JACK CARR BOOK CLUB
June 2021 Reading List
The June 2021 reading list selections are books I recommend for Father’s Day and include works on surviving in the aftermath of a devastating EMP, the history of modern firearms, the overreach of the federal government, the novelization of Objectivism through “the role of the mind in man’s existence,” historical fiction on the events leading up to World War II, and the most recommend and gifted book from my shelves. Be sure to check out my stand-alone book specific Instagram page @JackCarrBookClub for a book club type experience in a place you can explore all my reading list selections in one location. If you are just discovering these lists for the first time and want to check out past selections, they are all posted to the blog section of my website. For those new to the Team, each month I highlight six books, some from the professional reading list I was asked to put together for the Naval Special Warfare Center before I retired from the SEAL Teams and others that I have enjoyed at various stages of my life not directly associated with my time in the military. Interested in the “how” and “why” behind the books that influenced me? You might find one that resonates. Happy reading!
June 2021 Reading List Selections
- One Second After by William R. Forstchen
- Three Felonies a Day by Harvey A. Silverglate
- The Gun by C.J. Chivers
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
- The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
- Once An Eagle by Anton Myrer
BLADES, BOOKS, AND BULLETS!
One Second After by William R. Forstchen
This timely and cautionary tale leaves few, if any, dry-eyed. Meticulously researched and written with heart, this is a book that goes in the stack of books you will want to read again. This novel that Newt Gingrich calls “future history” should come with a warning label; not only will you be recommending it to everyone you know, but it’s quite possible you will start stockpiling supplies, training, and preparing for a time when self-reliance and leadership might be all that win the day.
Three Felonies a Day by Harvey A. Silverglate
Three Felonies a Day by Harvey A. Silverglate is my most gifted book after Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer. Its premise is one that should frighten all Americans regardless of party affiliation; the average person wakes up, makes breakfast, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner and goes to bed. Unbeknownst to them, throughout the course of that day, they have committed at least three felonies. A growing number of laws, statutes, and regulations have created an environment that allows the federal government to target anyone of their choosing. Laws are intentionally written in general and vague language so they can be interpreted broadly by those in power. Most laws require a law degree to decipher which is a departure from the original common law traditions upon which our country’s legal system was founded. The book was published in 2009. Its premise and lessons are even more relevant today. It is not a stretch to make the comparison to the “legal system” in place under Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror where his secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria, famously stated, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” Most dissidents sent to the gulag were not in prison for their dissenting political views. Rather, they were tried and found guilty of breaking a host of other “laws.” Think this doesn’t happen in the United States? If so, you owe it to yourself and to future generations to read this book.
The Gun by C.J. Chivers
The Gun by C.J. Chivers is one of my most referenced and gifted books. I read it on the way to Iraq in 2011. I noticed an EOD Tech eyeing it the entire flight. He was going to Iraq for a few days before heading to Afghanistan. I gave it to him when we landed and immediately ordered a replacement copy. C.J. Chivers is one of the most talented writers working today. He is a former Marine Corps Infantry Captain and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He was the New York Times Moscow bureau chief and in my opinion one of the finest journalists of this generation. More than the history of the AK-47, The Gun is the history of modern weaponry and therefore of modern warfare. If you are a student of the gun or of history, this book should move to the top of your stack,
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
“Who is John Galt?” With those immortal words, so begins Ayn Rand’s novelization of her philosophy of Objectivism in Atlas Shrugged, a work that continues to influence how I live and write today. The theme of the novel, according to its author, is “the role of the mind in man’s existence.” The heroes of the story understand the mind, and the role of logic and reason in high achievement. She writes in the afterword: “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
First published in 1957, it is without question one of the most profound and impactful novels of the 20th century. Every American needs to read this book. You may even notice some interesting parallels to today’s reality. Taking it a step further, anyone who reads Atlas Shrugged and takes the time to internalize and conceptualize its themes, will move forward as a stronger, more productive citizen. I’d also recommend studying Ayn Rand as you start your reading journey. Where she came from and how she formed the basis of her philosophy is just as important as the plot and storyline. While I was in BUD/S, I went to a small independent theater in San Diego to see Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life. That documentary is an excellent place to begin. It is valuable to read Atlas Shrugged at different stages of life; high school, college, once in the private sector, and again after one has gained wisdom through experience and adversity. Ayn Rand lived her life to the fullest. The gift she left all of us is the example and ability to do the same.
The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
I was introduced to Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War through the 1983 miniseries of the same name. I already knew that one day I would serve my country in uniform and was drawn to books, movies, and television programs with military themes. I still remember watching The Winds of War with my parents and asking them all sorts of questions about World War II. I had a solid base knowing my grandfather had been killed in the waning days of the war in the Pacific. He flew the F4U Corsair and was the earliest influence on the path my life would take.
Today it is hard to fathom that at the time of its airing, we were not yet forty years removed from the end of that conflict. A few years later I would read Herman Wouk’s novel for the first time. It remains one of my top five recommended novels of all time. I’d read it while backpacking through Europe, visiting many of the places described in its pages. Historical fiction is a fantastic way to pass on the lessons of history, and The Winds of War is among the very best. If you have not read this captivating novel that follows the Henry Family from 1939 up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, I highly recommend you stop reading this and get to know them through the events that would pull the United States into the Second World War.
Once An Eagle by Anton Myrer
Once An Eagle by Anton Myrer is my most gifted book, and if the recipient doesn’t read it, it’s so thick that it can double as a doorstop or a blunt impact weapon. Once an Eagle follows Sam Damon from a high school student into WW I, WW II, and up to Vietnam. The book is remarkable in its presentation of the characteristics and attributes of a leader of warriors and men. The protagonist of the ideal soldier in Sam Damon is juxtaposed to his adversary within the ranks in Courtney Massengale, the rank climbing, political, rear echelon soldier whose very existence is a cancer within the military. One of the great lessons of the book is to see to your character and your reputation will take care of itself. One of my favorite quotes comes from Once an Eagle. It is advice on character that a wise Sam Damon passes along to his son that I have, in turn, passed on to my children. He says, “You can’t help what you were born and you may not have much to say about where you die, but you can and you should try to pass the days in between as a good man.” In the end that really says it all.