Monday, November 09, 2009

Yay, books!

I'm reading Robert Kaplan's Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts, which is the follow-on volume to his excellent book Imperial Grunts. Mr. Kaplan has basically spent several years bumming around the U.S. military, embedding with various units and telling their stories. From a Special Forces base in Colombia to a platoon of marines training local troops in Niger to a couple of weeks on a nuclear sub on exercises in the Pacific, he gives an even-handed close-up view of the American military's activities around the globe. Must read.

8 comments:

pdb said...

I loved the crap out of this guy's books. I was amazed at the breadth and depth of the unorganized, free market ex-mil "empire" that has sprung up wherever Unca Sam had bases.

If my tax dollars are to be wrung out of my paycheck ever week at gunpoint, I want them to go to these guys so they can keep doin' what they're doin'.

Boat Guy said...

Haven't read any of Kaplan's stuff since "Balkan Ghosts" which was more entertaining than informative. That book was one of the few commended by folks as "ground truth" for general Balkan issues and was pretty good - in general. When it came to the country I was working in Kaplan's account was superficial at best.
The must read for me remains Michael Yon
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/

DirtCrashr said...

I didn't(haven't yet) read Imperial Grunts, but Hog Pilots gave me a fascinating, in-depth, and respectful look at the semi-current state of things from the NCO's point and up. At least that's what I took away from it.
The Submariners are a bit freaky.

Tam said...

"The Submariners are a bit freaky."

I'd say that "freaky" kinda goes with the job description.

"Would you like to get sealed in a metal tube deep beneathe the ocean surface and then get shot at, all for the same wages as the produce manager at your local Kroger?" is not a pitch that appeals to sane people.

Lor' bless 'em, each and every one.

T said...

"Would you like to get sealed in a metal tube deep beneathe the ocean surface and then get shot at, all for the same wages as the produce manager at your local Kroger?" is not a pitch that appeals to sane people.

I always felt that way. My dad and I used to look at each other as alien beings. He used to go under the ocean in a cigar tube, and I used to jump out of planes. Neither of us could quite get a grip on the other's mindset.

FTNuke said...

Don't forget that on a sub the days are 18 hours long instead of 24, which you will either learn to like or you will have a psychotic break. Also, despite oft-repeated rumors to the contrary, the food is terrible. This makes sense once you think about the fact that even if it were possible to bring enough, anything perishable will be rotten in two weeks anyway, and there is no resupply (unlike surface ships) until you pull into a port a month or so later. There's lots more, but since I am about to go back to a submarine after three wonderful (in comparison) years of shore duty in Hawaii I don't want to spend any more time dwelling on them.

"Submarines Once, Submarines Twice..."

Tangalor said...

Speaking of books... :P

pdb said...

Until he finally mans up and retracts his bullshit Mexican drug cartel gun canard, Micheal Yon can eat a bag of cocks as far as I'm concerned.