Familiar names in journalism, history, and other disciplines bring their expertise to bear on new books exploring the ravages of war. Titles include a Revolutionary War chronicle by military-history heavyweight Nathaniel Philbrick, a collection of photographs by Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario, and a memoir by Make Your Bed author and retired Navy admiral William H. McRaven.

Congo Stories

John Prendergast and Fidel Bafilemba, photos by Ryan Gosling. Grand Central, Dec.

Prendergast, a human rights activist, and Bafilemba, a consultant for the nonprofit Enough Project, delve into Congo, a country wealthy in natural resources but riven by poverty, corruption and war. Actor Gosling documents their journey in photos.

The Desert and the Sea

Michael Scott Moore. Harper Wave, July

In 2012, Moore, a journalist, traveled to Somalia to research the trial of a pirate gang. While in the region, he was abducted by Somali pirates, who held him captive for almost three years, demanding $20 million in ransom. Here, Scott recounts his kidnapping, which he first wrote about for the Guardian in 2015, in the context of a larger investigation into the history of piracy and the religious and political forces currently at work in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

The Fighters

C.J. Chivers. Simon Schuster, Aug.

Chivers, a journalist and former Marine who served in the Persian Gulf War, draws on 12 years of reporting on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, detailing the experiences of combatants who’ve engaged in a variety of missions, including the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Chivers’s New York Times Magazine essay “The Fighter,” about the fraught homecoming of a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

In the Hurricane’s Eye

Nathaniel Philbrick. Viking, Oct.

Philbrick traces the year leading up the Battle of Yorktown, a pivotal victory for the American Continental Army, focusing on naval maneuvers by George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. His previous books include 1999’s In the Heart of the Sea (774,000 print copies sold), which won the National Book Award, and 2006’s Mayflower (652,000 print copies), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Of Love War

Lynsey Addario. Penguin Press, Oct.

Photojournalist Addario documents life in Taliban-occupied Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa, among other locations, alongside essays by writers including the New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins and Suzy Hansen, author of Notes on a Foreign Country. Addario was part of a New York Times team that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, and was awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant the same year. (See our starred review on p. 57.)

Outside the Wire

Jason Kander. Twelve, Aug.

Kander, a former Army captain and a Democratic politician, may be most widely known for a video he released in 2016, as part of an unsuccessful Senate campaign, in which he advocated stricter background checks for gun buyers while assembling an AR-15 rifle blindfolded. (The video has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.) In his book, Kander, who recently announced his plan to run for mayor of Kansas City, Mo., relays lessons he’s learned throughout his military and political careers.

Saving Bravo

Stephan Talty. HMH, Nov.

During the Vietnam War, Lt. Col. Gene Hambleton, an American airman with indispensable knowledge of missile technology, was shot down behind enemy lines. After several failed airborne rescue missions, a Navy SEAL named Thomas Norris and his Vietnamese guide, Nguyen Van Kiet, set out to find him on foot. Journalist Talty, whose previous books include The Black Hand, draws on interviews and unpublished papers to recount their mission. The book has been optioned for film by Fox.

Sea Stories

William H. McRaven. Grand Central, May 2019

McRaven, a retired four-star admiral, reflects on his 37-year career as a Navy SEAL and special operations commander, during which he oversaw the raids targeting Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, among other noteworthy missions. His graduation speech–turned–book of life advice, Make Your Bed, has sold 606,000 hardcover copies.

Valley Forge

Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. Simon Schuster, Oct.

The American Continental Army was probably never more the underdog than at Valley Forge, a camp near Philadelphia where, in the winter of 1777, around 12,000 members of the force gathered to recover from a series of dispiriting losses. Yet, as Drury and Calvin show, it was there that George Washington began to reverse the tide of the war. The authors previously teamed up for The Heart of Everything That Is, which has sold 203,000 print copies.

Return to the main feature.

LEAVE A REPLY