Saturday, June 22, 2013

Military Affairs, Suggested Reading

General Military Grounding

There are several essential reads for professionals involved in military affairs:
Carl von Clausewitz, On War. The author uses a dialectical approach to understanding war without being prescriptive.
Michael Howard, War in European History. This book is excellent, as is anything by this author.
Elting Morison, Men, Machines, and Modern Times. The author discusses the limitations of emerging technologies-specifically, he argues that instead of taming our environment, technology has further complicated it.
Williamson Murray, The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States, and War. This book helps connect military action to strategy.
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War. The Greek historian shows that the drivers of war-fear, honor, self-interest-haven't changed over time.
Innovation and the world wars
Much has been written about World War I, World War II, and the interwar period-and about how these events changed the nature of war. The following are favorites:
Robert A. Doughty, The Breaking Point: Sedan and the Fall of France, 1940, and Pyrrhic Victory: French Strategy and Operations in the Great War
Memoirs and biographies
It is important to understand how leaders have adapted and thought about war and warfare across their careers. The Autobiography of General Ulysses S. Grant: Memoirs of the Civil War is perhaps the best war memoir ever written. The following are some other significant titles:
Carlo D'Este, Patton: A Genius for War
Selected histories of military campaigns
For selected histories of wars and military campaigns, the following are some of my favorites; I've also included recommendations on contemporary threats:
Ancient warfare
Donald Kagan, The Peloponnesian War
Seven Years' War
The American military profession and the American Revolution
David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing
Civil War
Franco-Prussian War
World War II
Rick Atkinson, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944; and the forthcoming The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945
Korean War
T. R. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War
Vietnam War
Contemporary threats to international security

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