I love reading about Special Operations history. It’s amazing what information can be found in published sources if you’re prepared to dig around. There’s a whole hidden history that can only be compiled by doing some deep research and really looking for sources.

Thankfully, some former operators penned books that are well worth tracking down. Here are four of my favorites that aren’t necessarily promoted in mainstream media but are well worth your time.

One Green Beret: Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Beyond by Mark Giaconia

I was fortunate to interview Giaconia for SOFREP Radio before reading his book. I was expecting some stories about how he supported the Kurds, calling in some airstrikes and such during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. However, Mark’s experiences go far beyond that.

He participated in Operation Viking Hammer: a CIA led mission to shore up what would be the coalitions rear areas prior to the invasion. To my surprise, Giaconia was also involved in what is probably the only joint U.S. Special Forces/Russian Spetsnaz mission in history.

Recce: Small Team Missions Behind Enemy Lines by Koos Stadler

The South African Recces performed some of the most audacious missions in Special Operations history that you’ve never heard of. This is largely due to political reasons. Although Recce teams combined white and black operators, the South African Defence Force served South Africa’s (then) apartheid regime.

Nonetheless, this is a history worth exploring, and Stadler wrote an amazing first-hand account of his time in this unit, including experiences with long range small team Recce patrols.