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Reading for Afghanistan: 101st Airborne recommendations

Smart brigade leaders in the 101st Airborne Division who compiled their company commanders’ lessons learned also surveyed those captains about what reading they found helpful. Strikingly, the infantry guys emphasized “soft power” and cultural studies, while others went more with the Naylor and Bowden action stuff: Lester Grau, The Bear Went Over the Mountain and ...

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Smart brigade leaders in the 101st Airborne Division who compiled their company commanders’ lessons learned also surveyed those captains about what reading they found helpful. Strikingly, the infantry guys emphasized “soft power” and cultural studies, while others went more with the Naylor and Bowden action stuff:

Lester Grau, The Bear Went Over the Mountain and The Other Side of the Mountain (multiple votes for each)

Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner (two votes)

Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

Sean Naylor, Not a Good Day to Die (two votes)

Sarah Chayes, The Punishment of Virtue

Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea

Nate Self, Two Wars

Steven Tanner, Afghanistan

Dave Grossman, On Killing

Ergun Caner and Emir Fethi Caner, Unveiling Islam

Malcolm Gladwell, Blink

And two from an artillery battery commander who didn’t interact with Afghans:

Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway, We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young

Mark Bowden,
Black Hawk Down

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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