USMSA Reading List

On Reading, brought to you by Doctrine Man

“In military life, reading lists are as common as Reveille in the early morning hours. These reading lists often shape our view of the Profession, providing rare insight into the minds of our most senior leaders. Or at least that’s what we like to think.  Only recently, we saw a fairly pointed debate over one such list, which inevitably evolved into a veritable “bookshelf measuring contest” over the best written works to include on a professional reading list. One pundit was shocked that anyone of intellect would waste their time with “Once an Eagle” while another was equally horrified that the list didn’t include works as seminal as Clausewitz (who is dead, by the way) and Sun Tzu (who we don’t even know for sure ever lived)…”


To prove the anti-hero right about reading lists…here’s ours:


Anderson, Fred, Crucible of War: The Seven Year’s War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766

Barnett, Thomas P., The Pentagon’s New Map

Bassett, James, In Harm’s Way

Beinhocker, Eric D., Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics

Boot,Max,  The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power

Brodie, Bernard, War and Politics

von Clausewitz, Carl, On War

Cohen,Eliot, Supreme Command

Corbett, Julian S., Some Principles of Maritime Strategy

Coram, Robert, John Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

Covey, Stephen M. R., The Speed of Trust

Diamond, Jared, Guns, Germs and Steel

Dixit, Avinash K., The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life

Dorner,Dietrich, The Logic of Failure

Fall, Bernard, The Street Without Joy, Hell in a Very Small Place

Ferguson, Niall, The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West

Fischer, David Hackett, Historians’ Fallacies

Friedman, George, The Next 100 Years

Fuller, J.F.C., The Generalship Of Ulysses S. Grant

Gaddis,John Lewis, The Landscape of History, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy

Gole, Henry G., The Road to Rainbow: Army Planning for Global War, 1934-1940

Gray, Colin, War, Peace, and International Relations:  An Introduction to Strategic History, Modern Strategy, Fighting Talk, Another Bloody Century, The Strategy Bridge

Greene, Robert, The 33 Strategies of War

Hall, John W., Uncommon Defense: Indian Allies in the Black Hawk War

Hammes. T. X., The Sling and the Stone: War in the Twenty-First Century

Handel, Michael, Masters of War:  Classical Strategy Thought

Herspring, Dale, The Pentagon and the Presidency: Civil-Military Relations from FDR to George W. Bush

Heuser, Beatrice, The Evolution of Strategy

Hopkirk, Peter, The Great Game

Howard, Michael, War and the Liberal Conscience

Iklé, Fred, Every War Must End

Julien,François, A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Western and Chinese Thinking

Kaplan, Robert, Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, The Execution Premium, Linking Strategy to Operation for Competitive Advantage

Kershaw, Ian, Fateful Choices: The Decisions that changes the World, 1940-1941

Kirkpatrick,Charles E., An Unknown Future and a Doubtful Present: Writing the Victory Plan of 1941

Kissinger, Henry, Diplomacy

Krepinevich, Andrew G., 7 Deadly Scenarios: A Military Futurist Explores War in the 21st Century

Latham, Michael E., Modernization as Ideology:  American Social Science and “Nation Building” in the Kennedy Era

Lewis, Michael, Moneyball

Liang,Qiao and Wang Xiangsui, Unrestricted Warfare

Liddell Hart, B.H., Strategy: Indirect Approach, Strategy, The German Generals Talk

Luttwak, Edward, The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace

Lykke, Arthur, Towards a Theory of Strategy

Machiavelli, Niccolo, The Art of War

von Manstein, Erich, Lost Victories

McDougall, Walter, Promised Land, Crusader State

McIvor, Anthony, Rethinking the Principles of War

McMaster, H.R., Dereliction of Duty

Mead, Walter Russell, Special Providence

Murphy,Robert, Diplomat Among Warriors

Murray, Williamson, The Making of Peace, The Past As Prologue:  The Importance of History To The Military Profession, War, Strategy, and Military Effectiveness

Neustadt, Richard E., Thinking in Time

Nye, Joseph S. Jr., Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation: An Introduction to Theory and History (8th Edition)

Omang, Joanne, Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare

Paret, Peter, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy

Pearlman, Michael D., Warmaking and American Democracy: The Struggle over Military Strategy, 1700 to the Present

Perkins, John, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Pietersen, Willie, Strategic Learning

Porter, Michael, Competitive Strategy

Posen, Barry, The Sources of Military Doctrine

Ramo, Joshua Cooper, The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Order Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It

Robb, John, Brave New World, Global Guerrilla

Rumelt, Richard, Good Strategy / Bad Strategy

Senge, Peter M., The Fifth Discipline

Simpkin, Richard E., Deep Battle

Singer, P.W., Wired for War: The  Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century

Smith, Rupert, The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World

South, James B., Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems

Stoler, Mark, Allies and Adversaries

Strassler, Robert B, ed., The Landmark Thucydides: A comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War

Summers, Harry G. Jr., On Strategy: The Vietnam War in Context

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Svechin, Aleksandr A., Strategy

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, On Justice, Power, and Human Nature: The Essence of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War

Turchin, Peter, War, Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires

Ucko, David H., New Counterinsurgency Era

Various Roots Of Military Strategy series (Vol 1, 2, 3, 4)

Waldrop, M. Mitchell, Complexity: The emerging Science at the edge of order and chaos

Warden, John A. III, The Air Campaign

Weigley, Russell F., The American Way of War: A History of U.S. Military Strategy Policy

Wedemyer,Albert C., Wedemyer Reports

Wylie, J.C., Strategy

Willoughby,Charles, Maneuver in War

Wilson, Joseph, Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies do and Why they do it

Yarger, Harry R., Strategic Theory for the 21st Century: The Little Book on Big Strategy


Asimov, Isaac, Foundation, The Feeling of Power

Heller, Joseph, Catch-22

Pressfield, Steven, Gates of Fire, Tides of War, The Afghan Campaign

Shaara, Michael, The Killer Angels

Sienkiewicz, Henryk, With Fire and Sword, The Deluge, Fire in the Steppe

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