Reading List (Update): a Story of War

By | November 13, 2018

[November 13, 2018]  It’s been ages since I had a library card.  A few days ago, with my wife leading the way, we traveled to our local free public library.  They no longer have “library cards” but instead have one of those scannable electronic tags that you hang on your keychain; much like grocery stores do.  Because we were approaching Veterans Day, the librarians had set up a very nice display of books they thought would appeal to military veterans … and it did.  I picked up Doug Stanton’s newest book, The Odyssey of Echo Company.  I’d heard of it but never got around to putting it on my reading list.  Today, as a spate of cold weather and rain settles over a large part of the country, I’m putting his book on my recommended list.

The Odyssey of Echo Company, Doug Stanton, 2017.

On January 31st, 1968 over 100,000 North Vietnamese regular soldiers along with irregular forces called Viet Cong attacked 36 cities throughout South Vietnam in a “surge” known as the Tet Offensive.  Doug Stanton’s book is about one of the U.S. Infantry recon units; Echo Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 101st Airborne Division.  This book is not about strategy or how the generals performed or even how America reacted to the battle; Stanton’s book is about the 40-man recon unit that struggled to survive at the height of the Vietnam War in its largest, most fierce battle.  Stanton follows these young soldiers, now older men, as they find their reckoning with the fact that they can now talk about what happened during the two-month long battle.

Stanton focuses his narrative on one man, Stanley Parker from Gary, Indiana.  He tells the story from his enlistment to his return home to a different America than what Parker knew.  The complexity of the war is discussed as it affects Parker and his teammates during the many fragmented battles; where he learned to be a man and kill.  The story of Parker is not that unlike many soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in any war.  The heartbreak and joy, the boredom and the exhilaration, and the simplicity and complexity of warfare; Parker sees it all and Stanton does a great job of capturing those sentiments from interviews, letters home, family members, and, importantly, from the battle buddies of Stanton’s.

Highly recommended book.

To go to the full Professional Reading list, simply click on this direct link:

Side Note: Please remember and take a look at Tom Copeland’s reading blog.  His website, which I highly recommend, can be found here:

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

18 thoughts on “Reading List (Update): a Story of War

  1. Greg Heyman

    If you want to get an idea of what communism does to a people, the read this book. While the main point of the book is the recon unit, you can see through it to how the communist act against their own people. For communists, the state is more important than anyone except those in charge.

    1. Big Al

      I read all his books. If you have no money, do as Gen Satterfield suggests and go to the library and check them out.

  2. Max Foster

    Excellent book. My favorite from 2017. Thanks for highlighting it.

  3. Mr. T.J. Asper

    I was looking for books to give to my students who show promise as a future leader. I bought 15 copies and now give them out but only to those who might read it and consider what’s it really about.

  4. Scotty Bush

    I recommend the book too. My son gave it to me for my birthday. He knows that I like to read about war and “how war” impacts people.

  5. Janna Faulkner

    I haven’t read it but I did read a few reviews and it gets a good rating. However, good ratings don’t mean it’s a helpful book about leadership. Thanks for the review.

  6. Dale Paul Fox

    Correct, General Satterfield, this book is not about strategy or senior leadership but about personal growth (the hard way). I was lucky and got the book as a Christmas present last year. Read it around New Year’s Day and enjoyed every page. That is the point, I guess of Stanton, to write a readable, enjoyable book that might sell more. I would suggest that other books about senior leaders might be better for readers in this blog.

    1. José Luis Rodriguez

      Good point, but I’ll get a copy and read it anyway. Sometimes it’s good to get the perspective of what happens to others that makes them who they are.

  7. Lady Hawk

    Rarely is there a book that tells us so much about the growth of a person than this book. By focusing on the recon unit and on Stanley Parker, you can see how war affected them; both the good and bad. War has an effect on people that is difficult to predict. Thanks for the recommendation.

  8. Nick Lighthouse

    I give the book a thumbs up. Read it just earlier this year.

  9. Tracey Brockman

    Because you recommend it, I just ordered it via Amazon Prime. Thanks.

  10. Army Captain

    Good book. Read it when Stanton’s book came out last year. I recommend it too.

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      Thanks, I’ll read it as soon as I get to order it.

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