military books by servicemembers.




James H. Webb

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A Sense of Honor: A Novel (Bluejacket Books)
James H. Webb  More Info

A Country Such as This
James H. Webb  More Info

The Emperor's General
James H. Webb  More Info

Fields of Fire (Bluejacket Books)
James H. Webb  More Info

Lost Soldiers
James H. Webb  More Info

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America
James Webb  More Info

Something to Die For
James Webb  More Info

A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America
Jim Webb  More Info

One reader of Fields of Fire said, “Jim Webb served his time in Vietnam during one of my nearly three years in Vietnam. I found this book just after the original publication in 1979. It was as if I was reading a biography of my own service with the grunts in the 1st Marine Division. In the years since I have always admired his work, first as a Platoon and Company Commander in 5th Marines and then as Secretary of the Navy and as an author. Fields of Fire fully described the green hell that was Vietnam for every Marine infantryman who served there.  If you want to get a feel for what that war was like, read this book. If you think you might want to go fight in a war, read this book.”


John Anderson on said of The Emperor's General, “Despite popular sentiments that World War II was in fact a good war, there was some disagreement about that immediately following the conflict. After the Marshall Plan and the "democratization" of Japan, conspiracy mongers accused forces in the U.S. government of assisting our former enemies in rebuilding their economic powers at the expense of our national interest. At their worst, these suspicions aided the rise of McCarthyism; at their best, they give us snappy espionage novels such as James Webb's The Emperor's General, which speculates that Douglas MacArthur lost the peace by allowing Japan to regain its sphere of influence in the Pacific Rim.


This hypothesis is presented by the book's protagonist, Jay Marsh, an inexperienced captain serving as one of MacArthur's aides. Throughout the course of the novel, young Marsh suspects that the general is shielding Japan's imperial elite from war-crimes trials being undertaken by various military commissions. He soon sheds his naïveté, becoming both seduced and appalled by the Japanese-U.S. alliance of global hegemony. Webb avoids the Grishamesque hit-and-run action sequences that sacrifice the "reality" of many conspiratorial novels, making Marsh into MacArthur's doppelgänger, a character whose intense love of the East is entangled with a sense of compromised honor. The general's loss of the Philippines is matched with Marsh's betrayal of his Filipina fiancée, propelling all the characters towards their destiny. The fact that the U.S. secured its military objectives by protecting Japan's leaders should come as no surprise to the historically informed, but the all too human motivations that Webb gives to MacArthur's actions ought to keep the reader hooked to the last page.”


According to the book description of A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America, “Jim Webb - the bestselling author and now the celebrated, outspoken U.S. Senator from Virginia - presents a clear-eyed, hard-hitting plan of attack for putting government to work for the people, rather than special interests, and for restoring the country's standing around the world.


Infused with the intelligence, force, and firebrand style that has earned Senator Jim Webb enormous national attention from his earliest days in office, A Time to Fight offers a thorough and provocative assessment of the thorniest issues Americans face today, along with cogent solutions drawn from Webb's lifetime of experience as a much-decorated Marine, a widely traveled, award-winning journalist and novelist, a highly placed member of the Reagan administration, a Senator with a son who fought as a Marine in Iraq and, perhaps most important, a proud scion of America's vast but frequently ignored working class.


Webb exposes how America has entered a dangerous, unprecedented cycle of seemingly unsolvable unknowns. Our economic policies, particularly in this age of globalization, have produced widely divergent results leading to a country calcifying along class lines. Our demographic makeup has been altered dramatically and is set to keep on changing, through both legal and illegal immigration. Our editorialists and politicians talk about the American dream, and some urge us to bring democracy to the rest of the world. But more than two million Americans are now in prison, by far the highest incarceration rate in the so-called advanced world. Our foreign policy is confused, without clear direction; increasingly vulnerable to such largely unexamined long-term threats as China's emerging power while it has become bogged down in the never-ending struggles of the Middle East. As this drift toward societal regression has taken place, America's leadership has largely been paralyzed, unable or unwilling to stop the slide. "Where are the leaders?" Webb asks. "Has our political process become so compromised by powerful interest groups and the threat of character assassination that even the best among us will not dare to speak honestly about the solutions that might bring us back to common sense and fundamental fairness?"


Through vivid personal narratives of the struggles members of his family faced, and citing the courageous actions of presidents ranging from Andrew Jackson to Teddy Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower, A Time to Fight provides specific, viable ideas for restoring fairness to our economic system, correcting the direction of national security efforts, ending America's military occupation of Iraq, and developing greater government accountability. Webb brings a fresh perspective to political dynamics that have shaped our country. His stirring, populist manifesto calls upon voters to make the choices that will change America for the better in this election season.”

Captain James H. Webb, USMC (ret.), first attended the University of Southern California on an NROTC academic scholarship; he left for the Naval Academy after one year. At the Naval Academy James Webb was a four-year member of the Brigade Honor Committee, a varsity boxer, and was one of six finalists in the interviewing process for Brigade Commander during his senior year. Graduating in 1968 James Webb chose a commission in the Marine Corps, and was one of 18 in his class of 841 to receive the Superintendent's Commendation for outstanding leadership contributions while a midshipman.


James Webb was first in his class of 243 at the Marine Corps Officer's Basic School. He then served with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam, where as a rifle platoon and company commander in the infamous An Hoa Basin west of Danang James Webb was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts. He later served as a platoon commander and as an instructor in tactics and weapons at Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, and then as a member of the Secretary of the Navy's immediate staff, before leaving the Marine Corps in 1972.


From 1977 to 1981, James Webb served in the U.S. Congress as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. During the Reagan Administration he was the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs from 1984 to 1987, where he directed considerable research and analysis of the U.S. military's mobilization capabilities. In 1987, James Webb became the first Naval Academy graduate in history to serve in the military and then become Secretary of the Navy.  In 2006, James Webb was elected by the people of Virginia to the United States Senate.


James Webb is the author of Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America; Fields of Fire; A Country Such as This; Lost Soldiers; The Emperor's General;  Sense of Honor: A Novel; Something to Die For; and, A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America.

Publisher’s Weekly said of Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, “Former navy secretary Webb (Fields of Fire; etc.) wants not only to offer a history of the Scots-Irish but to redeem them from their redneck, hillbilly stereotype and place them at the center of American history and culture. As Webb relates, the Scots-Irish first emigrated to the U.S., 200,000 to 400,000 strong, in four waves during the 18th century, settling primarily in Appalachia before spreading west and south. Webb's thesis is that the Scots-Irish, with their rugged individualism, warrior culture built on extended familial groups (the "kind of people who would die in place rather than retreat") and an instinctive mistrust of authority, created an American culture that mirrors these traits.


Webb has a genuine flair for describing the battles the Scots-Irish fought during their history, but his analysis of their role in America's social and political history is, ironically for someone trying to crush stereotypes, fixated on what he sees, in almost Manichaean terms, as a class conflict between the Scots-Irish and America's "paternalistic Ivy League-centered, media-connected, politically correct power centers." He even excuses resistance to the "Northern-dominated" Civil Rights movement. Another glaring weakness is the virtual absence of women from the sociological narrative. Webb interweaves his own Scots-Irish family history throughout the book with some success, but by and large his writing and analysis are overwhelmed by romanticism.”


According to the book description of A Country Such as This, “The innocence the 1950s and turbulence of the 1960s and 70s--years when America reached out and touched the heavens, only to be torn apart by internal conflict and a war in Southeast Asia--provide a dramatic setting for this unforgettable story of three men and the women they love carving a place for themselves in a society where the rules keep changing. Written by bestselling novelist James Webb, it has been hailed as a major work of our time and a stunning commentary of political and social life in America over nearly three decades. From the wars in Korea and Vietnam to antiwar protests in Washington and POW camps in Hanoi, from young love and parenthood to divorce and reconciliation, Webb's eye for detail, provocative insights, and subtle revelations have earned him the highest literary accolades. His convincing characters and gripping scenes fully engage the reader as the three Naval Academy graduates reevaluate their lives, their country, and the cost of success.”


Library Journal said of Lost Soldiers, “Some of the memories were horrible. A few of them were good. But all of them had meaning. Thus begins a gripping tale of mystery and intrigue set in present-day Vietnam. The center of this fine novel is the search for two army deserters who led U.S. troops into ambush and then hid in North Vietnam after the hostilities ceased. Like the best of such tales, however, the novel offers more than the resolution of a mystery: it also tells a poignant story of a love that might have been and of friendship across partisan lines and is rich with the sounds and smells of its foreign setting. Former Secretary of the Navy and Assistant Secretary of Defense Webb (also the author of the best-selling Fields of Fire and other novels) has used his familiarity with the Far East to evoke the tangled net of loyalties and enmities bequeathed to a troubled country by a savage history of conflict. This exceptionally well-written book tells a gripping tale; enthusiastically recommended.”


One reader of A Sense of Honor: A Novel said, it “tells a story of life at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and is set in 1968. Webb looks at the fiercely regimented life of the school's midshipman, who prepare to become Navy and Marine Corps officers as the Vietnam War rages on. The book jacket notes that Webb is himself a graduate of the Naval Academy and a highly decorated Marine.


The main characters in the novel include the following. Bill Fogarty is a first class (senior) midshipman; he is a tough, disciplined man who boxes and aspires to be a Marine Corps officer. John Dean is a fourth class (freshman) midshipman; he's academically brilliant, but also a whiny misfit who enrages the upperclassmen. Ted Lenahan is a Marine Corps captain, a combat veteran of Vietnam whose job is to mentor midshipman.


These and other characters are among the elements that make this a gripping novel. Webb has crafted a vivid and revealing portrait of Annapolis life--the rituals and slang, as well as relationships among midshipmen, academic faculty, and officer mentors. Through his characters Webb asks piercing questions about leadership and character. Particularly interesting is his presentation of a contrast between "technocrats" and "warriors" in the officer corps.


Webb captures the pain, loneliness, frustration, pride, and triumph of military life. He evokes a sense of the midshipman forming a "tribe," a sort of highly specialized subculture within the larger military culture. Although over 20 years old, this book remains powerful and relevant as a new generation of midshipman continue to learn and train in the shadow of the war on terror.”


The Library Journal said of Something to Die For, “Colonel Bill Fogarty is called to fight a war in Eritrea for reasons even he, a military man down to his Tennessee genes, spots as fraudulent. He becomes a compliant victim when a major conflict between a congressman and a defense secretary needs a diversion to distract the U.S. public. In the familiar web of international manipulation and megalomaniacal ambitions of twisted bureaucrats, Webb argues that if soldiers must die, let them die for worthy causes. Author of the revered Fields of Fire ( LJ 9/1/1978), he tries to instill into this fictionalized battle account the anguish of a real war. The transference does not quite take. Instead this morality play-cum-thriller must rely on portraits and vignettes of real-life Washington. In their own way, these are very good and certainly measure up to the demands of the Washington novel, but Webb fans will feel as if they consumed a Twinkie when they thought they were getting seven-grain bread.”

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