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Book Reads & Recommendations

Knowledge is power, Information is liberating; Education is the premise of progress in every society... the team is filled with warrior scholars, those who view education and war-fighting on the same stance. We read to learn, read to adapt, read to overcome. We read to cope. We will have a running recommended book list here, with a brief synopsis of the text and why we chose this text, have any recommendations? Send it!

A FAILED STATE: An International War on Terror Novel

Author: Andrew Coussens (@a_failed_state_novel)

The "fiction" novel (I say fiction lightly) is about a man who struggles with severe anxiety, a troubled marriage and a custody dispute over his five year old daughter and is a member of an elite intelligence gathering team trying to stop the spread of ISIS and its emergence into the hotbed of Afghanistan. His team has confidants within ISIS which could turn the tide of the struggle, but while attempting to survive and bring home a victory, he has to juggle his own chaos at home...


Andrew really nailed the main character, the plot is all too real, many of those that serve struggle with their home life, marriages and relationships and the majority of those that also serve either have anxiety, depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress, whether it be mild or severe, deep down its usually there. It's admirable that Coussens shed light on this in a first-person, living-in-the-moment for the readers that may not understand the effects serving can have on not only the person but also the person’s family. I also find his work relatable, a feeling that I'm not alone. Highly recommend it for any veteran who feels alone and has had to chase Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi through Iraq and Syria. You can check out the book here

TIP OF THE SPEAR: The Incredible Story of an injured Green Berets return to Battle

Author: SFC Ryan Hendrickson (@tipofthespearrmh)

Ryan, a Green Beret from the home - Red Empire, 7th Special Forces Group, an 18C (Special Forces Engineer) clearing the way for his twelve-man ODA while conducting combat operations against the Taliban in RC South. As the "tip of the spear," his role is to insure the route taken by U.S. and Afghan troops are free of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and other makeshift bombs. Most people don't realize that IEDs are the number one killer of our fellow veterans down range. Many soldiers do not survive their last step; those who do often lose at least one limb. While rescuing an Afghan soldier, terp, outside a mud-hut compound in 2010 in "uncleared" territory, Ryan stepped on an IED with his right foot. The device exploded, leaving his foot dangling at the end of his leg... but he isn't done.


This story is all too common, as a combat veteran we all know someone who was hit with an IED, but what makes SFC Hendricksons story different is that after undergoing two dozen surgeries and a tortuous rehab, he was medically retired but fought to return to active duty. Skin grafts to his lower leg and right foot successfully reattached his lower leg, and wearing a new prosthetic device known as an IDEO (Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis). Pushing forward, once he passed a series of crucial physical tests, he was able to rejoin the Red boys in 7th group within a year... he was redeployed to Afghanistan in March 2012, and volunteered in 2016 to go again, he lives by the motto "No man left behind"... awarding him the Silver Star... Ryan talks about marrying, divorcing, the struggles not many understand or see behind closed doors, he talks about something we all experience but are too timid to speak on, Ryan is a hell of a teammate and the epiphany of selfless service. You can get his book on Amazon & Barnes and Noble

EXCOMMUNICATED WARRIOR: The 7 Stages of Transition

Author: Nick Koumalatsos (@NickKoumalatsos)

As human beings, we will inevitably go through a life-changing event at some point in our life. It could be losing a job of 20 years, finalizing a divorce, being forced to retire early because of an injury, or leaving the military. If you are a veteran you'll usually fall under one of these events... These life-changing events can have disastrous effects on us and the people around us. Some of us never work through these events and end up unhappy and stuck in life, I can personally relate. Nick was a MARSOC marine serving in Special Operations for years, after leaving the unit, he was stuck with feelings of anger, indifference, and bitterness. Until he finally decided to take action and apply the skills he learned as a Marine Raider and got to work on solving his personal problems.


I was able to look back over my life and identify, relate with damn near everything Nick wrote and described. The subject that stood out the most to me though was sleep, anger and the "VA Pill Starter Pack". If you’re unable to get the sleep you need, you’re going to be miserable and unmotivated, check. The other piece was the drop in testosterone, something that runs through many special operators, check. The VA tells you that you are within normal range (200-800ng/dl) and you are at 210, so you are good. Wrong. Instead they pump you with pain meds, sleep meds, meds to fix your libido that is altered by the depression meds. Its really hard to keep track of. They are good at treating symptoms and the symptoms of the pills to treat those symptoms but never the actual problem or cause. Nick talks about this openly, and makes it easy to relate and he is a funny guy, check out "How not to be a miserable cow" on his site here

MEDITATIONS OF AN ARMY RANGER: A Warrior Philosophy For Everyone

Author(s): LTC JC Glick & Dr. Alice Atalanta, PhD (@JC_Glick31 / @Alicinav)

First off, I can say I have the upmost respect for both Ranger Glick and Dr. Atalanta, and their duo in this book really highlights how effective both of their leadership is. Meditations of an Army Ranger is not a book of pure philosophy. It takes an unintimidating approach to deep, rich, and thought-provoking content that is applied in both civilian and combat situations. The result is a practical, accessible, and readily applicable work of contemporary thought that both draws upon the past and suggests new directions for the future. Men and women of action, take note. Meditations of an Army Ranger establishes a practical roadmap for purposeful action and thoughtful personal growth. Its aim is not to motivate, but to inspire. It is not a philosophy for warriors; it is a philosophy that serves human beings. That is all warriors are, at the end of the day; human beings with a highly specified skillset. But human beings.


They use latin philosophy to relate to modern day problems, I highlight in this book often, take notes and book mark pages for good reasons too. Broken down into sections like "this vs that" for example, excuses vs reasons or sympathy vs empathy. One of my favorite quotes was amor fati: love your fate, and it may be the easy times that we enjoy, but it is through the hard times that we grow... that statement couldn't be more true. It just makes you think or drive on when you are stuck in a standstill. Grab the book here on Amazon

 

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