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Best War/Combat Autobiography

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Posted on 18 Jun 2009 16:16:15 BDT
Mike's Books says:
I wholeheartedly agree with Hypergod on 'Dispatches' I'd als add 'Chickenhawk'

Posted on 18 Jun 2009 22:33:38 BDT
R. Havers says:
Not recent but timeless. Etched in Purple: One Soldier's War in Europe by Frank Irqanq. It's brilliant and is about WW2

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jun 2009 06:34:43 BDT
S Wood says:
And better still- NORMAN LEWIS - NAPLES '44. Which strips war of its glamour, and is written from the perspectives of the Field Security Services (or rather a very singular FSS NCO). Incomparable.

Posted on 20 Jun 2009 20:41:53 BDT
Brian says:
Chickenhawk by Robert Mason.
Mason was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War and his book describes the 365 days he spent there flying soldiers into battle. The book sucks you into his war of life and death and casual destruction. A truly great book I can read again and again.

Posted on 20 Jun 2009 23:11:57 BDT
zargb5 says:
I haven't read many military stories but the one that will stay with me for all my days is "the forgotten soldier" by Guy Sajer.
Unforgettable and harrowing.

The story of the Falklands crisis from one of the harrier pilots point of view was also interesting "sea harrier over the falklands" by Sharkey Ward.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jun 2009 22:45:57 BDT
zargb5 says:
Don't forget Spike Milligan's collection of war autobiographies. They are an excellent read combining darkness, humour, pathos and sheer absurdity. A must read. I have also read some of the most serious novels and historical type non fiction books about the war. Milligan gives his point of view from the soldier on the ground. It is definitely a point of view worth taking into account. A definite antidote but just as valid to those serious door stopper books written by mainly retired generals or pompous professors.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jun 2009 18:24:30 BDT
P. Freeman says:
I would recommend Diary of an old contemptible its written from my Great uncles diaries . Edward Roe was his name Pat Freeman is mine enjoy

Posted on 29 Jun 2009 02:19:52 BDT
Try "Hitler: My part in his downfall"- Spike Milligan

Posted on 3 Jul 2009 10:50:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jul 2009 10:56:04 BDT
susie says:
Without a doubt you should read "In Foreign Fields" by Dan Collins.
It's a collection of interviews with twenty five British soldiers/Marines and members of the RAF who have won medals for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They talk candidly about the actions which led them to win their medals and the affects that the war has had on them. Their stories are humbling. Many have seen colleagues die, all have been shot at and many have killed people themselves. It's a brilliant book!

Posted on 3 Jul 2009 16:09:45 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 3 Jul 2009 16:38:08 BDT]

Posted on 3 Jul 2009 16:37:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jul 2009 16:38:38 BDT
KR says:
I've never posted before but I can't help myself, there are just so many great war bios, almost too many to recall, many of which have already been namechecked.

Dispatches, Nam, Panzer Commanded, If I Die In A Combat Zone, Goodbye To All That, Chickenhawk, The Things They Carried (fictionalised), In Pharaoh's Army, Jarhead, Generation Kill (I know it's not a bio), anything by Primo Levi, Bravo Two Zero...

I'd recommend all of these depending on people's topics of interest.

Chickenhawk is a cracker and I love it. Even though after speaking to a few chopper pilots, when I asked if they'd read it, they told me that they had worked with some Vietnam vets down in Trinidad and Tobago who said the book is substantially made up, i.e. they reckoned it would all be true but everything documented couldn't have happened to just one guy. It doesn't matter, it's a great book.

Posted on 3 Jul 2009 21:09:41 BDT
Prof. Plum says:
If you like Dispatches, Chickenhawk etc. try "Once a Warrior King" by David Donovan. "The Bright Shining Lie" by Neil Sheehan is heavier but interesting also. Giap by Peter McDonald is about a Vietnamese General. The subtitle is "The Victor in Vietnam". All the above books are centred around the Vietnam War. I have to agree with some of the above comments that Spike Milligan's War Memoirs are fantastic. If you are going to read them it goes without saying to read them in order. In danger of going off topic with a non-modern military subject there are also quite a number of good biographies on Native American warriors. Crazy Horse and Custer is a good introduction to the subject by Stephen Ambrose.
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Participants:  31
Total posts:  37
Initial post:  25 May 2009
Latest post:  3 Jul 2009

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