VMF Film-Book Recommendations October 2022

Film recommendations

The Courier, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze, tells the true story of a British businessman who is recruited to pass information to an agent of the Soviet Union, in an attempt to prevent nuclear war. 2020, PG-13. Available on Amazon.

Thirteen Days, starring Kevin Costner, is based on Robert F. Kennedy’s book Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It provides an inside look at the Kennedy Administration during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. 2001, PG-13. Available on Amazon.


Book recommendation

Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Fifty years ago the USA and the USSR were on the brink of nuclear war. Robert F. Kennedy, US Attorney General at the time, describes meetings in the White House after missiles were discovered in Cuba by a U-2 spy plane. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, publisher: W. W. Norton, 1969. Wherever books are sold.

VMF Film-Book September 2022

Film recommendations

The Constitution Doesn't Say That!

The Original Intent of the Constitution | Myths of American History

The Constitution Project Series

The Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism: Crash Course US History #8




Book recommendation


This look at the Constitution will help you better understand the most important United States document. You will gain a firmer understanding of how the government works and put context around today's most pressing issues.

VMF Film-Book August 2022

Film recommendations

Wolf Hound is about a WWII German operation to repair and refurbish fallen Allied aircraft to conduct stealth combat against Allied targets. Link to the trailer. Available in Digital format or to rent on demand—Blu-ray and DVD.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), classic political comedy-drama film directed by Frank Capra, starring Jean Arthur   and  James Stewart, won the Academy Award for Best Original Story and was nominated for a total of eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.

“The story of one man who believed he could make a difference, and stood up to the entire United State government. A great story about how the American rule of law works and how one man can bring change to the course of human events.” Free on Internet Archive

Best military movies



Book recommendation

Nelson DeMill \

Nelson DeMille’s novel, The Charm School, will keep you wondering. What happened to the young American and the Trans Am he was driving across Russia, where are the Vietnam POWs and MIAs, is this possible? Add the CIA, KGB, and a love story, and you have a great Cold War summer read.

VMF Film-Book July 2022

Film recommendations

Lincoln: The 2012 film about the 16th president, directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Daniel Day-Lewis, who won an Academy Award for his performance. Available on Amazon. PG-13

Born On The Fourth of July: This film is based on the true story of Ron Kovic, a Marine who became paralyzed during his second tour in Vietnam. Kovic became an impassioned critic of the war and is still politically active. Available on Amazon. 1990, Rated R



Book recommendation


Have you been asking yourself the vitally important, and disturbing, questions: Can American democracy, as we know it today, ever work again? And, if it can, what needs to happen to assure that it can?

This shocking, candid, personal account of the 2020 election, the pandemic, the Insurrection and the first year of the Biden presidency by two NY Times reporters exposes the deep volcanic forces within both parties. It reads like a novel with stunning, in-the-room detail. The authors break news on most every page, drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before-seen documents and recordings. Biden & Harris, Trump, Pelosi, Schumer, the Progressive Caucus, Manchin, Sinema, McCarthy, McConnell---each is covered in depth with provocative insights. Highly recommended!

Film and Book Recommendations

VMF Film- Book June 2022

Film recommendations

VIETNAM: West Virginians Remember Per capita, West Virginians served the most and died the most in Vietnam. These young men spent their young lives hunting and tracking - skills that were prized in this jungle war. Dave Evans, the late husband of Kee Evans, our VMF Caucus Acting Chair, is one of 5 Vietnam veterans who tell their stories in this film. Here 

Greyhound: Tom Hanks stars in a sequel to the WWII movie. He also is the executive producer of an upcoming American war drama miniseries “Masters of the Air''. Here and here. (Apple TV+)



Book recommendations

When I finished reading Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, I was amazed. As the subtitle “The epic story of America’s Great Migration” suggests, this is an epic book in every sense of the word. Describing the Great Migration in personal, vivid detail, it is well-researched, a gripping story describing the journeys and the families of three Black Americans. The book often reads like a novel. 

Film reccomendations

Are you interested in streaming documentaries to gain a deeper understanding of the history of the former Soviet Union and its republics? Here are our tips:

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom This documentary is the story of Ukraine’s fight for freedom from the frontlines of the 2014 uprising, which started as peaceful student demonstrations and after 93 days became a violent revolution with the corrupt president ousted. A visceral feel for who Ukrainians are up against and their indomitable spirit. (Netflix)

 Crimea, As It Was This documentary focuses on the highest human values: honor, loyalty to oath and courage as the Russian forces were moving into Crimea in 2014. This 2016 documentary shows the methods Russia used to occupy territories of independent states while focusing on the soldiers and seamen who stayed true to their oath to the citizens of Ukraine. (UkrStream.tv)

 The Guide This grim but gorgeously shot Ukrainian drama is set during 1932 and 1933 when millions of Ukrainians were killed during a man-made famine engineered by the Soviet government of Joseph Stalin. It follows an American boy who, after witnessing his father’s assassination, travels the Ukrainian countryside with a blind itinerant bard. (EasternEuropeanMovies.com)

Atlantis Science fiction doesn’t get more prescient than this drama, which imagines Ukraine in 2025 as a frozen wasteland littered with corpses and battered machines. Just when it appears things can’t get bleaker for a PTSD-scarred soldier who is trucking precious potable water, hope arrives. ($5 on demand)

 Ukrainer: The Movie An impressionistic portrait of Ukraine finds the spirit of the country in a lighthouse keeper, a honey farmer, and other unique citizens of a beautiful land. (YouTube)

Chernobyl (2019) This acclaimed 2019 miniseries excels at conveying the dread that spread after a 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. (HBO Max)

Greyhound Tom Hanks will star in a sequel to the World War II movie "Greyhound" (Apple TV+)




Sunday Times bestseller | A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Named a best book of the year by The Economist Financial Times | New Statesman | The Telegraph

"[Putin's People] will surely now become the definitive account
of the rise of Putin and Putinism."
―Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic

"This riveting, immaculately researched book is arguably the best
single volume written about Putin, the people around him
and perhaps even about contemporary Russia itself in the past three decades."
―Peter Frankopan, Financial Times

April Books and Movies

12 Military Movies To See in 2022

Article 99: (1992) This movie is pure magnificence. It is an American comedy-drama film that stars Kiefer Sutherland, Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker, John C. McGinley, Rutanya Alda and Lea Thompson. The film's title supposedly refers to a legal loophole, which states that unless an illness/injury is related to military service, a veteran is not eligible for VA hospital benefits.It's about an old-timer vet who's a farmer nowadays, but has to have a surgical heart procedure, so he goes for the first time to his local VA health clinic. As I'm sure you can imagine, what he's expecting vs. the reality of what he gets is just downright glorious.

Medal of Honor:  (2021) Here is a new series on Netflix that looks quite good. Honoring service members whose courage merited the awarding of a Medal of Honor, this docudrama series re-creates their inspiring true stories. Here

Taxi Driver (1976) This unsettling, unforgettable snapshot of urban decay and toxic masculinity from Martin Scorsese hauntingly captured the rotting core of post-Watergate American society when it was released, and it has remained nestled in our collective unconscious ever since. Robert De Niro crafted one of his most indelible performances as Travis Bickle, the haunted Vietnam vet who drives New York City at night like a coiled snake ready to strike. One critic said, “One of the most compelling portraits of a lunatic personality ever seen on film.”

Don’t Look Up! (On Netflix) Here ​​Director Adam McKay's latest outing is a biting satire with its crosshairs clearly aimed at politicians and the larger society who are apathetic of the looming climate crisis facing the world. Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo Di Caprio star as a pair of scientists who discover a rogue comet, headed towards the Earth, triggering what they estimate to be an extinction level event. The comet and the crisis surrounding it are used as an effective metaphor by McKay to critique everything from modern society’s obsession with pop culture, how technology controls us rather than the other way around and also takes aim even at media and news channels and how they sensationalize even the most trivial of stories. By the end of the movie, you as a viewer are left wondering if this is the true state of affairs in the country regarded as the leading light of the Western World. 

Death to 2021 Here is a 2021 mockumentary produced by Netflix. A sequel to Death to 2020, the special features a series of fictional characters discussing US news in 2021, including the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine misinformation and Big Tech.

Apocalypse Now (1979) Francis Ford Coppola’s loose, Vietnam-era adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is so singular and powerful — an awe-inspiring fusion of ’60s psychedelic film, ’70s genre reimagining and classic wide-screen epic, that its ambition is even more striking in this extended “Redux” cut from 2001. One critic called it “a stunning work.”

Da 5 Bloods (2020) Spike Lee’s latest is a genre-hopping combination of war movie, protest film, political thriller, character drama and graduate-level history course in which four African-American Vietnam vets go back to the jungle to dig up the remains of a fallen compatriot — and, while they’re at it, a forgotten cache of stolen war gold. In other hands, it could’ve been a conventional back-to-Nam picture or “Rambo”-style action/adventure (and those elements, to be clear, are thrilling). But Lee goes deeper, packing the film with historical references and subtext, explicitly drawing lines from the civil rights struggle of the period to the protests of our moment. 

Book Recommendations

In this searing memoir, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells the story of the forty-five days at the start of 2021 that permanently changed his life—and his family’s—as he confronted the painful loss of his son to suicide, lived through the violent insurrection in our nation’s Capitol, and led the impeachment effort to hold President Trump accountable for inciting the political violence. 

On December 31, 2020, Tommy Raskin, the only son of Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, tragically took his own life after a long struggle with depression. Seven days later on January 6, Congressman Raskin returned to Congress to help certify the 2020 Presidential election results, when violent insurrectionists led by right wing extremist groups stormed the U.S. Capitol hoping to hand four more years of power to President Donald Trump. As our reeling nation mourned the deaths of numerous people and lamented the injuries of more than 140 police officers hurt in the attack, Congressman Raskin, a Constitutional law professor, was called upon to put aside his overwhelming grief—both personal and professional—and lead the impeachment effort against President Trump for inciting the violence. Together this nine-member team of House impeachment managers riveted a nation still in anguish, putting on an unprecedented Senate trial that produced the most bipartisan Presidential impeachment vote in American history. 

Through it all, Raskin reckons with the loss of his brilliant, remarkable son, a Harvard Law student whose values and memory continually inspired the Congressman to confront the dark impulses unleashed by Donald Trump. At turns, a moving story of a father coping with his pain and a revealing examination of holding President Trump accountable for the violence he fomented, this book is a vital reminder of the ongoing struggle for the soul of American democracy and the perseverance that our Constitution demands from us all.