Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mostly First Person Books Rated and Ranked

I've been reading oral histories and other up close books in recent years. The Internet is better for macro issues these days than books. I've rated and ranked books below in rough order of interest they generated in my soul, not historical accuracy or other attributes. The most worthwhile works are difficult to find.

Death March by Donald Knox: A
Harder than Hardscrabble by Thad Sitton: A-
This Is Paradise by Hyok Kang: A-
The Black Devil Brigade by Joseph Springer (starts slow): A-
If You Survive by George Wilson: A-
Easy Company Soldier by Don Malarkey: A-
The Korean War: Pusan to Chosin by Donald Knox: A-
Hey, Mac, Where You Been? by Henry Berry: A-
No Bugles, No Drums by Rudy Tomedi: A-
You'll Die in Singapore by Charles McCormack: A-
Foot Soldier by Roscoe C. Blunt: B+
Indestructible by John R. Bruning (extremely entertaining but fictionalized dialog): B+
The Scars of a Soldier by Vernon Heppe: B+
Once a Hussar by Ray Ellis: B+
Everything We Had by Al Santoli: B+
Nam by Mark Baker: B+
Bataan Uncensored by Ernest Miller: B+
The Last Battle Station by Duane Schultz B+
Comfort Women Speak by Sangmie Choi Schellstede and Soon Mi Yu (not much text, mostly photos): B+
Into the Rising Sun by Patrick O'Donnell: B+
The Brave Japanese by Kenneth Harrison: B+
Voices from D-Day by Jonathan Bastable: B+
House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger: B+
Witness by Joshua M. Greene and Shiva Kumar: B+
Where Away by George Sessions Perry and Isabel Leighton: B+ (starts slow)
The Naked Island by Russell Braddon: B+
Medic! by Robert "Doc Joe" Franklin B
Bataan and Beyond by John S. Coleman: B
Visions from a Foxhole by William A. Foley, Jr: B
Crossing the Line by Alvin Kernan: B
Gig by John Bowe, Marisa Bowe, Sabin C. Streeter: B
On the Front Lines by John Ellis: B
Guests of the Emperor by Linda Goetz Holmes: B
Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends by William Guarnere and Edward Heffron: B
Beyond Valor by Patrick O'Donnell: B
Sappers in the Wire by Keith W. Nolan: B
Voices of the Pacific by Adam Makos: B
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich: B
Company Commander by Charles MacDonald (starts slow): B
American Involvement in the Filipino Resistance Movement by L.S. Schmidt (monograph): B
To Bear Any Burden by Al Santoli: B-
Roll Me Over by Ray Gantter B- (more self-contradictions and political fallacies than usual)
Abandoned on Bataan by Oliver "Red" Allen: B-
Our War Was Different by Albert Hemingway: B-
The Dyess Story by Ed Dyess: B-
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer: B-
Strange Ground: An Oral History Of Americans In Vietnam by Harry Maurer: B-
The Outpost War (Volume 1) by Lee Ballenger: B-
The Korean War: Uncertain Victory by Donald Knox: B-
Armageddon by Clive Ponting C+
War Stories of the Infantry by Michael Green and James D. Brown: C+
Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford: C+
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: C
Working by Studs Terkel: C
Bat 21 by William C. Anderson: C
Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides: C-
The "Good" War by Studs Terkel: C-
Five Years to Freedom by James N. Rowe (too long): D+
They Fought Alone by John Keats (mostly a novel): D
American Sniper by Chris Kyle: D
Rage in Singapore by David George Plotkin (mostly a novel): D
The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer: D-
The War by Ken Burns: D-
Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff (verbose and boring): F

These books contain many false claims, ad hominem attacks, small sample fallacies, one-sided arguments, appeals to tradition, and other logical failings. In other words, the accuracy of these books differs little from books by people paid by taxpayers to be historians.

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