Books for Someone in Basic Training?
October 11, 2010 10:55 AM   Subscribe

My brother is in Army Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood. He is unable to receive any care packages at this time, only Military-related books. I believe it's not limited to non-fiction. What are some entertaining and educational books for someone in Basic Training? Fiction and non-fiction welcome. Thanks!
posted by santaliqueur to Education (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cryptonomicon. Two-thirds of it takes place (actively) in World War 2.
posted by griphus at 11:01 AM on October 11, 2010

WAR by Sebastian Junger, it might be a bit jarring, but extremely well written, well researched and well worth a read so he can be a little more informed about the truth of war.
posted by banannafish at 11:14 AM on October 11, 2010

I am not sure he will have time to read anything, although mail is the best thing in the world while in Basic Training. Even if it is just about the weather.

That being said, I really enjoyed Chickenhawk by Robert Mason, the 13th Valley by John M. Del Vecchio, Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose, Blackhawk Down by Mark Bowden, We Were Soliders Once...and Young by Moore and Galloway. Yes, a few of them have been made into TV or movies but they were all interesting books.
posted by Silvertree at 11:15 AM on October 11, 2010

The Art of War?

Or The Art of Peace?
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:19 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Anything by Jim Dunnigan.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:23 AM on October 11, 2010

Although it's really nice to want to send him something, I would avoid any kind of package. Letters for sure, though!

Why? Anything remotely unusual will cause him to be the focus of his Drill Sergeant's attention, and that is something that he almost assuredly does. not. want. He might just get the stink-eye, he might get "what is this, a library?" or he might get, "Oh, you're bored, brother of santaliqueur? Well, I'll find something for you to do! Like cleaning the head with a toothbrush! For six hours!"

Disclaimer: I've never been in the military, but my ex went through the Marine Corps version when we were together and he begged me not to send him anything but plain letters in plain envelopes. The Army may be slightly less sadistic.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:26 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Infantry Attacks by Erwin Rommel. Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:29 AM on October 11, 2010

Don't send him any books. He's not going to have time to read during Basic Training.

Send him letters. Photos from home. Things like that. Packages will get him a lot of extra attention he doesn't want.

I went to basic training at Ft Leonard Wood. I did so many pushups there that I single-handedly pushed Missouri 50 feet closer to sea level than it was before I arrived. It would have been 100 feet if my family had sent me literature.
posted by phoebus at 11:33 AM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

There's really no time to read in basic. If you have time to read, you'll probably spend it sleeping, because you never get enough sleep. Send him some cookies or just a good letter. If his locker is anything like mine was, there is very little space for personal objects. Lockers are inspected and everything has to be stowed correctly (folded correctly and placed in the right drawer). We had one drawer for personal items and it was generally to store clothes that didn't fit in the officially sanctioned manner.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:35 AM on October 11, 2010

Don't send him books. Unless things have changed much since I was in (Marine Corps) basic, he won't have time to read them and probably wont have a place to put them.

Pictures from back home were always a big hit. Honestly, getting mail, any mail, was the best thing in the world. Send him a short letter every couple of days.

Also, don't dress up the letter at all - it will get him singled out. Of course, anything will get him singled out, but there's no reason to add to it.

Once he graduates and gets off to his school, the rules will be more lax, but until then just keep it simple.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:58 AM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

National Geographic magazine.
posted by Biru at 12:16 PM on October 11, 2010

Oops, missed the "Military only" caveat.
posted by Biru at 12:18 PM on October 11, 2010

Starship Troopers is very short and easy to read, consists mostly of a sci-fi space version of basic training, and is supposedly required reading at the military academies.
posted by miyabo at 12:27 PM on October 11, 2010

Just send letters and photos.

I was at a graduation ceremony at Fort Leonard Wood for my stepson, and I saw a guy get a box of brownies in the mail. The Dril Sargeant made the him drop and do 50 pushups because of the box of brownies. It was something at the time I didn't understand, but I do now.
posted by chocolatetiara at 12:52 PM on October 11, 2010

Marine Sniper about Carlos Hathcock.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:10 PM on October 11, 2010

Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield
posted by Master Gunner at 3:16 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Kokoda by Paul Ham
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor

I've read both recently and they are both fantastic.
posted by micklaw at 4:07 PM on October 11, 2010

I went to Ft Leonard Wood six years ago. I doubt it's changed drastically since then. Don't bother sending him books. He won't have the time or energy to read them. Just write lots of letters.
posted by lullaby at 4:32 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the replies. I wouldn't have thought of sending him any books, but he specifically requested a couple of books. He said care packages were not allowed, but he was allowed to get letters only (at first), and then he said he would be allowed to get a couple of books. Thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by santaliqueur at 12:07 AM on October 12, 2010

When he gets to AIT, or whatever they are calling it these days, Elizabeth Moon's _Sheepfarmer's Daughter_ (there are two sequels, not as good) and the Honor Harrington series, by David Weber, are some good military fantasy.

But, yes, lots of short letters. I loved those when I was in Basic.
posted by QIbHom at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2010

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