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An Unsung Soldier: The Life of General Andrew J. Goodpaster by Robert S. Jordan (Naval Institute Press, 2013).

 General Goodpaster, one of the finest “leaders of character” ever to serve in the U.S. military, was long overdue for a book-length biography. Jordan tells the life story of this brilliant scholar and courageous soldier who was NATO commander from 1969-74. After being recalled from retirement, Goodpaster served as superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy from 1977-81. One of his most important and lasting achievements during his 40 years of Army service was to guide West Point (his alma mater) back onto the right path after notorious 1976 cheating scandal.

Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II and Grant vs. Lee: The Graphic History of the Civil War Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War, written and illustrated by Wayne Vansant (Zenith Press, 2013).  

These two recently published graphic histories on widely varied subjects confirm Vansant’s reputation as the best writer-illustrator-historian working in this genre. Vansant always does his homework researching the historical facts and then presents them through colorful, compelling and superbly rendered art.

Giap: The General Who Defeated America in Vietnam by James A. Warren (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

 The death of Vo Nguyen Giap at the age of 102 in October 2013 makes this latest biography on him a “must-read” for anyone interested in the general who successfully led North Vietnam’s effort against the French and the Americans in the Vietnam War. Although Giap’s 1968 Tet Offensive proved horrifically costly for his forces, the U.S. public was turned against the war by media coverage flooding American television with images of battlefield carnage and by “doom and gloom” reporting by correspondents who seldom left Saigon.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2013).

Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow ( The Hurt Locker, 2009) again delves into  the “current military ops” genre with this film on the decade-long manhunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Although the movie dramatically re-creates the Seal Team Six raid that killed Bin Laden in his Pakistan sanctuary on May 2, 2011, most of the story focuses on CIA analyst “Maya” (Jessica Chastain), who has spent her entire career gathering intelligence to track down the elusive terrorist.


Originally published in the March 2014 issue of Armchair General.