We’re honoring and remembering our military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country with these Memorial Day reads.


George Marshall: Defender of the Republic by David L. Roll

The extraordinary career of George Catlett Marshall—America’s most distinguished soldier–statesman since George Washington—whose selfless leadership and moral character influenced the course of two world wars and helped define the American century. 

Winston Churchill called him World War II’s “organizer of victory.” Harry Truman said he was “the greatest military man that this country ever produced.” Today, in our era of failed leadership, few lives are more worthy of renewed examination than Marshall and his fifty years of loyal service to the defense of his nation and its values.

Even as a young officer he was heralded as a genius, a reputation that grew when in WWI he planned and executed a nighttime movement of more than a half million troops from one battlefield to another that led to the armistice. Between the wars he helped modernize combat training, and re-staffed the U.S. Army’s officer corps with the men who would lead in the next decades. But as WWII loomed, it was the role of army chief of staff in which Marshall’s intellect and backbone were put to the test, when his blind commitment to duty would run up against the realities of Washington politics. Long seen as a stoic, almost statuesque figure, he emerges in these pages as a man both remarkable and deeply human, thanks to newly discovered sources.

Set against the backdrop of five major conflicts—two world wars, Palestine, Korea, and the Cold War—Marshall’s education in military, diplomatic, and political power, replete with their nuances and ambiguities, runs parallel with America’s emergence as a global superpower. The result is a defining account of one of our most consequential leaders.

Available in Hardcover, Trade Paperback, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck

The thrilling true story of the daring female aviators who helped the United States win World War II—only to be forgotten by the country they served.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort had escaped Nashville’s debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her student were in the middle of their lesson when the bombs began to fall, and they barely made it back to ground that morning. Still, when the U.S. Army Air Forces put out a call for women pilots to aid the war effort, Fort was one of the first to respond. She became one of just over 1,100 women from across the nation to make it through the Army’s rigorous selection process and earn her silver wings.

The brainchild of trailblazing pilots Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochran, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) gave women like Fort a chance to serve their country—and to prove that women aviators were just as skilled as men. While not authorized to serve in combat, the WASP helped train male pilots for service abroad, and ferried bombers and pursuits across the country. Thirty-eight WASP would not survive the war. But even taking into account these tragic losses, Love and Cochran’s social experiment seemed to be a resounding success—until, with the tides of war turning, Congress clipped the women’s wings. The program was disbanded, the women sent home. But the bonds they’d forged never failed, and over the next few decades they came together to fight for recognition as the military veterans they were—and for their place in history.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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Blaze of Light: The Inspiring True Story of Green Beret Medic Gary Beikirch, Medal of Honor Recipient by Marcus Brotherton

For fans of Unbroken and Hacksaw Ridge comes the powerful true story of a Medal of Honor recipient who faced more than his fair share of battles—and overcame them through perseverance and faith.

After dawn the siege began. It was April 1, 1970, and Army Green Beret medic Gary Beikirch knew the odds were stacked against their survival. Some 10,000 enemy soldiers sought to obliterate the twelve American Special Forces troops and 400 indigenous fighters who stood fast to defend 2,300 women and children inside the village of Dak Seang. For his valor and selflessness during the ruthless siege, Beikirch would be awarded a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest and most prestigious military decoration.

But Gary returned home wounded in body, mind, and soul. To find himself again, Gary retreated to a cave in the mountains of New England, where a redemptive encounter with God allowed Gary to find peace.

New York Times bestselling author Marcus Brotherton chronicles the incredible true story of a person who changed from lost to found. Gripping and unforgettable, and written with a rich and vivid narrative voice, Blaze of Light will inspire you to answer hurt with ingenuity, to reach for faith, and to find clarity and peace within any season of storm.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II by Adam Makos

From the author of the international bestseller A Higher Call comes the riveting World War II story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel—and forge an enduring bond with his enemy.

When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner’s seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He’s a natural-born shooter.

At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored Division—“Spearhead”—thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: The lead tank always gets hit.

After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art “super tank,” one of twenty in the European theater.
But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack.

Battling through the ruins, Clarence will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he will square off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans.

As Clarence and Gustav trade fire down a long boulevard, they are taken by surprise by a tragic mistake of war. What happens next will haunt Clarence to the modern day, drawing him back to Cologne to do the unthinkable: to face his enemy, one last time.

Available in Hardcover, Trade Paperback, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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Places and Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning by Elliot Ackerman

From a decorated Marine war veteran and National Book Award finalist, an astonishing reckoning with the nature of combat and the human cost of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Toward the beginning of Places and Names, Elliot Ackerman sits in a refugee camp in southern Turkey, across the table from a man named Abu Hassar, who fought for al-Qaeda in Iraq and whose connections to the Islamic State are murky. After establishing a rapport with Abu Hassar, Ackerman takes a risk by revealing to him that in fact he was a Marine special operation officer. Ackerman then draws the shape of the Euphrates River on a large piece of paper, and his one-time adversary quickly joins him in the game of filling in the map with the names and dates of places where they saw fighting during the war. As it turned out, they had shadowed each other for some time.

The rest of Elliot Ackerman’s extraordinary memoir is in a way an answer to the question of why he came to that camp, and what he hoped to find there. He shares vivid and powerful stories of his own experiences in combat, culminating in the events of the Second Battle of Fallujah, where his actions leading a rifle platoon saw him awarded the Silver Star. In that unforgettable final chapter, Ackerman weaves his chaotic memories of the battle with the formal language of his official recommendation for the medal. He builds these stories into the latticework of a larger reckoning with contemporary geopolitics and the human extremes of bravery and terror.

Available in Hardcover, Trade Paperback, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character by Admiral James Stavridis, USN (RET.)

From one of the most distinguished admirals of our time and a former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, a meditation on leadership and character refracted through the lives of ten of the most illustrious naval commanders in history

In his acclaimed book Sea Power, James Stavridis reckoned with the history and geopolitics of the world’s great bodies of water. Now in Sailing True North, he offers a much more intimate, human accounting: the lessons of leadership and character contained in the lives and careers of history’s most significant naval commanders. Admiral Stavridis brings a lifetime of reflection to bear on the subjects of his study–on naval history, on the vocation of the admiral with its special tests and challenges, and on the sweep of global geopolitics. Above all, this is a book that will help you navigate your own life’s voyage: the voyage of leadership of course, but more important, the voyage of character. Sadly, evil men can be effective leaders sailing toward bad ends; ultimately, leadership without character is like a ship underway without a rudder. Sailing True North helps us find the right course to chart.

Simply as epic lives, the tales of these ten admirals offer up a collection of the greatest imaginable sea stories. Moreover, spanning 2,500 years from ancient Greece to the twenty-first century, Sailing True North is a book that offers a history of the world through the prism of our greatest naval leaders. None of the admirals in this volume were perfect, and some were deeply flawed. But from Themistocles, Drake, and Nelson to Nimitz, Rickover, and Hopper, important themes emerge, not least that there is an art to knowing when to listen to your shipmates and when to turn a blind eye; that serving your reputation is a poor substitute for serving your character; and that taking time to read and reflect is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Available in Hardcover, Trade Paperback, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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The Golden Thirteen: How Black Men Won the Right to Wear Navy Gold by Dan C. Goldberg

The story of the 13 courageous black men who integrated the officer corps of the US Navy during World War II—leading desegregation efforts across America and anticipating the civil rights movement.

Through oral histories and original interviews with surviving family members, Dan Goldberg brings 13 forgotten heroes away from the margins of history and into the spotlight. He reveals the opposition these men faced: the racist pseudo-science, the regular condescension, the repeated epithets, the verbal abuse and even violence. Despite these immense challenges, the Golden Thirteen persisted—understanding the power of integration, the opportunities for black Americans if they succeeded, and the consequences if they failed.

Until 1942, black men in the Navy could hold jobs only as cleaners and cooks. The Navy reluctantly decided to select the first black men to undergo officer training in 1944, after enormous pressure from ordinary citizens and civil rights leaders. These men, segregated and sworn to secrecy, worked harder than they ever had in their lives and ultimately passed their exams with the highest average of any class in Navy history.

In March 1944, these sailors became officers, the first black men to wear the gold stripes. Yet even then, their fight wasn’t over: white men refused to salute them, refused to eat at their table, and refused to accept that black men could be superior to them in rank. Still, the Golden Thirteen persevered, determined to hold their heads high and set an example that would inspire generations to come.

Available in Hardcover and eBook Editions.

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To Wake the Giant: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Jeff Shaara

The New York Times bestselling master of military historical fiction tells the story of Pearl Harbor as only he can in the first novel of a gripping new series set in World War II’s Pacific theater.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt watches uneasily as the world heads rapidly down a dangerous path. The Japanese have waged an aggressive campaign against China, and they now begin to expand their ambitions to other parts of Asia. As their expansion efforts grow bolder, their enemies know that Japan’s ultimate goal is total conquest over the region, especially when the Japanese align themselves with Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, who wage their own war of conquest across Europe.

Meanwhile, the British stand nearly alone against Hitler, and there is pressure in Washington to transfer America’s powerful fleet of warships from Hawaii to the Atlantic to join the fight against German U-boats that are devastating shipping. But despite deep concerns about weakening the Pacific fleet, no one believes that the main base at Pearl Harbor is under any real threat.

Told through the eyes of widely diverse characters, this story looks at all sides of the drama and puts the reader squarely in the middle.

With you-are-there immediacy, Shaara opens up the mysteries of just how Japan—a small, deeply militarist nation—could launch one of history’s most devastating surprise attacks. In this story of innocence, heroism, sacrifice, and unfathomable blindness, Shaara’s gift for storytelling uses these familiar wartime themes to shine a light on the personal, the painful, the tragic, and the thrilling—and on a crucial part of history we must never forget.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, Audio, and Large Print Editions.

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