History, old and modern, has always been of interest to me. As I explained years ago to my daughter Laura who said “I hate history”, reading a good history is like reading a novel – except that it actually happened.
Pulitzer-prize winning historian Rick Atkinson is best known for his Liberation Trilogy on the US Army’s campaigns in Europe during World War II. He had followed that up with a history of the American Revolution starting with Lexington and Concord and continuing through to the Battle of Princeton in 1777. The British Are Coming looks at the leading characters such as Washington and Franklin as well as the battles themselves. He writes with great detail and description. I am enjoying it and have learned a great deal more about the Revolution than was taught in school.
When we look at the war in the Pacific during World War II, we invariably think of the exploits of the Navy and the Marines. The Marines fielded 6 divisions compromising about 250,000 men. However, they were dependent upon the Navy and the Army for transportation and engineering support. By contrast, the Army had 21 infantry and airborne divisions in the Pacific along with numerous regimental combat teams and independent tank battalions. The total number of soldiers fighting in the Pacific and Asia was over 1.8 million.
John McManus’ Fire and Fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943 is an epic history of the Army’s fight in the Pacific through mid-war. McManus is the author of a number of books on WWII and is a professor of military history at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. I am about a third of the way through the book. His descriptions of the battles in Bataan and Corregidor, the leadership failures of MacArthur, and the perseverance of the soldiers, both American and Filipino, is worth the price of the book alone.
The next book on my list was not written as a history book but it definitely serves as one. It is Chris Knox’s compilation of his father Neal’s writings entitled, Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War. It gives the inside history of the fight for the Second Amendment and gun rights. If you want to understand what is happening within the NRA today, this book is critical by providing the historical context. It covers the Cincinnati Revolt of 1977, the establishment of NRA-ILA, and the machinations that led to the ascendancy of Wayne LaPierre.
Moving on to a new book out by longtime gun writer Bryce Towlsley. Gunsmithing Modern Firearms: A Gun Guy’s Guide to Making Good Guns Even Better provides tutorials on how to modify your Glock, build a 1911 or Ar-15 from parts, spray on coatings, and much more. The Amazon reviews give it 4.8 out of 5 stars. It won’t make you a professional gunsmith but it will help you begin to work on your own firearms.