I'm on vacation right now on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, and I'm reading a lot when not playing with the kids or making Bombay Sapphire martinis for Mrs. Blackfive and I.
I've gotten many emails from readers who are either recommending books to me or asking for recommendation for books to read.
For the military/unconventional warfare enthusiasts, there's a few I'll recommend that you may not have heard of before. Disclaimer - they are not going to be for everyone who likes military history or books about the military. Each one is very, very different from the others:
Secrets of Inchon - This was book was published after the author died of natural causes. His widow found stacks of handwritten notes about a secret operation behind the lines to organize Koreans trapped around Inchon to help with the coming invasion (gather data and support with the enemy all around you). She put it together and got the story published. It's a bit rough in the flow, but it's a true story...and it's a very good one.
Masters of Chaos - The Secret History of the Special Forces: I abso-freakin'-lutely hate the title. It's nonsense, BS, and I almost skipped reading the book because of it. But then I received it as a XMas present from my father-in-law. The book isn't about the Masters of Chaos. It's about the Masters of the profession of unconventional warfare who turn chaos into order (like herding cats). It's a great read and really humanizes Special Forces Soldiers. In other words, they have fears and doubts, and make mistakes but continue on fighting the War on Terror. It's really more like a recent history than "the history" (secret or not). Masters of Chaos follows the careers of a few SF legends while it covers Just Cause, Desert Storm, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Company They Keep - What happens when a Social Anthropologist wants to learn want makes Special Forces Soldiers tick? Well, she found out and then she married one! This difficult-to-find book dwells more on how Special Forces teams work, the team member dynamics, the stress, etc.
If you have a recommendation for a good military book or you have read one of the above and agree/disagree with me, let's read your thoughts in the Comments. If you link to a book, use the http prefix as that will enable the link in the Comments Section.
Be back with more later...renting a Grady White today ("Skipper Blackfive").
Update 10PM and half-in-the-bag: Okay, some great notes are in the comments.
I loved Cryptonomicon. Someone I work with once said that my career started as Bobby Shaftoe and ended up as Randy Waterhouse. No comment other than she was wrong.
If you liked how Neal Stephenson made the math of code breaking fun and easy to understand in Cryptonomicon, you'd like the Code Book which is the history of code making and code breaking with great analogies for people like me to understand complex problems and their mathematical solutions.
Back to Neal Stephenson, I haven't started Quicksilver, yet. I keep hearing it's great...after the thousandth page or so of background info. I don't know if I can make the committment.
However, a favorite vendor of mine gave me Snowcrash for a Holiday gift. I'm going to be reading it soon.
As for books on military tactics, I've read and written about Sun Tzu quite a bit.
On modern warfare, I've read Robin Moore's Hunting Down Saddam and the Hunt for Bin Laden. Hunting Down Saddam also includes a lot of info on a key battle that is in Masters of Chaos. I liked Hunting Down Saddam a lot. Great read.