Lester D. Langley, Thomas Schoonover: The Banana MenMarvellous book about the American mercenaries in Central America, serving United Fruit and various dictators.
A little known chapter of Americas manifest destiny.
Jonathan Sumption: Trial by BattleThe first volume of Jonathan Sumption's monumental history of the Hundred Years War.
Jonathan Sumption: Divided HousesThe third volume of Jonathan Sumption's monumental history of the Hundred Years War.
Stephen D. Becker: The Chinese BanditA great thrilling novel about a swashbuckling adventurer in warlord China. Excellent reading stuff for holidays or better while traveling.
Frans G. Bengtsson: The Long ShipsDespite I'm no great fan of historical novels this is one of my favourite books. Maybe it's because of Bengtsson's dry-witted slightly ironic style, which reminds a little of the old Nordic sagas.
But Bengtsson isn't only an excellent writer, he knows also history very well and gives nearly a complete overview of the military exploits of the Viking world, where mercenary service played an important role. In the first part of the book some Vikings are captured by the Moors in Spain and are serving later in the bodyguard of the emir of Cordova, the great al Mansur. In the second part covers the so called "eastern way" to Byzantium where many Vikings served the Emperors in the Varangian guard.
Caleb Carr: The Devil SoldierA courageous leader who became the first American mandarin, Frederick Townsend Ward won crucial victories for the Emperor of China during the Taiping Rebellion, history's bloodiest civil war. Carr's skills as historian and storyteller come to the fore in this thrilling account of the kind of adventurer the world no longer sees.
John Le Carré: The Mission SongAbandoned by both his Irish father and Congolese mother, Bruno Salvador has long looked for someone to guide his life. He has found it in Mr. Anderson of British Intelligence.Bruno's African upbringing, and fluency in numerous African languages, has made him a top interpreter in London, useful to businesses, hospitals, diplomats-and spies. Working for Anderson in a clandestine facility known as the "Chat Room," Salvo (as he's known) translates intercepted phone calls, bugged recordings, snatched voice mail messages. When Anderson sends him to a mysterious island to interpret during a secret conference between Central African warlords.
Joseph Conrad: Heart of DarknessDark allegory describes the narrator's journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad's finest, most enigmatic story.
Joseph Conrad: Lord Jim
Peter Forbath: The Last Hero
Rudyard Kipling: The Man Who Would Be King
Elmore Leonard: Cuba libre
Jack London: South Sea Tales
Cormac McCarthy: Blood MeridianWithout any doubt Cormac McCarthy's nightmarish masterpiece counts among the greatest novels of the Twentieth Century.
McCarthy shows the brutal violence behind the conquest of the West, in regions where the thin border between civilization and atavistic rites disappears. But it's also a novel about the mercenaries and adventurers so typical for the so called Manifest Destiny. Many of the events are historical and based on the Glanton Gang, a band of outlaws and scalp-hunters, who killed Indians in the Mexican borderlands during the late 1840's in the pay of the Mexican goverment.
Therefore the novel tells a lot about all these small dirty wars which where so omnipresent in history.
One of the best books I read about warfare and the men who pursue this trade.
Douglas Porch: The French Foreign Legion
Arthur Conan Doyle: The White CompanyThe White Company is a historical adventure by Arthur Conan Doyle set during the Hundred Years' War. The story is set in England, France, and Spain, in the years 1366 and 1367, against the background of the campaign of Edward, the Black Prince to restore Peter of Castile to the throne of the Kingdom of Castile.
Despite the real persons who are mentioned all over the book, it's a bad romantic contruct, which has absolutely nothing to with the real events.
Probably one of Conan Doyle's worst books!!