Wednesday, August 13, 2014

VMI Summer Reading (Unofficial): Recreational Non-fiction (36 to 40)

Winston Spencer Churchill, 1895
Five books about adventure and courage. All of them should be heartily enjoyed by most any VMI cadet. 
36. The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe

Must reading. I've read his novel The Bonfire of the Vanities several times as well.

37. The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger

Contains an unforgettable portrayal of a Coast Guard helicopter crew in heroic action. Also, a terrifying explication of what it feels like to die by drowning. His book War reports on his time embedded with frontline troops in Afghanistan.

38. Yeager: An Autobiography, Gen. Chuck Yeager

The Ur-astronaut (who never quite made it into space) and a main figure in The Right Stuff. WWII fighter ace and breaker of the sound barrier.

39. My Early Life, Winston Churchill

More adventure and danger between the ages of 18 and 30 than most people have in a lifetime. And he managed to read Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in his spare time. And write a handful of books.

40. Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Intelligence Team, George Jonas

Inspiration for the (not nearly as good) Steven Spielberg movie, Munich. There are doubts about it's authenticity, but that goes with the territory, as it purports to be a firsthand account of an intelligence operation. As I recall, I read it in a single sitting.

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