Hello and welcome to this week's Friday list! Now obviously, military history books are our business. In our range of titles, we've covered a lot of the best military personalities. In fact, we even have a series dedicated to them. But where else better to hear a story, than from the horse's mouth?
So I thought this week we should look at some of the best memoirs and autobiographies from military figures throughout history. We'll re-visit a similar subject in time.
1.) Julius Caesar - The Gallic Wars
A very early example of military memoirs, in which the great Caesar recorded his experiences as a commander during his conquest of Gaul. Commentarii de Bello Gallico is actually seven books, each one detailing a year of his campaign. There is an eighth and final volume covering the last two years of the campaign, written by Aulus Hirtius - although actually the whole collection is rendered in the third person!
2.) T. E. Lawrence - Seven Pillars of Wisdom
The famous 'Lawrence of Arabia' penned his experiences of the 1917-1918 Arab Revolt. Lawrence served as a liaison officer against the Ottoman Turks. Lawrence was a literary man, and this book has often been called a novel under the guise of an autobiography - it reflects a very personal, and philosophical vision of the military and political events Lawrence was living through.
3.) Saburo Sakai - Samurai
Sakai was among the Imperial Navy's best airmen - and has become probably the most famous Zero ace in the West. This is partly because he was one of the few who survived, and largely because the memoirs of his military career were recorded and translated in English by Martin Caidin. Whilst in recent years the veracity of some of Sakai's claims, and the license that Caidin took when recording the work, have come into question, there is no doubt that this is a gripping account of a talented ace.
4.) Roald Dahl - Going Solo
A childhood favourite of mine. Dahl truly was a man of many talents - poet, novelist, screenwriter and fighter pilot! The book is an greatread, the warmth of Dahl's personality and his ability to tell a story is shine through his descriptions of a terrible crash, claims for two Junkers Ju 88s and involvement in the wild dogfight that was the Batlle of Athens.
5.) Wooden Leg - A Warrior Who Fought Custer
A very interesting piece of work that was dictated in sign language by the Cheyenne warrior Wooden Leg to Thomas Bailey Marquis. It is a highly valued document - providing a very rare first-hand (no pun intended) account of 19th century plains indian culture, not to mention the eye witness accounts of several key clashes between plains tribes and the US army - at which Wooden Leg was present.
So, what did we miss? Which military memoirs have you most enjoyed reading? Should we have had one of the German generals in there? Get in touch and let us know!
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