Book Reviews

Here are all the book reviews that we've done at over the years!

  • Book Review: The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers

    The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers by Nicholas Irving with Gary Brozek is a first-hand account of Nicholas Irving's tour in Afghanistan in 2009, during the beginnings of the US surge in that region. During his 100-day tour in Afghanistan, Sergeant Irving served with the Army's Special Operations 3rd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment as a Master Sniper. The Reaper is his record of that his deployment and the 33 kills that he made during that 4-month period - a record for the number of enemy kills on a single deployment which still stands today.
    The Reaper by Nicholas Irving with Gary Brozek

  • The Way of the SEAL (Book Review)

    If you are looking to hone yourself: mind, body, and spirit. If you are wanting to be at peak performance at all times. If you want to be focused on what truly matters to you, execute your plans efficiently, and be agile to make necessary changes. Then you need to get a copy of The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed by Mark Divine.

    The author earned an MBA and started a financial career. Unfortunately, while it paid well, it left him feeling like he was missing out. He didn't feel that he was living the life he really wanted to lead. He enjoyed and excelled in martial arts and was a student not only of the physical aspect but of the philosophy being instilled in him. Mark decided he wanted to become a SEAL. After 20 years as a SEAL, he went into business for himself and with partners. Some of the businesses worked and became very successful, while some others flopped.

  • Officer Candidate Tests for Dummies

    In the US Military, most of the branches have different qualification tests to become an officer. Officer Candidate Tests for Dummies attempts to prepare the reader to tackle the common elements between all of the tests. You won't find much in this book about the flight and navigation questions you'll see in the Air Force, but all of the English, math, science, mechanical, and electricity questions are all explained here.

    On top of that, OCT for Dummies provides tips on how to take tests, best discern word problems, study effectively, and navigate the questions. Not only is this book a resource for those wanting to become an officer, this book is just as good, if not slightly better, than the couple of ASVAB practice books I've read. Since US Army officers take the ASVAB as part of their OCT, a potential enlisted person should read this book as well before taking the ASVAB.

    Read more, so I can explain.

  • Book Review: The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook

    One month after September 11, 2001, Michael Volkin enlisted into the Army Reserves. According to him, he left home "without an ounce of military knowledge", but he took notes on everything he did and saw during BCT. After graduating, he also picked the brains of his fellow soldiers - what did they do to get through BCT, how did they adapt, what do they wish they knew going in? With this information he assembled The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, with the goal that no other soldier should have to go through BCT without an idea of what to expect. Let's take a look at what this book offers, and if it fulfills his promise!

  • One Million Steps (Book Review)

    There are moments in time that are greater not because they are particularly unique but because they capture a truth about how we look at a larger-scale view. The grunts that went into Sangin, Afghanistan in 2010 faced an impossible task in a hostile territory surrounded by people that couldn't be trusted. Bing West captures a snapshot of the Marine Battalion 3/5 3rd Platoon as they enter Sangin to take over from our British partners, push back at the Taliban that roam carefree, and find some success before being pulled out of Afghanistan. One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon At War is part battle log of this platoon and part military analysis of the overall strategy in Afghanistan.

  • Book Review: Tears of a Warrior

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is not a new development for soldiers. For hundreds of years, military personnel have known about the emotional and mental suffering that soldiers endure long after leaving the battlefield. It is a condition that doesn't just go away or fix itself. Soldiers and their families need to be able to identify PTSD and be willing to get help.

    Tony and Janet Seahorn have lived with PTSD since Tony's return from Vietnam decades ago. Everything they have learned about the condition and how to treat it has been compiled in Tears of a Warrior: A Family's Story of Combat and Living with PTSD. This subject is personal for them and so the book reads like a friend or an acquaintance sharing their personal knowledge with you and not a dry reference book on PTSD.

  • Book Review: The Ultimate Air Force Basic Training Guidebook

    One of the scariest things about leaving for basic military training is venturing into the unknown - and anything that can give you a heads-up about what's to come can help you get in the right mindset to get the most out of basic training. Written by Senior Airman Nicholas Van Wormer - who graduated from Air Force Basic Military Training in 2007 - The Ultimate Air Force Basic Training Guidebook is designed to help answer many of the most common questions asked by those who are thinking about enlisting or getting ready to ship out!

  • Book Review: National Guard 101, A Handbook for Spouses
    To a lot of civilians, members of the National Guard aren't viewed as "real soldiers". They don't live on post, they aren't surrounded by the military lifestyle 24/7, and often their day-to-day jobs are not even related to the military.
  • Book Review: The Soldier's Guide by the Department of the Army

    The Soldier's Guide (published by Skyhorse Publishing) is a compilation of numerous Army regulations and manuals. LTC Charles C. Hagemeister (retired) compiled this edition of the manual and injects his own insight and numerous inspirational stories into the text to put a human aspect to what can be dry material. This book is styled very much like other US military documents with chapter and paragraph numbering and black and white images. In that way, it isn't only the content familiarizing the reader with the US Army way, but the very method that information is passed along is done is very much like an official manual - just a tad more casual in tone.

  • Book Review: US Military History for Dummies

    If you are interested in military history, or the history of the United States, you are probably familiar with most of the facts and events in this book. If you aren't a history buff, this book promises a much quicker and easier way to get a broad overview of the history of American conflicts. Let's see if US Military History for Dummies can live up to that promise.

  • Book Review: Master the ASVAB by Peterson's

    If you've been on this site at all, you probably know about the importance of the ASVAB. This test, taken during your short visit to a Military Entry Processing Station (MEPS), determines both your eligibility to enlist in the military and your available career paths once enlisted.

  • Undaunted: The Real Story of America's Servicewomen in Today's Military

    While serving in the US Army in Afghanistan, you are one of the leaders of a nightly convoy of trucks between two facilities. At the last minute, a soldier asks if he can fill an empty seat so he can catch a ride. You let him come along. On the trip, your convoy it hit by IEDs. That young man you let catch a ride...he is dead. Although life in a war zone is deadly, it is still mentally jarring when non-combat activities are just as likely a target as an infantry unit. And that is part of the reality for women in the US military. The female convoy leader was in a non-combat role and yet still very much in harm's way.

    Undaunted: The Real Story of America's Servicewomen in Today's Military by Tanya Biank tells us about the lives of four servicewomen in the US military. Biank chronicles their life and career events from 2006 through 2011 and provides some backstory of how each of the women ended up where they are. The book shifts back and forth between the women, following their lives in sections broken down by years.

  • A Family's Guide to the Military For Dummies

    Normal adults can not begin to understand how different military life is until you are living it. Even the children of military parents (known as military "Brats") do not understand how different it is from civilian life. Military members and their spouses however are immersed from day one in a new culture with different customs and traditions that can be challenging and even scary at first. But with time (years) and experience, this new life can become fun and exciting as you understand it better and learn about the many "perks" available for military members and their families.

    Or, you can read Part I of "A Family's Guide to the Military For Dummies" and skip the years of time and experience and go right to the "fun and exciting" parts.

  • Book Review: ASVAB Study Guide 2011 Edition

    As you've probably heard, the ASVAB is the single most important test you take during your entire Army career. You get one shot at the test when you are at MEPS, and it determines both your eligibility for enlistment and the list of potential MOSs that you can choose from. With this in mind it's a good idea to make sure you are prepared by taking practice tests and studying. Your recruiter will probably give you some practice tests (although we also have two here and here) but you also want to make sure you study up on any weak subjects.

    The core of the ASVAB is the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) which determines whether or not you can enlist. You should definitely study for this test, and we have a review of a study guide for the AFQT. Your score on the AFQT is combined with your score on the other sections of the ASVAB to determine your final score. In addition to the four subjects on the AFQT, the additional subjects on the ASVAB are:

    • General Science: 25 questions covering general concepts from life, earth, and physical sciences
    • Electronics Information: 20 questions covering basic circuits, electronic terminology, and principles.
    • Auto and Shop Information: 25 questions that test mechanical knowledge of automobiles as well as shop tools and practices.
    • Mechanical Comprehension: 25 questions covering basic physical and mechanical principals.
    • Assembling Objects: 25 questions testing your ability to visualize how a disassembled object will look when put back together.

    The ASVAB study guide we are looking at today, the 2011 edition by Kaplan, not only covers these five subjects, but also covers the four subjects in the AFQT. Let's get started!

  • ASVAB AFQT for Dummies by Rod Powers

    If you are looking to enlist, one of the things you must do is take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This test is probably one of the single most important tests you'll take in the military, since your score determines the different jobs (or MOSs) that you are eligible for. This means that you should prepare in advance for the ASVAB - you only get one shot at the test in MEPS. Your recruiter will probably give you practice tests, which you should do (we also have practice tests on this site here and here) and you should also study.

    The ASVAB consists of nine separate sub-tests of which four make up the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT). The AFQT is even more important than the ASVAB, since your score on these four sub-tests determine if you are eligible to enter the military at all. These four sub-tests are:

    • Arithmetic Reasoning: This section consists of 30 multiple-choice math word problems.
    • Word Knowledge: This section tests your vocabulary with 35 multiple-choice questions that ask you to pick the closest meaning to the highlighted word.
    • Paragraph Comprehension: This section requires you to read various paragraphs and answer one to four questions on each paragraph, with 15 questions total.
    • Mathematics Knowledge: This tests consists of 25 high school-level math questions.

    That's it - your score on these four categories determine if you can even begin your military career. Now that you know what is riding on these four sections, let's take a look at a book designed to help you improve your AFQT score ASVAB AFQT for Dummies by Rod Powers.