August 25, 2011

The Alternative U.S. Army Professional Reading List

I have a tremendous amount of admiration for Gen. Marty Dempsey, but his professional reading list for the U.S. Army (.pdf) leaves a lot to be desired. As a service to the readership, I am offering my own professional reading list. I have kept the general categories used by Gen. Dempsey but have replaced the "leadership" category with one on civilian-military relations. My reading list is automatically superior to Gen. Dempsey's because mine does not include one of the worst novels ever written. I have denoted those books on which Gen. Dempsey and I agree with an asterisk. 

History and Heritage

The War for America, 1775-1783

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History


The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War*

The First World War

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa (YES, I KNOW HE WAS A MARINE)

This Kind of War*

Street Without Joy: The French Debacle In Indochina

Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age

Surprise, Security, and the American Experience

Civilian-Military Relations

The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations

Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime

The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War

Critical Analysis and the Global Context

On War*

(read alongside Michael Howard's Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction)

Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point*

The Culture of National Security

Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do And Why They Do It

Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

Arms and Influence