The holidays can be stressful as you try to complete Christmas shopping for friends and family in-between work hours.  That’s why NEWSREP put together a quick gift guide which should prove applicable for the man in your life, the veteran, the outdoorsman, or really anyone else who enjoys reading, travel, adventure, and even a few more mundane hobbies from home.

As usual, we have plenty of books to recommend this year.  First up is JT Patten’s new Task Force Orange novel, “Buried in Black.”  NEWSREP Editor-in-Chief Jack Murphy recently interviewed the author for SOFREP Radio and wrote the following review of the book:

Buried in Black is a military and espionage thriller that will knock the socks off even the most jaded fans of this genre.  JT Patten writes about the blurred lines in modern counter-terrorism operations from gray areas to black areas.  I really feel that many books in this genre get lazy and rely on tropes and flag waving, but Buried in Black is the book about what comes after all of that.  Where does the hero go after those tropes wear thin, after they’ve seen behind the curtain one too many times?  I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in covert operations as well as those wondering how the United States can improve its security posture.

Another author recently interviewed on SOFREP Radio was retired Navy SEAL Clint Emerson, the author of the Deadly Skills Puzzle and Activity book, which follows up on Clint’s highly popular One Hundred Deadly Skills series.  The new books focuses on exercising some of those brain muscles that may have atrophied a bit.  Clint worked with a professional puzzle maker (not easy to find these days) to produce the various exercises in the book which include old favorites like crossword but also entirely new original puzzles that were invented for the book.

Former Ranger Luke Ryan debuted his first novel this year, titled The First Marauder, about a survivor in post-apocalyptic Florida who joins a militia simply to survive, with the militia soon skirmishing with a rival town next door over resources.  It is a story that Ryan is uniquely qualified to write about as a veteran of the 75th Ranger Regiment as well as being someone who spent a large portion of his childhood growing up in austere parts of the world.

The Perception Wars, penned by NEWSREP’s Alex Hollings, tackles one of the most important and controversial issues of our time.  “The barriers that once existed between formal government narratives and individual citizens of foreign nations have gone in favor of a widely connected but often ideologically isolated populous. As Americans grow more divided, foreign influence efforts are better suited than ever to cater to the individual by way of persuasion masked in confirmation bias,” Hollings writes.  The Perception Wars warns us that decisions are based on perceptions, and those who influence perception stand to become the puppet masters of a digitized world.

Your last minute Christmas gift guide for men

Another former SOFREP Radio guest, journalist, and terrific author, Ed Darack has a new book coming out.  While his previous work focused on Operation Red Wings and the Extortion 17 crash, “War Moments” is a photography book in which Darack chose his best work from Afghanistan and Iraq to publish and tell the back story of each.  The book is due out mid-January so place a pre-order now and ensure you get the book as soon as it is released in 2019.

On that note, we would be remiss not to mention that NEWSREP Editor-in-Chief Jack Murphy also has an upcoming memoir due out in 2019 that is now available for pre-order.

Last but not least for our book list is SECDEF-approved reading material in the form of Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations.”  James Mattis says that this is the book that every American needs to read, and even carried a copy himself on combat deployments.  Reflecting on the words of the late Roman emperor may be more relevant now than ever, as you will find quotes in it such as, “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.  Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth,” and, “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

On the lighter side, several people on the NEWSREP staff wanted to make a few toy recommendations for the kids… or adults that still like to play.

As a big aerospace buff, Alex Hollings says the only thing he really wants for Christmas is the Lego Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V 21309 kit.  This thing stands at nearly a meter tall and comes with the lunar module and lunar lander.

Several of us also enjoy a good round of the Special Operations tactical war game called Spectre.  Players sit around a table and form squad sized elements of miniatures which then square off against each other, or another person who plays the OPFOR.  Mission types are basically only limited by the imagination, as we recently played a game that involved an ambush, high value target snatch and grab, and then recovery of a WMD.  The game can be bought from the publisher’s website at Spectre Miniatures.

When it is time to get active, several members of the Hurricane Media staff use Bub’s Naturals, an unflavored protein powder that is head and shoulders above others in the crowded health and fitness market.  A portion of the proceeds also go to benefit the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation.

One sure-fire way to make someone happy this Christmas is with a subscription to the Crate Club.  Designed for the active man, it includes:

Only the best tactical and survival gear, hand-picked by Special Operations Professionals (Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, Rangers, USAF & USMC Special Ops).  Mission ready equipment for your everyday urban life. Only gear we would actually use ourselves, including custom products only available to members, makes it into our Crates ensuring you have the best gear on the planet.  Plus, as a member you can shop our members only store, attend special member events, and access our gear tutorials, and survival library on the custom Crate Club app.

Subscriptions to the Crate Club can be purchased today, and the first crate will ship to you or the recipient you choose immediately.