Our Annual Holiday Books by Veterans list is here

Elizabeth Howe
December 06, 2019 - 12:30 pm
Holiday Books

The Connecting Vets team read a lot of impressive veteran books this year. Here are the ones we think would make great holiday gifts for the friends and family on your gift list — or yourself! 

Brooklyn to Baghdad

Brooklyn to Baghdad

Special Forces soldiers, law enforcement, counterinsurgency — Christopher Strom's nonfiction novel has it all. The story follows a group codenamed "Phoenix Team" as it works to expose the corruption of both the Iraqi and US governments. Politics, war-fighting, intelligence all interwoven with humorous and emotional anecdotes that reveal the real heroes behind the operation. 

Be on the lookout for an edition of the VetStory where Connecting Vets's own Phil Briggs talks with Strom about Brooklyn to Baghdad. 

Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors

Portraits of Courage

Portraits of war veterans — painted by the commander in chief. Portraits of Courage is a collection of the paintings of former President George W. Bush. Each portrait includes the veteran’s story of resilience, determination, and recovery, which inspired President Bush to honor their sacrifice through art. The art explores veteran injuries—visible and invisible—through the perspective of a Commander in Chief who ordered them to war. 

Read more: Portraits in Courage: Bush paintings of veterans featured at DC's Kennedy Center

We Return Fighting

We Return Fighting

Published by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the book chronicles the participation of black service members in the 1900s and the challenges they faced upon coming back to the states.

“The country to which black soldiers returned after November 1918, ready to claim the rights to which their service entitled them, was little different from the one they had left. Indeed the summer of 1919 was wracked by antiblack riots across the nation, lynchings rose sharply; their victim’s black veterans,” said Lonnie G. Bunch, secretary of the Smithsonian in the book prologue.

Read more: How African Americans during World War I continued to fight for freedom at home

It Shouldn't Be This Hard to Serve Your Country


Former Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin continues to believe that veterans should receive their health care wherever their individual best outcomes can be achieved. He believes it so adamantly that he wrote a book about it. 

In “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard To Serve Your Country: Our Broken Government and the Plight of Veterans,” Shulkin describes how his efforts to privatize some parts of the VA health care system were derailed by a small group of unnamed and unelected officials appointed by the Trump White House. 

Read more: Former VA Secretary Shulkin sounds off on privatization and medical marijuana

All Secure

All Secure

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Tom Satterly served in America's most elite units and was battle-tested in combat against the enemies of our country. However, there was a price to be paid.

Satterly has emerged from the shadowy world of Special Operations and clandestine missions to take on a new mission: helping those afflicted with post-traumatic stress. For Satterly, the depression and pain were so much that he almost took his own life. His new book "All Secure: A Special Operations Soldier's Fight to Survive on the Battlefield and the Homefront" details his journey to war and back. It is a story he hopes will help and inspire others. 

Read more: Delta Force veteran authors new book about healing from post-traumatic stress



Ryan Leigh Dostie enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2000 looking for adventure and something different. But her pre-9/11 ideas about life in the military quickly changed and the rest of her life went with it. 

Nineteen years later, Dostie has published "Formations: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line" — the story of her post-9/11 Army experience, being part of the first occupying force in Iraq, and the military sexual assault that affected all of it.

Read more: Author Q&A: This woman veteran memoir isn't like any you've read before

Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law

Jack Murphy has been a Ranger, Sniper, Green Beret, investigative journalist, paramilitary podcaster and author. 

But in his latest book "Murphy's Law" he shares details about a character he rarely talks about- himself.  

Read more: Jack Murphy talks Murphy's Law, war crimes and deadly tech threats

You Are Worth It

You Are Worth It

Kyle Carpenter earned the Medal of Honor for his actions in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2010. His new book "You Are Worth It; Building a Life Worth Fighting For" takes us back to that fateful day, his long road to recovery, and why you are worth it.

Listen: He Jumped On A Grenade...and Lived! Kyle Carpenter, MoH Awardee

Nothing on this list catch your literary eye? Check out our summer books or our holiday list from last year: 

Here are all the hot new book releases for your veteran author summer reading list

10 enticing page-turners for the bookworm in your life

Disclaimer: This list includes a book written by Connecting Vets staff writer, Jack Murphy.

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