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17th Century

Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century
by Geoffrey Parker
Yale, $40
Parker, an MHQ contributing editor, looks at the conflicts and chaos rocking the world from Japan to the Americas during what historians call the “General Crisis.”

Masters of the Battlefield: Great Commanders From the Classical Age to the Napoleonic Era
by Paul K. Davis
Oxford, $34.95
The author of 100 Decisive Battles turns his attention to tactical geniuses, with profiles of Caesar, Genghis Khan, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, and more.

The Savior Generals: How Five Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost—From Ancient Greece to Iraq
by Victor Davis Hanson
Bloomsbury, $28
The columnist and military historian presents Themistocles, Flavius Belisarius, William T. Sherman, Matthew Ridgway, and David Petraeus as examples of how one man can make the difference between victory and defeat.

The Double V: How Wars, Protest, and Harry Truman Desegregated America’s Military
by Rawn James Jr.
Bloomsbury, $28
James traces the history of African Americans in American service, from Crispus Attucks to today.

The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War
by Fred Kaplan
Simon & Schuster, $28
The Pulitzer Prize–winning national security correspondent recounts how “COINdinistas”—counterinsurgency advocates such as Petraeus—challenged and overhauled orthodoxy within the U.S. military.

World War II

For Crew and Country: The Inspirational True Story of Bravery and Sacrifice Aboard the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts
by John Wukovits
St. Martin’s, $26.99
The veteran military chronicler spins the tale of the little destroyer escort that made a suicidal run at a Japanese battle group in the Battle of Samar to protect an invasion fleet. It was sunk, but 120 seaman survived three days in the water to return home as heroes.

The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War
by Halik Kochanski
Harvard, $35
The first comprehensive military, political, and diplomatic account of Poles in a conflict that would see them lose almost a fifth of their countrymen.

Hell or Richmond
by Ralph Peters
Forge, $25.99
Following up Cain at Gettysburg, Peters takes readers into the trenches and war-council sessions at the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and Spotsylvania.

The Reprisal: A Novel
by Laudomia Bonanni
University of Chicago, $22
This Italian classic (translated to English for the first time) taps true stories from Abruzzo during World War II to spin a story about a pregnant woman tragically trapped between guerrilla partisans and fascist supporters.

A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Parts
by Sebastian Faulks
Henry Holt, $26.99
In this time-shifting narrative (akin to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas), the bestselling British author ties five novellas together into a pleasing package. But the fine prose does little to lighten the frank assessment of the first character as he experiences the horrors of a Nazi death camp.


Taps on the Walls: Poems From the Hanoi Hilton
by John Borling
Master Wings, $19.95
Shot down over Vietnam, Borling composed these poems as a POW. Using a tap code, he rapped them out with his knuckles on the wall to share them with other prisoners—a “valuable source of mental stimulation and discussion,” writes his fellow internee John McCain.