's birth, they put forth ideas that have become part of our inheritance and ideals toward which we still strive today.
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World War II

Nation Building

  • Alexander Hamilton, American

    by Richard Brookhiser Year Published:
    The man on the $10 bill is probably the most overlooked Founding Father. This book--not a names-and-dates biography, but an appreciation and assessment in the tradition of Plutarch--should help change that. Richard Brookhiser is an outstanding writer well known for his previous books (especially the wonderful Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington) and journalism (in National Review and the New York Observer); Hamilton could not have asked for a better advocate. A signer of the Constitution and author of roughly two-thirds of the Federalist Papers, Hamilton became the first secretary of the treasury at the age of 32. In this capacity, Brookhiser argues that the scrappy Caribbean native gave birth to American capitalism by developing the country's financial system. Brookhiser also reveals the sex and violence of Hamilton's life: he survived personal scandal but was shot down by Aaron Burr in an 1804 duel. The end came too soon for Hamilton--and it also helped elevate the reputation of his nemesis, Thomas Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton: American is by turns learned, funny, and inspiring. A model of popular biography, it convinces us why we should care deeply about a remarkable man who lived two centuries ago.
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  • What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall & the Epic Struggle to Create a United States

    by James F. Simon Year Published:
    Simon (a former Time editor, now a law professor at NYU) examines the decades of conflict between the states' rights views of Thomas Jefferson and the federalist beliefs of John Marshall. In 1801, at the end of Adams's presidency, Marshall accepted the Supreme Court chief justice's position and Jefferson became the nation's third president. That set the stage for years of competition between the two philosophies of government, especially the two visions of the judiciary, represented by the principal antagonists of Simon's history. Simon deftly explains how Jefferson and Marshall maintained a faeade of civility in their public pronouncements while unleashing blistering mutual vituperation privately. Ultimately, as Simon demonstrates, Marshall prevailed. His technique was subtlety itself. In his opinion in Marbury v. Madison, Marshall gave an ostensible victory to Madison (Jefferson's Secretary of State) but reached that result by asserting the authority of the Supreme Court to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional. That assertion had far-reaching implications for consolidating the federal government's power. Once the Supreme Court became the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution, the court repeatedly exercised its authority to invalidate state laws and court decisions inconsistent with the federal Constitution. Simon usefully narrows his focus to a handful of key decisions by the Marshall court, showing how the justice's concept of what kind of nation the U.S. should be progressively swept aside Jefferson's belief that state and federal governments were equal sovereigns. Simon's book illuminates the origins of a national political debate that continues today.
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  • What the Anti-Federalists Were For: The political thought of the opponents of the Constitution

    by Herbert J. Storing Year Published:
    The Anti-Federalists, in Herbert J. Storing's view, are somewhat paradoxically entitled to be counted among the Founding Fathers and to share in the honor and study devoted to the founding. "If the foundations of the American polity was laid by the Federalists," he writes, "the Anti-Federalist reservations echo through American history; and it is in the dialogue, not merely in the Federalist victory, that the country's principles are to be discovered." It was largely through their efforts, he reminds us, that the Constitution was so quickly amended to include a bill of rights. Storing here offers a brilliant introduction to the thought and principles of the Anti-Federalists as they were understood by themselves and by other men and women of their time. His comprehensive exposition restores to our understanding the Anti-Federalist share in the founding its effect on some of the enduring themes and tensions of American political life. The concern with big government and infringement of personal liberty one finds in the writings of these neglected Founders strikes a remarkably timely note.
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8th Grade Reading

  • An Enemy Among Them

    An Enemy Among Them

    by Deborah H. Deford & Harry S. Stout Year Published:
    Grade 6-8 This historical novel has an interesting and original setting, together with sound historical underpinningsfeatures that almost, but not quite, make up for the routine style in which it is written. Margaret Volpert, whose Pennsylvania family is firmly in the rebel camp during the American Revolution, and Christian Molitor, newly arrived from Germany as part of the Hessian mercenary troops, meet when Christian, wounded and taken prisoner, is paroled into the custody of Margaret's father. He becomes friendly with Margaret's brother John, who has been seriously wounded in the same battle as Christianby Christian, a fact which haunts the Hessian more and more as his feelings for the family, especially Margaret, increase. Near the end of the story, Margaret and Christian warn the rebel forces of a Loyalist plot to defeat them in the coming battle at Stony Point. At the close, Margaret's painful waiting, a continuing theme in the story, goes onthis time for Christian, whom she hopes will survive the war to marry her. As the story rushes to the final events, it becomes more involving, but never quite rises above its authors' inability to provide readers with more than mundane interest in the characters. While a new historical novel for children is always welcome, especially one as well researched as this, it lacks sharp, well-developed characterizations and a vivid prose style. Christine Behrmann, New York Public Lib .
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  • Carry on Mr. Bowditch

    by Jean Lee Latham Year Published:
    Nathaniel Bowditch grew up in a sailor"s world—Salem in the early days, when tall-masted ships from foreign ports crowded the wharves. But Nat didn"t promise to have the makings of a sailor; he was too physically small. Nat may have been slight of build, but no one guessed that he had the persistence and determination to master sea navigation in the days when men sailed only by "log, lead, and lookout." Nat"s long hours of study and observation, collected in his famous work, The American Practical Navigator (also known as the "Sailors" Bible"), stunned the sailing community and made him a New England hero.
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  • Early Thunder

    by Jean Fritz Year Published:
    Early Thunder is a book about a boy grwoing up right before the Revoloutionary War. He is a Tory, which means that he supports the King and British rule. Daniel West, a 13-year-old boy, is a loyal Tory with a father who happens to be a doctor. He has a little sister and brother, and a best friend named Beckett Foote. Daniel watches as the events that lead to the American Revololution take place. He questions his loyalty to the King, and in the end, shows whom he supports loud and clear.
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  • Guns for General Washington

    by Seymour Reit Year Published:
    A novel about a little-known event in American history--the great cannon trek of 1775. Colonel Henry Knox conceived a plan to take desperately needed cannons and ammunition from New York's Fort Ticonderoga to Boston where rebel forces feared that a British attack was imminent. The huge, ungainly guns had to be moved during the winter over hundreds of miles of mountainous wilderness. The bulk of this book re-creates that arduous journey to and from the fort. Despite its pedestrian title and uninspired cover art, this is a fast paced, well-told adventure story. Dialogue among the characters sounds authentic and never forced. Will Knox, the colonel's 19-year-old brother, goes along on the trek and provides a character with whom readers can readily identify. Satisfying historical fiction that deserves a place on library shelves for its clear telling of an important but obscure chapter in American history.
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  • Or Give Me Death

    by Ann Rinaldi Year Published:
    "I was the first one in the family to know when Mama started to go insane." This introductory line sets the tone for this story about Patrick Henry's two eldest daughters struggling to grow up in revolutionary America. The first part of the book is narrated by 16-year-old Patsy, who strives to gain her siblings' respect and retain control of the family's "Negro servants" when her mother is confined to the cellar. With immature aspirations and clouded by the fear that she will inherit her mother's illness, she longs only to marry her betrothed and to live a privileged, petted life on their Virginia plantation. Willful, provoking, and seemingly spoiled, nine-year-old Anne narrates the second part. She is surprisingly filled with insight, intelligence, and overwhelming compassion as she challenges her domineering sister. Tormented by the question, "when do you keep a secret and when do you tell a lie?" Anne takes measurable yet unrewarded risks to do what is best for those she loves. Rinaldi successfully weaves the past into a fascinating story from two unique perspectives. Although the plot unfolds slowly at the beginning, its appeal along with the pace increases. The book is an intriguing blend of historical fact and fiction within which lies the hint of embedded psychological themes such as mental disorders, precognition, and complex relationship issues. Kimberly Monaghan, Vernon Area Public Library, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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  • Time Enough for Drums

    by Ann Rinaldi Year Published:
    Jemima Emerson witnesses the events of the Revolutionary War as they affect her family and home town of Trenton, N.J. She is a fiesty young lady whose family represents the differing positions of the colonies' fight for independence. Her older sister is married to a British officer, her paternal grandfather works for Indian justice and the cause of independence, her maternal grandfather is a Tory, her older brother an officer in Washington's army, and her mother writes pseudonymous patriotic letters to the newspaper. Jemima is tutored by John Reid, a supposed Tory who is really a spy for Washington, with whom she clashes as he tries to make her a proper young lady. Gradually her feelings for Reid change from animosity to love. The book is a good introduction to the causes and effects of the war but does not have the ring of veracity as does My Brother Sam Is Dead (Scholastic, 1985) by James and Christopher Collier. Problems arise with the use of first person in providing Jemima with information to report to readers. Lucy the house slave knows that the Hessian grenadiers had killed more American soldiers than any other Hessian unit on American soil. How Lucy became privy to this evaluation is not explained. Another issue that does not sit well is Reid's manipulation of Jemima. This might have been standard treatment for the period or an element borrowed from paperback historical romances, but it lessons the appeal of Jemima as the heroine of the story. Twentieth Century prejudice aside, readers will share the events of the war and be rewarded with a better understanding of the War for Independence. Therese Bigelow, Hampton Public Library, Va. Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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  • Traitor: Case of Benedict Arnold

    Traitor: Case of Benedict Arnold

    by Jean Fritz Year Published:
    This book about Benedict Arnold told of his heroic deeds as well as his betrayal of our country. The book shows how Benedict Arnold's need to prove that he was courageous, and his desire to be a great hero and receive recognition, led to his downfall. It is a well written book which provided both historical information and entertainment.
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Juniors: Second Sem Reading

  • A Soldier's Dream: Captain Travis Patriquin and th

    A Soldier's Dream: Captain Travis Patriquin and the Awakening of Iraq

    by William Doyle Year Published:
    The incredible true story of a fallen American hero who was instrumental in turning the tide of violence in the Iraq War. Travis Patriquin, a young Special Forces officer, had already won a Bronze Star in Afghanistan before being transferred to Iraq. An Arabic linguist, Patriquin set out to establish a crucial network with tribal leaders built on mutual trust and respect. In 2006, Patriquin unleashed a diplomatic and cultural charm offensive upon the Sunni Arab sheiks of Anbar province, the heart of darkness of the Iraqi insurgency. He galvanized American support for the Sunni Awakening, the tribal revolt against Al Qaeda that spread through Anbar and eventually across the country-a turning point which led to dramatically lower levels of violence starting in mid-2007. Before his tragic death from an IED explosion, Travis Patriquin was so beloved by Iraqis that they adopted him into their tribes and loved him as a brother. A Soldier's Dream is a tribute to a man who loved Iraq-and a devoted soldier who made a crucial impact on the Iraq War.
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  • Coldest War: A Memoir of Korea

    by James Brady Year Published:
    compelling account of Brady's year as a Marine lieutenant in the Korean War. This fascinating book packs twice the whallop for being both an informative and judicious look at America's "forgotten war" as well as a page-turner. That more Americans were killed (54,000) in this stand-off than in Vietnam is a fact few young people are aware of, and in these times of increased interest in reassessing our rationale and methods in Vietnam, the Korean war holds a remarkable series of parallels that will leave readers wondering how we could have repeated so many mistakes. Brady has an engaging style, placing poignant memories of lighting up in the trenches with his buddies alongside suspensefully drawn incidents of two-bit and grand-scale skirmishes in which those same buddies are carried off the field on stretchers. An insightful look at the changes that even a so-called liberal young man goes through in the peculiar human and male rituals of war adds to an already rich and satisfying book. --Catherine vanSonnenberg, San Diego Public Library
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  • Fields of Fire

    by James Webb Year Published:
    hey each had their reasons for being a soldier. They each had their illusions. Goodrich came from Harvard. Snake got the tattoo — Death Before Dishonor — before he got the uniform. And Hodges was haunted by the ghosts of family heroes. They were three young men from different worlds plunged into a white-hot, murderous realm of jungle warfare as it was fought by one Marine platoon in the An Hoa Basin, 1969. They had no way of knowing what awaited them. Nothing could have prepared them for the madness to come. And in the heat and horror of battle they took on new identities, took on each other, and were each reborn in fields of fire.... Fields of Fire is James Webb’s classic, searing novel of the Vietnam War, a novel of poetic power, razor-sharp observation, and agonizing human truths seen through the prism of nonstop combat. Weaving together a cast of vivid characters, Fields of Fire captures the journey of unformed men through a man-made hell — until each man finds his fate.
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  • Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam

    by Lynda Van Devanter Year Published:
    "This incredible story, which plunges us immediately into the bloodiest aspects of the war, is also a suspenseful autobiography that will keep you chewing your fingernails to see if Van Devanter survives any of it at all. She proves herself a natural storyteller. . . . The most extraordinary part in this book is Van Devanter's plight after the war-her attempt to retrieve the love of her family, only to realize they don't want to see her slides, hear her stories; her assignment to menial duties at Walter Reed Army Hospital. . . . How Van Devanter survives all of this to become, incredibly, a stronger person for it is what makes her book so riveting."-San Francisco Chronicle "An awesome, painfully honest look at war through a woman's eyes. Her letters home and startling images of life in a combat zone-surgeons fighting to save a Vietnamese baby wounded in utero, the ever-present stench of napalm-charred flesh, a beloved priest's gentle humor and appalling death, the casual heroism of her colleagues, a Vietnamese 'Papa-san' trying to talk his dead child back to life, a haunting snapshot dropped by a dying soldier with no face-tell the story of a young American's rude initiation to the best and the worst of humanity."-Washington Post "Moving, powerful . . . a healing book."-Ms. Magazine "This book reads like a diary: unguarded, heartfelt. . . . [It] is both moving and valu-able, for reminding us so vividly that war is indeed hell . . . and that its most tested heroes are the doctors and nurses who doggedly labor not just to save life, but also to keep their respect for it, even as their surviving patients are sent out, once more, unto the breach."-Harper's Magazine "In Vietnam, reality hit fast: Van Devanter's plane was fired on when it landed in Saigon; and after three days of adjustment, she was assigned to the 71st Evacuation Hospital, a 'MASH-type facility' near the Cambodian border. There, the casualties, . . . the personal danger, the fatigue, the heat, rain, and mud, the harassment of officers enforcing petty regulations, and above all the meaninglessness of American involvement rapidly put an end to Van Devanter's blind patriotism, her innocence, and her youth. . . . Van Devanter brings us face to face with the toll that undeclared war took on its combatants."-Kirkus Reviews "If you read only one work about Vietnam, make this the one. . . . This is the way it was, as seen through the eyes of an army second lieutenant when she was twenty-two. I believe her completely, because this reviewer remembers Vietnam the same way, when he was a nineteen-year-old Marine PFC."-Deseret Sentinel About the Author LYNDA VAN DEVANTER has served as the National Women's Director of the Vietnam Veterans of America. She counsels other Vietnam veterans and conducts seminars around the country.
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  • Noble Cause

    by Robert O. McCartan Year Published:
    Recoiling from a body blow to his injured shoulder, Air Force Captain Troy Bench crumples to the floor, writhing in pain. He wonders how much longer he can resist the physical and psychological punishment dealt by his Soviet interrogators. He thinks of his family and his Air Force Academy training, and is inspired. But is it too late? Has he already let them down? His mind sinks into despair. Noble Cause cleverly weaves an intriguing story of a young Strategic Air Command jet bomber crew caught up in a shrewd scheme to deceive the enemy during the harrowing days of the Cold War.
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  • Seven Laurels

    by Linda Busby Parker Year Published:
    Set in a small community between Montgomery and Birmingham, this first novel brings home the historic struggle for civil rights through the personal story of one man and his family from the 1950s onward. Brewster McAtee hears all about the political ferment of the times--the protests, sit-ins, and assassinations--but he just wants to buy his own land, make a success of his woodcraft business, and raise his family: "He had plenty to keep himself busy here in his own shed." But when he registers to vote, his business is set on fire. The KKK is always there, even in the next generation, still a menace right next door, and Brewster's racist neighbor, "bent with age and cruelty," comes for Brewster's brilliant, gifted son. That gorgeous son is just too saintly to be true, but then we are seeing him through his father's eyes, in adoration and anguish. It's the truth of Brewster's viewpoint, the daily details of work and family, that gives this docu-novel its searing power. Winner of the James Jones First Novel Award.
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  • The Marines of Autumn: A Novel of the Korean War

    by James Brady Year Published:
    Columnist and author Brady (The Coldest War) has written the most powerful and stunning war novel since 1997's The Black Flower by Howard Bahr. In 1950, soon after the start of the Korean War, the men of the 1st Marine Division found themselves surrounded by 100,000 Communist Chinese soldiers at the famous battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Brady is a Marine veteran of the forgotten war, and he writes colorfully and convincingly about how 20,000 Americans fought their way out of the Communist trap in the most bitterly cold winter weather ever experienced on the Korean peninsula. Reserve Marine Capt. Tom Verity, a young widower and a single parent, is recalled to active duty in the autumn of 1950; he is a Chinese linguist whose skills are badly needed. Gen. Douglas MacArthur has unwisely sent the Marine division into North Korea with orders to march to the Chinese border; despite MacArthur's flippant assurances, the Marines suspect the Red Chinese are waiting for them in the Taebaek Mountains. Verity is to join the forward battalion and gather intelligence for the Marine brass. Aided by conscientious, capable Gunnery Sergeant Tate and jeep-stealing, wise-cracking Corporal Izzo, Verity's efforts pay off, but it is too late. The Communists attack relentlessly, day and night, and with temperatures down to 25 degrees below zero, everyone freezes. The American withdrawal back to the seaport of Wonsan is a horrific nightmare of fatigue, frostbite, wounds and death. After days of marching and fighting, Verity, Tate and Izzo are about to reach safety when a single sniper's bullet changes all their fates. Brady's narrative captures the viciousness of combat, the brutal weather conditions, the forbidding terrain and the Marines' display of extraordinary courage, sacrifice, and valor. Incisively mapping out the fine lines between hope and despair, heroism and cowardice, this moving novel is a model of historical and moral accuracy.
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  • The Perfect Shot

    by Elaine Maria Alphin Year Published:
    This engrossing thriller weaves issues of civil rights, racial prejudice, the judicial system, and the lessons of history into a suspenseful tale of a high-school senior who wants to do the right thing. Brian's girlfriend, Amanda; her sister; and their mother are shot to death in their garage. The girls' father is put on trial for the crime. On the day of the murders, however, Brian saw something that he thinks might affect the case. The story is told in flashbacks as he struggles for his life after being shot–as readers will suspect–by the true killer. What might have been a straightforward mystery grows richer as Brian compares Amanda's father's situation to the 1913 Leo Frank murder case he is researching for class. Another thread follows the arrest of Brian's friend and basketball teammate Julius, one of the few African Americans in their small Indiana town. Brian must also cope with pressure from his father to excel in basketball, and with his overwhelming grief over Amanda's death. Some of the insights about the flaws in our justice system come across as preachy, but Brian's personal dilemma–should he speak out and make waves or keep his doubts to himself–prevent the story from turning into a lesson on social justice. This novel will resonate with readers long after the final page. Sports fans will also enjoy the action-packed games as Brian attempts to lead his team to victory.–Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
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  • We Were Soldiers Once...& Young

    by Harold G. Moore & Joseph L. Galloway Year Published:
    n the first significant engagement between American troops and the Viet Cong, 450 U.S. soldiers found themselves surrounded and outnumbered by their enemy. This book tells the story of how they battled between October 23 and November 26, 1965. Its prose is gritty, not artful, delivering a powerful punch of here-and-now descriptions that could only have been written by people actually on the scene. In fact, they were: Harold Moore commanded the men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, who did most of the fighting, and Joseph Galloway was the only reporter present throughout the battle's 34 harrowing days. We Were Soldiers Once... combines their memories with more than 100 in-depth interviews with survivors on both sides. The Battle of Ia Drang also highlights a technological advance that would play an enormous role in the rest of the war: this was perhaps the first place where helicopter-based, air-mobile operations demonstrated their combat potential. At bottom, however, this is a tale of heroes and heroism, some acts writ large, others probably forgotten but for this telling. It was a bestseller when first published, and remains one of the better books available on combat during the Vietnam War.
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History DVDs

  • Battle Ground Vietnam War in the Jungle

    by Madacy Entertainment LP Year Published:
    Disc 1: Episode 1 - Into the Quagmire 1954-1964 Episode 2 - Next stop is Vietnam 1964-1966 Disc 2: Episode 3 - America's War Episode 4 - Fading Light at the End of the Tunnel Disc 3: Episode 5 - POW Episode 6 - Dust Off Disc 4: Episode 7 - The Value of a Hill 1968-1970 Episode 8 - The Last Run 1971-1975 Disc 5: Bonus DVD - A Day in Nam, Navy in Vietnam, Pipeline to Victory Progress to Peace
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  • Blood and Oil: The Middle East in WWI

    by Marty Callagham Year Published:
    "Blood and Oil - The Middle East in World War I" examines the devastating conflict and Western political intrigue that laid the foundation for wars, coups, revolts and military interventions in the Middle East. After the end of World War I, most of the Ottoman Empire was carved up into "spheres of influence," controlled mostly by the British and French. The remaining territories became the modern state of Turkey in 1923 - after a five-year struggle by Turkish nationalists against Western domination. Written and produced by Marty Callaghan ("Archives of War," "Remember Pearl Harbor: America Taken by Surprise"), this feature-length documentary film follows conflict from the Ottoman Empire's entry into the Great War in October 1914 to the Allied victory and declaration of the new Turkish Republic in 1923, and the hostilities that have plagued the region since. The 112-minute DVD also features extended expert commentary.
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  • Bush's War

    by Michael Kirk Year Published:
    /11 and Al Qaeda, Afghanistan and Iraq, WMD and the Insurgency, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Fallujah and the Surge. For six years, FRONTLINE has been revealing those stories in meticulous detail, and the political dramas played out at the highest levels. Now, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the full saga will unfold in this special definitive documentary analysis of one of the most challenging periods in the nation's history.
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  • Founding Brothers

    by The History Channel Year Published:
    he "self-evident" truths were intensely debated. In America's first years, Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Burr struggled to transform their disparate visions into an enduring government. Based on Joseph Ellis' Pulitzer Prize winning book, Founding Brothers examines six moments when the collisons and collusions of these towering figures left an indelible imprint on the nation: the secret dinner that determined the site of the capital and America's financial future; Benjamin Franklin's call for an end to slavery; George Washington's farewell address to the nation; John Adams's term as president; Hamilton and Burr's famous and fatal duel, and the final reconciliation between Adams and Jefferson. Drawing on the words of the founders and incisive commentary from leading scholars, Founding Brothers is an elegant and engaging portrait of America's origins in personal conflict and compromise. The political wrangles of a fledgling country may sound dull compared to the drama of a war, but the early history of the United States only gets more fascinating as the Revolutionary War is left behind. Founding Brothers, a documentary from the History Channel, examines the struggle to not only establish democracy, but to give it the economic strength and governmental structure that will allow it to survive and thrive. George Washington grappled not only with politics, but with questions of style and propriety--how should a president, as opposed to a king, behave? Understanding the conflicts between Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson will illuminate ideas that have shaped the government of the U.S. ever since. Founding Brothers provides a wealth of portraits and illustrations from the time, as well as discreet dramatizations, that bring the rise of party politics to life, humanizing these historical figures with tales of the scandals and squabbles they faced as well as their political achievements. An excellent introduction to the roots of the American experiment, and a bracing illustration of what Jefferson meant when he said of the presidency, "No man will bring out of that office the reputation which carried him into it." --Bret Fetzer
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  • In Debt We Trust

    by Danny Schechter Year Published:
    Just a few decades ago, owing more money than you had in your bank account was the exception, not the rule. Yet, in the last 10 years, consumer debt has doubled and, for the first time, Americans are spending more than they're saving -- or making. This April, award-winning former ABC News and CNN producer Danny Schechter investigates America's mounting debt crisis in his latest hard-hitting expose, IN DEBT WE TRUST. While many Americans are "maxing out" on credit cards, there is a much deeper story: power is shifting into fewer hands...with frightening consequences. IN DEBT WE TRUST reveals a hitherto unknown cabal of credit card companies, lobbyists, media conglomerates and the Bush administration itself, which has colluded to deregulate the lending industry, ensuring that a culture of credit dependency can flourish. In the film, Schechter exposes the mechanisms and machinations behind the hidden financial and political complex that allows even the lowest wage earners to indebt themselves so heavily that house repossessions have become commonplace. One expert in the film goes so far as to dub this "21st-century serfdom." Inspired by scholar Robert Manning - one of the films' key advisers' - and his seminal book "Credit Card Nation", IN DEBT WE TRUST showcases his insights about the impact of debt on young people and our society. It also suggests the kinds of practical efforts needed to empower the public with information to avoid the traps of debt dependency. The whole world depends on the economic stability of the United States. Yet, as its national and consumer debt escalates, our interconnected global economy is at incredible risk. IN DEBT WE TRUST, as timely and relevant as a film can be, delivers an urgent warning that can't be ignored.
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  • Korea The Forgotten War 1950-1953

    by Marathon Music & video Year Published:
    In June of 1950, the North Korean Army initiated a massive attack on its neighbor to the south, beginning a see-saw war that would engulf the entire Korean peninsula. For the next three years, The United Nations and the Communists would wage a bloody and brutal war. Though the Korean conflict is often referred to as the "Forgotten War", those who fought and sacrificed for freedom will never forget.
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  • Last Stand of the 300

    by The History Channel Year Published:
    The legendary battle of Thermopylae is still acknowledged today for its brilliant military maneuvers and the well-trained and fearless soldiers who fought to the death. The History Channel® presents a detailed account of this legendary battle, examining the events leading up to the conflict, the tactical expertise that allowed the outnumbered Greeks to stall their mighty foes, and the bloody encounter itself. Find out how an army of a few hundred men overcame impossible odds and witness the conflict that altered the course of Western civilization. Last Stand of the 300 is an interesting 90-minute documentary from the History Channel explaining the details of the ancient Spartans' showdown with the Persian army at the battle of Thermopylae. It's long been a fascinating subject, but it hit popular culture in a big way with the 2007 feature film 300, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. Last Stand of the 300 helps explain the background behind the battle as well as many of the details not covered in the movie, including how the Ionian Revolt and the famed battle of Marathon led to Themopylae, the naval front led by Thermistocles, and what happened afterward. Numerous scholars and authors (including the writers of Gates of Fire and Empires at War) explain the rigorous Spartan training, military strategy, the Oracle at Delphi, the Persian technological advantage, different kinds of weaponry and vessels (the Spartan hoplon, dory, and xiphos, and the trireme), and how one of Miller's famous lines came from Herodotus ("Then we shall have our battle in the shade"). The maps are extremely helpful for showing how the geography affected the battle (one detour would have cost the Persians an extra two years of travel time), but the reenactments look kind of simple compared to the extremely stylized feature film. --David Horiuchi
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  • Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West

    by National Geographic Year Published:
    Relive one of the greatest tales of adventure and exploration in history, as National Geographic brings to life the epic journey of Lewis, Clark, their guide Sacagawea and the brave Corps of Discovery across the land that would become the United States. Now, two hundred years after the launch of this ambitious expedition, experience first-hand the danger and breathtaking beauty of the unknown West as it unfolded before the eyes of Lewis & Clark.
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  • Maxed Out

    by James D. Scurlock Year Published:
    This takes viewers on a journey deep inside the american style of debt when things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. Shocking & incisive this paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us. Studio: Magnolia Pict Hm Ent Release Date: 07/29/2008 Run time: 90 minutes Rating: Nr In Maxed Out, author/director James D. Scurlock (Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders) takes on America's debt crisis. Consequently, he touches on related issues like race, corporate malfeasance, and political subterfuge. Scurlock’s multi-media approach incorporates statistics, news excerpts, and interviews, but it's rarely dull (comedy bits from Louis CK and tunes from Queen and Coldplay don't hurt). Speakers include economic professors, debt collectors, pawn brokers, investigative reporters, beleaguered consumers, and even Robin Leach (Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous). Instead of New York and Los Angeles, he concentrates on mid-size cities, like Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, and Seattle. Plenty of small towns also come into play. Though he never presses the point himself, Scurlock allows his subjects to note the similarities between the credit industry and the drug trade (others use such incendiary terms as "rape"). One thing he neglects to mention, however, is pride. If house payments are ruining your life, selling that property may be the only solution. In most cases, however, it's hard not to feel for those individuals who didn't know what they were getting into before they signed their lives away. For some viewers, this will be a dispiriting documentary--three subjects recount the suicides of relatives who found their debt too much to bear--but in explaining exactly how lenders and creditors make money, Maxed Out can help others to avoid some of their most egregious practices. In other words, debt may be a downer, but knowledge is power. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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  • No End in Sight

    by No Author Text Year Published:
    staggering portrait of arrogance and incompetence, the documentary No End in Sight avoids the question of why the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, choosing instead to focus on the war's aftermath--and meticulously examine the chain of decisions that led Iraq into a grotesque state of lawlessness and civil war. Drawing from interviews with top generals, administration officials, journalists, and soldiers who were in the thick of the war itself, No End in Sight lays out a gripping story, as suspenseful as any Hollywood movie, accompanied by terrifying footage of firefights and explosions more vivid than any special effects. Unfortunately, there is no happy ending. If the documentary has a weakness, it's the shortage of voices trying to defend the administration policies (perhaps unsurprisingly, policymakers like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz declined to be interviewed). But the testimony (presented by administration insiders and officials in Iraq, both military and civilian) argues that, despite contrary analysis and experienced advice against its actions, the top brass of the Bush administration made decisions (that aggravated already existing problems and created devastating new ones. No End in Sight builds its case one voice at a time and avoids the grandstanding that undercuts Michael Moore's work; instead, the gradual accumulation of simple facts--presented with weary resignation, earnest outrage, and restrained anger--results in a compelling condemnation of one of the worst blunders the U.S. has ever made. --Bret Fetzer
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  • The Band of Brothers: 10 Episodes

    by No Author Text Year Published:
    Based on the bestseller by Stephen E. Ambrose, the epic 10-part miniseries Band of Brothers tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. Drawn from interviews with survivors of Easy Company, as well as soldiers' journals and letters, Band of Brothers chronicles the experiences of these men who knew extraordinary bravery and extraordinary fear. They were an elete rifle company parachuting into France early on D-Day morning, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and capturing Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. They were also a unit that suffered 150 percent casualties, and whose lives became legend. An impressively rigorous, unsentimental, and harrowing look at combat during World War II, Band of Brothers follows a company of airborne infantry--Easy Company--from boot camp through the end of the war. The brutality of training takes the audience by increments to the even greater brutality of the war; Easy Company took part in some of the most difficult battles, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy, the failed invasion of Holland, and the Battle of the Bulge, as well as the liberation of a concentration camp and the capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest. But what makes these episodes work is not their historical sweep but their emphasis on riveting details (such as the rattle of a plane as the paratroopers wait to leap, or a flower in the buttonhole of a German soldier) and procedures (from military tactics to the workings of bureaucratic hierarchies). The scope of this miniseries (10 episodes, plus an actual documentary filled with interviews with surviving veterans) allows not only a thoroughness impossible in a two-hour movie, but also captures the wide range of responses to the stress and trauma of war--fear, cynicism, cruelty, compassion, and all-encompassing confusion. The result is a realism that makes both simplistic judgments and jingoistic enthusiasm impossible; the things these soldiers had to do are both terrible and understandable, and the psychological price they paid is made clear. The writing, directing, and acting are superb throughout. The cast is largely unknown, emphasizing the team of actors as a whole unit, much like the regiment; Damian Lewis and Ron Livingston play the central roles of two officers with grit and intelligence. Band of Brothers turns a vast historical event into a series of potent personal experiences; it's a deeply engrossing and affecting accomplishment. --Bret Fetzer
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  • The Mexican-American War

    by The History Channel Year Published:
    The Mexican-American War studies the controversial conflict from both sides, exploring why it began, how it was fought, and why it ended in the Treaty of Gualdalupe Hidalgo. Mexican and Aemrican historians join forces to unravel the many conflicting stories about the struggle - which features such figures as future president Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee - and shed crucial light on one of the most important battles in North American History.
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  • The True Story of Braveheart

    by The History Channel Year Published:
    The film "Braveheart" brought the name of Scottish hero William Wallace to the world's attention. Now, we disclose the true story of the man who rallied his people in the Scottish Wars of Independence from England. After his capture in 1305 and execution, King Edward I tried to destroy his reputation, but created a martyr instead.
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  • Trenches Battleground WWI Series

    by No Author Text Year Published:
    Disc 1: Episode 1- Clash of the Empires / Episode 2- Best Laid Plans Disc 2: Episode 3 -Looking for a Miracle / Episode 4 - Over the Top Disc 3: Episode 5 - Fight On, Fly On / Episode 6 Unending Hell Disc 4: Episode 7 - Crisis / Episode 8 - Retribution Disc 5: Bonus DVD - Flanders Fields / Heroes Perishing / The Big Picture
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  • Vietnam: America's Conflict

    by Mill Creek Entertainment Year Published:
    Be an eyewitness to the conflict that divided our nation and changed the very fabric of society. This collection of harrowing and compelling footage traces the evolution of this conflict from a regional military engagement to an ever-expanding war that ultimately spanned three U.S. Presidents. From strategic political move to the immediacy of jungle warfare and the weapons with which the war was waged, Vietnam: America's Conflict captures the sweep of history and the agony of a generation. Program list: 1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam 1st Infantry in Vietnam 4th Infantry Division 9th Infantry Division 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division The Airmobile Division The American Navy in Vietnam Another Day of War - The USAF in Vietnam Battle (Part 1) The Battle of Khe Sanh Beans, Bullets and Black Oil (Narrated by Henry Fonda) Contact - Ambush (Part 2) A Day in Vietnam The Drill Sergeant The Face of Rescue A Few Good Men For Thou Art With Me Full Blade The Gentle Hand Hall of Honor The Hidden War in Vietnam History of the Air Force - Vietnam and After Khe Sanh: Victory for Air Power Know Your Enemy: The Viet Cong Marines, 1965 A Nation Builds Under Fire Night of the Dragon No Substitute for Victory Operation Montagnard POW - A Report on Captivity in Southeast Asia Progress to Peace Ready to Strike Red Chinese Battle Plans Report on Marine Activities River Patrol Sand and Steel Screaming Eagles in Vietnam Sky Soldiers Small Boat Navy Sparrow Hawk There is a Way This is Parris Island (Marine training 1969) To Save a Soldier Twenty Five Hour Day The Unique War The United States Air Force in Vietnam Vietnam: The Big Picture Vietnam: P.O.W. Code of Conduct Vietnam Crucible Vietnam! Vietnam! War and Advice Why Vietnam
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  • Why We Fight

    by Eugene Jarecki Year Published:
    Why We Fight is the provocative new documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Eugene Jarecki (The Trials of Henry Kissinger) and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Named after the series of short films by legendary director Frank Capra that explored America’s reasons for entering World War II, Why We Fight surveys a half-century of military conflicts, asking how – and answering why – a nation of, by and for the people has become the savings-and-loan of a government system whose survival depends on an Orwellian state of constant war. The Why We Fight DVD features interviews and observations by a "who’s who" of military and Washington insiders including Senator John McCain, Gore Vidal, and Dan Rather. Beginning with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s prescient 1961 speech warning of the rise of the "military industrial complex," Why We Fight moves far beyond the headlines of various American military operations to the deeper questions of why America seemingly is always at war. What are the forces – political, economic, and ideological – that drive us to clash against an ever-changing enemy? Just why does America fight? Unforgettable, powerful and at times disturbing, Why We Fight on DVD will challenge viewers long after the last fade-out. Fans of Oliver Stone's J.F.K. will recognize the opening moments of writer-director Eugene Jarecki's Why We Fight, in which outgoing President Dwight Eisenhower warns of the pernicious and growing influence of what he called the "military-industrial complex." But Stone's movie, which uses the same footage, was a work of fiction. While those who disagree with the decidedly leftist point of view in this documentary will probably consider it the product of paranoid liberal fantasy as well, there's enough credible material, much of it supplied by the targets of Jarecki's criticisms, to make Eisenhower look like a prophet and everyone else uneasy about the dark confluence of politics, money, and war that controls the country's fortunes. The message here is that while there may be some who sincerely believe that America's various military engagements (in Iraq, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and elsewhere) since World War II are the product of our God-given duty to spread freedom and halt the influence of evil ideologies around the world, the real reason we fight is that war is good business. This is hardly a bulletin; anyone who is surprised by allegations that politicians pander to defense contractors, or that Vice President Dick Cheney helped secure huge deals for Halliburton, the company he formerly headed, simply hasn't been paying attention (Politicians lie? How shocking!). In fact, the principal drawback to Jarecki's film is simply that there's nothing particularly revelatory or compelling about it. Only when he takes a personal approach does he go beyond the obvious; the story of a retired New York policeman and former Vietnam veteran whose son died in the World Trade Center, who wanted revenge, but who became seriously disillusioned when Bush admitted that the war in Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, adds some much needed human interest. Still, Why We Fight, which includes a director's audio commentary track and a few other bonus features, serves as a grim reminder that the world's most powerful nation has strayed far from the principles of our founding fathers, a development that does not bode well for America's future. --Sam Graham
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My Favorite Suspense & Action

  • Angels & Demons

    Angels & Demons

    by Dan Brown Year Published: Average
    An ancient secret brotherhood. A devastating new weapon of destruction. An unthinkable target. When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol -- seared into the chest of a murdered physicist -- he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati...the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy -- the Catholic Church. Langdon's worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican's holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces they have hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival. Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair...a clandestine location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation. An explosive international thriller, Angels & Demons careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.
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  • Da Vinci Code

    Da Vinci Code

    by Dan Brown Year Published: Average
    Robert Langdon is a Harvard professor of symbology who can't stay out of trouble. Last seen in Angels and Demons (2000), this mild-mannered academic finds himself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that stretches back centuries. Visiting Paris on business, he is awakened at 2:00 a.m. by a call from the police: An elderly curator has been murdered inside the Louvre, and a baffling cipher has been found near the body. Aided by the victim's cryptologist granddaughter, Langdon begins a danger-filled quest for the culprit; but the deeper he searches, the more he becomes convinced that long-festering conspiracies hold the answer to the art lover's death.
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  • Lost Symbol

    by Dan Brown Year Published: Average
    In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling--a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths . . . all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale. As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object--artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation . . . one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth. As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown’s novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown’s fans have been waiting for . . . his most thrilling novel yet.
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  • Point of Impact

    by Stephen Hunter Year Published:
    Two men, one determined to maintain his reclusive life in the Arkansas mountains, the other fiercely dedicated to remaining part of the FBI, are drawn together in an effort to clear their names and stay alive during an intricate cover-up of an unauthorized mercenary maneuver in a Latin American country. Bob Lee Swagger, or Bob the Nailer as he was known in Vietnam, is a sniper par excellence. Because of a war injury, he devotes his time to maintaining his marksmanship and avoiding the outside world. These skills and his loner status make him an ideal target for a pseudogovernmental group planning an assassination as part of the cover-up. Nick Memphis, pursuing an investigation from which he has been warned by his FBI superiors, stumbles onto facts about Swagger that force him to go undercover with him. Tautly written by the author of The Day Before Midnight (Bantam, 1989), the plot makes a number of turns before swooping to a conclusion where patriotism and personal integrity triumph.
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  • Spandau Phoenix

    by Greg Iles Year Published:
    The Spandau Diary — what was in it? Why did the secret intelligence agencies of every major power want it? Why was a brave and beautiful woman kidnapped to get it? Why did a chain of deception and violent death lash out across the globe, from survivors of the Nazi past to warriors in this new conflict about to explode? Why did the world's entire history of World War II have to be rewritten as the future hung over a nightmare abyss?
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  • The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

    by Stieg Larsson Year Published: Average

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • The Girl Who Played With Fire

    by Stieg Larsson Year Published: Average

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

    by Stieg Larsson Year Published: Average
    Stieg Larsson's #1 bestselling mystery featuring Lisbeth Salander is now a major motion picture directed by David Fincher, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, from Columbia Pictures/Sony. In theaters December 2011. The first volume in the Millennium Trilogy, and an international publishing sensation, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.
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My Favorite Espionage & War

  • Bourne Identity

    by Robert Ludlum Year Published:
    Jason Bourne. He has no past. And he may have no future. His memory is blank. He only knows that he was flushed out of the Mediterranean Sea, his body riddled with bullets. There are a few clues. A frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the flesh of his hip. Evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face. Strange things that he says in his delirium— maybe code words. Initial: "J.B." And a number on the film negative that leads to a Swiss bank account, a fortune of four million dollars, and, at last, a name: Jason Bourne. But now he is marked for death, caught in a maddening puzzle, racing for survival through the deep layers of his buried past into a bizarre world of murderous conspirators—led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. And no one can help Jason Bourne but the woman who once wanted to escape him.
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  • Red Storm Rising

    by Tom Clancy Year Published:
    A second contemporary international thriller from the author of The Hunt for Red October. One of Russia's biggest oil refineries is destroyed by a Muslim terrorist group. Facing an oil shortage that would leave their country open to economic and political disasters, the Russian leaders decide to seize the oil in the Persian Gulf. They instigate a ground war that surprises NATO and the U.S. and threatens to eliminate them as political and military forces in Europe. This long, long novel is a detailed chronicle of the air, sea, and land battles that erupt as a result of ``Red Storm'the Russian plan of attack. The Russians are clearly the bad guys herefrequently frightened, inept, or evil. The Americans are always the heroic victims of unjustified aggression or the smooth skilled winners. Frighteningly realistic. Polished. Technical. Primarily for military novel buffs.
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  • Sword Point

    by Harold Coyle Year Published:
    Following the success of Team Yankee, a depiction of World War III as seen from company level, Harold Coyle achieved acclaim with Sword Point, a novel pitting the United States and the Soviet Union in armed conflict in Iran. Set in the late 1980s, Sword Point begins with the peacetime routine of an American Army unit in the middle of a training exercise at Ft. Campbell, Ky. In a scene that mixes Coyle's fine eye for detail and wry humorous touches, Staff Sergeant Donald Duncan's infantry platoon carefully sets up an ambush against an OPFOR (opposing force): "The ensuing firefight would short but bloodless. The men of both Duncan's platoon and the OPFOR....were using MILES, short for "multiple integrated laser engagement system." Each weapon was tipped with a rectangular gray box which emitted a laser beam every time the weapon was fired. Every man....had laser detectors on his helmet and web gear that would detect the laser from another weapon. When this happened, a buzzer, also attached to each man's gear, would go off, telling him and his buddies that he was 'dead.' The use of MILES ensured that there would be no doubt who won and who lost, a far cry from the days when most training exercises degenerated into screaming matches of 'I shot you' and 'No you didn't.' " But as Duncan and his men "struggle" through their training exercise, halfway around the world a Soviet armored column rumbles toward the Iranian border in the predawn darkness. The Soviet leadership has decided to invade -- Coyle never really tells us why -- Iran, planning to conquer the country and reach the Straits of Hormuz in four weeks' time. Some of the junior Red Army officers are apprehensive -- the Afghan War has taught the Soviets much about the costs of fighting against desperate Muslims -- but Moscow and the Soviet General Staff don't believe there will be much opposition from Iran...or the West. But as soon as the Soviets launch their invasion, America mobilizes, and soon U.S. forces head to the Persian Gulf. Within weeks, the news are full of images of combat between the two superpowers as battles are fought on air, land and sea. But the Soviets are not the only enemy the American forces face in Iran. The ayatollahs still rule the Islamic Iranian Republic, and while they fight fiercely against the Russians, the Iranians welcome the U.S. forces not with flowers but with bullets. And even when Iran's forces are forced to retreat under pressure from both foreign forces, the mullahs who wield power in Tehran pin their hopes on a desperate and deadly gambit that, if it works, will destroy the homelands of the nations the Iranians call the Great and Lesser Satans. But Coyle's talent lies not just with the description of grand strategy, the tactics and weapons used in war, but with the very human portrayal of his cast of characters. Whether he is writing about Major Scott Dixon of the U.S. Army or Junior Lieutenant Nikolai Ilvanich of the Soviet Army, Coyle wisely doesn't resort to the stereotypical "good guy vs. bad guy" style of storytelling. Yes, this is a novel of war, but Coyle (a former Army officer who served in Desert Storm) has genuine affection for the profession of arms and the men and women who serve their country, no matter which country it is.
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  • Team Yankee

    by Harold Coyle Year Published:
    To say that Team Yankee is a high speed, low drag, and intense military thriller would be a vast understatement! This is an in your face, action packed, combat thriller that is hard to put down once you've started it. Being a former soldier, Harold Coyle knows what being a soldier is about. Armed with a VMI education and seventeen years of Active Duty in the US Army, the author set out to write a military thriller about a possible European, NATO/Warsaw Pact conventional conflict. He quite successfully accomplished that mission with Team Yankee, in flying colors! He has a particularly good writing style that is very fluid and doesn't get bogged down heavily in the details. Team Yankee begins with a succinct set up as to why the conflict starts. He then flows perfectly into the nuts and bolts of a very likely scenario of how a conventional WWIII would've begun in the mid to late 80's. The story concentrates heavily on Captain Sean Bannon, commander of Team Yankee which is a detached armor team with mechanized infantry attached to them. Along with the highly intense initial combat scenarios, there are the harrowing evacuation scenes of his wife Pat, their kids and the other dependents of Team Yankee! These scenes are exceptionally well written and will leave you exhausted. The author puts on display a great many things that can happen during war, to include the "fog of war," where there are times when communications are cut and Company Commanders have to totally wing it and pray for the best. He flawlessly displays the entire gamut of emotions that Captain Bannon and the other soldiers are going through, throughout the entire novel. In essence, this novel puts you in the Tank Commanders cupola completely and thoroughly. The dialogue is tremendously well written, along with well detailed explanations for the "plans" of attack or defense. As an added bonus, there are detailed graphics with the proper symbols for units' friendly and enemy alike. Thank God this is a work of fiction and humanity did not have to face the brutal realism in this book!
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  • The Bourne Supremacy

    by Robert Ludlum Year Published:
    A KILLER WITH NO FACE, NO IDENTITY, AND A NAME THE WORLD WANTED TO FORGET: JASON BOURNE Reenter the shadowy world of Jason Bourne, an expert assassin still plagued by the splintered nightmares of his former life. This time the stakes are higher than ever. For someone else has taken on the Bourne identity–a ruthless killer who must be stopped or the world will pay a devastating price. To succeed, the real Jason Bourne must maneuver through the dangerous labyrinth of international espionage–an exotic world filled with CIA plots, turncoat agents, and ever-shifting alliances–all the while hoping to find the truth behind his haunted memories and the answers to his own fragmented past. This time there are two Bournes–and one must die.
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  • The Dirty Dozen

    by E. M. Nathanson Year Published:
    An Army Major who likes to butt heads with his superiors, is being "given" a new assignment, to train 12 men who are either sentenced to death or life imprisonment, to go behind enemy lines raid a chateau that the Germans are using as an R&R center and kill as enemy officers as they can and disrupt the German chain of command. Now he not only has to train them; he has to get them to start acting like a unit. And when a Colonel whom the Major has been having the most trouble with reports to the Generals that his unit is not working out, the Major asks the General to try them out by having them participate in a war game. If they don't succeed they will be sent back to prison to face their sentences.
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  • The Fist of God

    by Frederick Forsyth Year Published:
    From the bestselling author of The Day of the Jackal, international master of intrigue Frederick Forsyth, comes a thriller that brilliantly blends fact with fiction for one of this summer's--or any season's--most explosive reads! From the behind-the-scenes decision-making of the Allies to the secret meetings of Saddam Hussein's war cabinet, from the brave American fliers running their dangerous missions over Iraq to the heroic young spy planted deep in the heart of Baghdad, Forsyth's incomparable storytelling skill keeps the suspense at a breakneck pace. Somewhere in Baghdad is the mysterious "Jericho," the traitor who is willing--for a price--to reveal what is going on in the high councils of the Iraqi dictator. But Saddam's ultimate weapon has been kept secret even from his most trusted advisers, and the nightmare scenario that haunts General Schwarzkopf and his colleagues is suddenly imminent, unless somehow, the spy can locate that weapon--The Fist of God--in time. Peopled with vivid characters, brilliantly displaying Forsyth's incomparable, knowledge of intelligence operations and tradecraft, moving back and forth between Washington and London, Baghdad and Kuwait, desert vastnesses and city bazaars, this breathtaking novel is an utterly convincing story of what may actually have happened behind the headlines.
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  • The Hunt for Red October

    by No Author Text Year Published:
    Somewhere under the Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision . . . the Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. And the most incredible chase in history is on . . . The Hunt for Red October is the runaway bestseller that launched Tom Clancy's phenomenal career. A military thriller so accurate and convincing that the author was rumored to have been debriefed by the White House. Its theme: the greatest espionage coup in history. Its story: the chase for a runaway top secret Russian missile sub. Its title: The Hunt for Red October.
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  • The Ten Thousand

    by Harold Coyle Year Published:
    It all begins in a cellar in Regensburg, Germany in late April 1945. When a young boy, a member of the Hitlerjugend, sees his family die before his eyes, he feels anger at not being given a chance to serve his Fatherland and his Fuhrer...fast forward to present day, the young boy is now the Chancellor of Germany, Johann Ruff. The plot was unique in a sense: American troops enter the Ukraine together with Russian Army advisors to acquire a stockpile of Ukrainian nukes discovered stashed away. they eventually take the nukes with them, but not before the Ukrainians destroy one nuke stockpile and kill the American troops in the area. Because they were not apparently consulted before the operation began, the Germans hijack the nukes as soon as they are prepared in an airbase in Germany for transport to the US. So begins the most dangerous European crisis since World War II...and now that General Malin and his X Corps are trapped in the Czech Republic with no home bases in Germany to return to, they must now make a choice: disarm right then and there, or travel across a hostile Germany for evacuation by sea, with former allies hot on their tails. I liked Coyle's descriptions of how the action X Corps took gave resemblance to an earlier feat of arms: the march in 400BC of the Greek warrior Xenophon and his ten thousand mercenaries from what is present-day Iraq all the way back to Greece. The reason I'm giving it four of five stars is because of some things i found odd: A Russian major in charge of US Rangers? Ooookay. Normally, US troops would feel uneasy when a foreign officer, a Russian at that, takes command of a US unit. But given the situation, the issues of nationality and racial bias take a backseat because all of them are soldiers, first and foremost. This is the first ground war novel I've ever read that placed a major emphasis on ground battles, unlike the other combined-arms operations I've read in some books, most recently in Clancy's Bear and the Dragon or even in Larry Bond's Cauldron...and it shows, from the gritty realism of the tank battles and fifth-column ops that occur at several points in the story, to the personal perspectives of some of the major players themselves (Dixon, Kozak, Seydlitz, Ivanich, to name a few). Yes, some of the characters in the book do not reach the end of the story, but hey, that's war. The book also gave focus on the professionalism of the German soldier and their ethical dilemmas on following the orders of their superiors or their consciences as well give rise to major dissent in the German Army. It also forced me to take notice because they come from a country that has never been to war in over fifty years, still struggling to come to grips with it's Nazi past and it's division during the Cold War, not to mention many generals from my country's armed forces also went to military schools in Germany that are some of the toughest in the world. In all, The Ten Thousand is a well-written book.
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  • The Wild Geese

    by Daniel Carney Year Published:
    Their home is the battlefield. Their calling is war. Their only loyalty is to each other. They are the Wild Geese, 50 crack mercenary paratroops commanded by fearless veteran Colonel Faulkner. Their mission: to land in a remote and hostile corner of Africa, free the one man who can change a nation's destiny, seize the airport and make their escape... But while the Wild Geese are fighting and dying in the African sun, sinister forces in the corridors of power are working to seal their fate. This book has it all! Lots of military action, but of the sophisticated kind. Romance, too. Exciting, very deep and moving at times. We get to see the mercenaries not just as shallow cutouts of soldiers, but as people, getting a glimpse into their inner selves. Very detailed and factual, almost as if Carney is writing from personal experience. Has a great closing paragraph! I could go on and on, but you'll have to read it yourself.
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My Favorite Horror

  • It

    by Stephen King Year Published:
    They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name. What was it? Read It and find out...if you dare!
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  • The Dead Zone

    by Stephen King Year Published:
    If any of King's novels exemplifies his skill at portraying the concerns of his generation, it's The Dead Zone (1979). Although it contains a horrific subplot about a serial killer, it isn't strictly a horror novel. It's the story of an unassuming high school teacher, an Everyman, who suffers a gap in time--like a Rip Van Winkle who blacks out during the years 1970-75--and thus becomes acutely conscious of the way that American society is rapidly changing. He wakes up as well with a gap in his brain, the "dead zone" of the title. The zone gives him crippling headaches, but also grants him second sight, a talent he doesn't want and is reluctant to use. The crux of the novel concerns whether he will use that talent to alter the course of history. The Dead Zone is a tight, well-crafted book. When asked in 1983 which of his novels so far was "the best," Stephen King answered, "The one that I think works the best is Dead Zone. It's the one that [has] the most story." --Fiona Webste
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  • The Shinning

    by Stephen King Year Published:
    First published in 1977, The Shining quickly became a benchmark in the literary career of Stephen King. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel's past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to laim the very souls of the Torrence family. Adapted into a cinematic masterpiece of horror by legendaryStanley Kubrick -- featuring an unforgettable performance by a demonic Jack Nicholson --The Shining stands as a cultural icon of modern horror, a searing study of a family torn apart, and a nightmarish glimpse into the dark recesses of human weakness and dementia.
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  • The Stand

    by Stephen King Year Published:
    This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail -- and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.
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  • The Tommyknockers

    by Stephen King Year Published:
    Yet another mammoth horror novel from King, this dark tale depicts a small town's fatal encounter with creatures from outer space. Events start with Roberta Anderson, a writer of Old West novels, unearthing a flying saucer on her remote wooded property. Five hundred pages later alcoholic poet Jim Gardener, Roberts's former English teacher, finds himself aboard the flying saucer in outer space. In the interval the creatures (Tommyknockers) destroy the citizenry of Haven, Maine. While this is not one of King's more original novels, it does have plenty of blood and guts, macabre humor, and a well-wrought realization of the New England countryside. No doubt King's legions of fans will demand it.
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My Favorite Fantasy Novels

  • Dragonflight

    by Anne McCaffrey Year Published:
    HOW CAN ONE GIRL SAVE AN ENTIRE WORLD? To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright. But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days. Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. The planet Pern has been colonized for centuries by humans. When humans first settled on this world, they did not take notice of its sister planet, which had an indigenous life form that attempted to land on Pern when it came within reach. These silver "threads" fell in a destructive wave on the temperate lands of Pern once every 200 years, destroying all life they encountered. To combat this menace, the inhabitants of Pern developed a species of dragon that could burn these threads out of the sky before they touched down. Now, centuries have passed between threadfalls, and the danger of thread is considered a myth. However, a dragon rider named F'lar knows that the riders are once again needed.
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  • Dragonquest

    by Anne McCaffrey Year Published:
    Another Turn, and the deadly silver Threads begin falling again. So the bold dragonriders take to the air once more and their magnificent flying dragons swirl and swoop, belching flames that destroy the shimmering strands before they reach the ground. But F'lar knew he had to find a better way to protect his beloved Pern, before the Oldtimers could breed any more dissent...before his brother F'nor could launch another suicide mission...and before those dratted fire-lizards could stir up any more trouble!
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  • Dragons of Autumn Twilight

    by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman Year Published:
    Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with rumors of war. They speak of tales of strange monsters, creatures of myth, creatures of legend. They do not speak of their secrets. Not then. Not until a chance encounter with a beautiful, sorrowful woman, who bears a magical crystal staff, draws the companions deeper into the shadows, forever changing their lives and shaping the fate of the world. No one expects them to be heroes.
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  • Dragons of Spring Dawning

    by margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman Year Published: Average
    The war against the dragon minions of Queen Takhisis rages on. Armed with the mysterious, magical dragon orbs and the shining, silver dragonlance, the companions bring hope to the world. But now, in the dawn of a new day, the dark secrets that have long shadowed the hearts of the friends come to the light. Betrayal, treachery, frailty, and weakness will nearly destroy all that they have accomplished. The greatest battle they have left to fight is within each of them. Yet, in the end, they will be heroes.
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  • Dragons of Winter Night

    by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman Year Published:
    Now the people know that the dragon minions of Takhisis, Queen of Dragons, have returned. The people of all nations prepare to fight to save their homes, their lives, and their freedom. But the races have long been divided by hatred and prejudice. Elven warriors and human knights fight among themselves. It seems the battle has been lost before it begins. The companions are separated, torn apart by war. A full season will pass before they meet again--if they meet again. As the darkness deepens, a disgraced knight, a pampered elfmaiden, and a rattle-brained kender stand alone in the pale winter sunlight. Not much in the way of heroes.
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  • The Fellowship of the Ring

    by J.R.R. Tolkien Year Published:
    Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power - the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring - the ring that rules them all - which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
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  • The Hobbit

    by J.R.R. Tolkien Year Published:
    "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." The hobbit-hole in question belongs to one Bilbo Baggins, an upstanding member of a "little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves." He is, like most of his kind, well off, well fed, and best pleased when sitting by his own fire with a pipe, a glass of good beer, and a meal to look forward to. Certainly this particular hobbit is the last person one would expect to see set off on a hazardous journey; indeed, when Gandalf the Grey stops by one morning, "looking for someone to share in an adventure," Baggins fervently wishes the wizard elsewhere. No such luck, however; soon 13 fortune-seeking dwarves have arrived on the hobbit's doorstep in search of a burglar, and before he can even grab his hat or an umbrella, Bilbo Baggins is swept out his door and into a dangerous adventure. The dwarves' goal is to return to their ancestral home in the Lonely Mountains and reclaim a stolen fortune from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, they and their reluctant companion meet giant spiders, hostile elves, ravening wolves--and, most perilous of all, a subterranean creature named Gollum from whom Bilbo wins a magical ring in a riddling contest. It is from this life-or-death game in the dark that J.R.R. Tolkien's masterwork, The Lord of the Rings, would eventually spring. Though The Hobbit is lighter in tone than the trilogy that follows, it has, like Bilbo Baggins himself, unexpected iron at its core. Don't be fooled by its fairy-tale demeanor; this is very much a story for adults, though older children will enjoy it, too. By the time Bilbo returns to his comfortable hobbit-hole, he is a different person altogether, well primed for the bigger adventures to come--and so is the reader. --Alix Wilber
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  • The Return of the King

    by J.R.R. Tolkien Year Published:
    The Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures as the quest continues. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and took part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by orcs, escaped into Fangorn Forest and there encountered the Ents. Gandalf returned, miraculously, and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Meanwhile, Sam and Frodo progressed towards Mordor to destroy the Ring, accompanied by Sméagol - Gollum, still obsessed by his 'preciouss'. After a battle with the giant spider, Shelob, Sam left his master for dead; but Frodo is still alive - in the hands of the orcs. And all the time the armies of the Dark Lord are massing. JRR Tolkien's great work of imaginative fiction has been labelled both a heroic romance and a classic fantasy fiction. By turns comic and homely, epic and diabolic, the narrative moves through countless changes of scene and character in an imaginary world which is totally convincing in its detail.
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  • The Two Towers

    by J.R.R. Tolkien Year Published:
    Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in the battle with an evil spirit in the Mines of Moria; and at the Falls of Rauros, Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape the rest of the company were attacked by Orcs. Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin - alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
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  • The White Dragon

    by Anne McCaffrey Year Published:
    A close bond existed between young Lord Jaxom and his white dragon, Ruth. Everyone on Pern thought Ruth was a runt that would never amount to anything. But Jaxom trained his dragon to fly, and to destroy the deadly Threads that fell from the sky.
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