2023 Reading List - non fiction

Suggestions for must-read titles in 2023 (military, aviation, history, current affairs) and what we’ve enjoyed reading this year.

I’ve put non fiction here for now or it might get unwieldy rather quickly.

In your own time, go on!

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I read Apache by Ed Macy this year and that was really good. It’s about him winning the DFC for the rescue of L/Cpl Matthew Ford, but the book covers the whole Afghan tour it happened on. Very interesting read🤔

Good shout, I read that a couple of years ago

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Liz McConaghy writing Chinook Crew Chick, tells of her 17 years of service in the Chinook force, her medical discharge and descent into PTSD and her attempted suicide and emergence from the other side. Shows how after many years of service how the forces alter perception and adjustment to the ‘real’ world. May answer why not that many engage with the cadet forces following their service.


Peter Lee, an ex RAF Padre who wrote Reaper Force, he was allowed into the very closed world of 13 and 39 Squadrons, both at Waddington and in the USA at Creech AFB. Lees was even allowed to observe the operations live in the control cabin. He was allowed to interview anybody within the Squadrons plus their families, obviously with anonymity and their full co-operation and consent. Interesting look at the psychology going on within the force, the people and their families. Drone warfare will be increasingly a feature of future warfare, therefore the human factors are going to be an increasing development within the force itself and wider forces community.


Any of the Bernie Gunther books by the late Philip Kerr.

John Nichol and Tony Rennell, excellent book on the development of military medicine and the bravery of the medics administering that medicine.



Nothing to Envy - Barbara Demick

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea is a 2009 nonfiction book by Los Angeles Times journalist Barbara Demick, based on interviews with North Korean refugees from the city of Chongjin who had escaped North Korea. In 2010, the book was awarded the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.

It’s the first DPRK book I read and I’ve been hooked on reading about it since. Got a shelf on my bookcase exclusively filled with North Korean non-fiction.


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Well that’s a Christmas present for my dad sorted! Looks interesting, I’ll have to read it after him :smiley:

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Christmas present by proxy. I like your style! :rofl:

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A bit geeky, but hits (just!) your history theme.

The map that changed the world” by Simon Winchester - a book of the history and people behind the world’s first geological map. And how it upset science and the clergy.

Very well written and engaging with an excellent narrative.


An oldie but a goodie.Red Storm Rising by Tom Clanccy.
A good on how WW3 would have been fought in the late 1980s. The use of the stelth fighters mimiced their use in Gulf war 1
It has the was from both sides and different fronts.


On a similar vein - although straying towards fiction - Mark Greaney’s Red Metal has a familiar theme… And ever so slightly Ukrainy vibe.

Cauldron by Larry Bond, War in Europe, France and Germany against the rest.

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Im reading When Cultures Colide by Richard Lewis.

Given i consult globally its a great source to understand how different cultures work and think and how to best influence someone based on their culture.

Went to the Michael Palin show recently, where he talked about North Korea and Iraq, really interesting and about five years ago to St Georges Hall in Liverpool to listen to a former Ambassador talk about NK for the Roscoe lecture series.

A few from this year:

Operation Certain Death by Damian Lewis- the 1999 rescue mission in Sierra Leone -
I have a soft spot for lesser known conflicts

The Habit of Excellence by Lt Col Langley Sharp: the army’s ‘official’ leadership book - but very readable.

Battle of Britain by Richard Overbury - a good little book on the conflict, covers all the basis and a quick read

The Junior Officers’ Reading Club by Patrick Hennesey: probably my favourite read of the year. One man’s often cynical inside view of modern war fighting and military life.

Thanks for the reminder about the Army’s leadership one that is on my list.

I read Ben MacIntyre’s SAS Rogue heroes a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. My dad read it after watching the TV adaptation and has now purchased 4 more of his books and I’m going to read them after. Can’t remember specific names, Operation Mincemeat was one and another has been made into a TV series (something about coming in from the cold). I quite like spy related books.

I did try reading the Official history of the security services (again can’t remember the official name) but I found it hard going and did not finish.

Sorry, very unhelpful with lack of names

I’ve read a lot of the Ben McIntyre ones. Mincemeat is good, I have another history of that op which I think is better. Will post the title if I remember this eve.

I came across the Five Documentry he did on his visit to North Korea. Shall watch tonight if I can convince the girlfriend to watch instead of the Harry-Megan regicide show.

The DPRK is a very interesting country, from the way their diplomats smuggle meth in their diplomatic bags to make money for the Kim family, to the wellies being a fashion highlight in Pygongyang, to the great idea to cancel everyone’s savings in a single day via changing the currency and you could only exchange a maximum of $1,000 from the old currency into the new.

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I read that a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

I’ve asked the Missus to get me Mosquito Men by David Price it’s a history of 627 Squadron.

From a WW2 history point of view I heartily recommend anything by James Holland, he’s covering a lot of the ground that Max Hastings has covered, but doing so in a positive/honest light and without Hastings strange obsession with claiming that those wearing Jackboots were supermen who by magic alone lost the war. (Rather than being comprehensively outfought by the Western Allies).

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If you want a read over Christmas then this book is just the job.

Ben Macintyre in the Spy and the Traitor tells the story of how Oleg Gordievsky became a spy for the UK ending up as the head of the KGB in London and the subsequent extraction of him from the Soviet Union with the KGB counter-espionage close on his tail. One of the MI6 officers involved is a member of the House of Lords. Fast-paced and very well written, one to lock yourself away with a comfortable chair no kids etc and a good drink.



I’ve read that before, really good.