Best Defense

In Case You Didn’t Buy the ‘New York Times’ Yesterday: New Military Histories

The  Sunday New York Times Book Review ran my semi-annual survey of new books on military history.

A soldier reads to children. (U.S. Department of Defense)
A soldier reads to children. (U.S. Department of Defense)

The  Sunday New York Times Book Review ran my semi-annual survey of new books on military history. Some highlights for youse:

MY LAI: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent Into Darkness (Oxford University, $34.95).

“Likely to become the standard reference work on My Lai.”

THE SECOND WORLD WARS: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won (Basic Books, $40).

“Full of … novel perceptions…. The book might have been better called ‘A Classical Historian Assesses World War II.’”

STANLEY JOHNSTON’S BLUNDER: The Reporter Who Spilled the Secret Behind the U.S. Navy’s Victory at Midway (Naval Institute Press, $29.95).

“Perhaps the biggest single intelligence leak to a reporter in American military history came in June 1942.”

HANNIBAL’S OATH: The Life and Wars of Rome’s Greatest Enemy (Da Capo, $28).

Provides “context, both strategic and political.”

VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION: The Global Idea of the Communist Party (Princeton University, $35).

“It made me think that Communism arose in reaction to the Industrial Revolution, became a major force during the era of heavy industry, with all those spewing smokestacks — and then ended along with it. So, I wondered, will there be a similar political reaction to the Information Age? If so, is that new ideology already being born?”

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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