Top 100 List Introduction It has been more than four years since this reading guide was last updated. Those familiar with earlier versions of “The Officer’s Professional Reading Guide” will notice that this one is much abridged. Many officers found the earlier list, which at its peak numbered well over 300 books and topped 80 pages in length, difficult to use. In revising this guide, it was our intent to create a concise list that would provide officers with the best one or two books on a given subject rather than an exhaustive bibliography. Those leading books would then serve as gateways to that subject.
With that in mind, this “Top 100 List” is broken down into six sub-categories: The Military Classics; Military Institutions and the Nature and Practice of War; The Face of Battle; History of American Wars; A History of Wars and Warfare; and finally Literary Works on War and Warfare. Some of these sub-lists represent true top ten or fifteen lists. Others list the top one or two books on a particular subject or period. The reader should think of these lists as introductions to various subjects of historical and professional study. For those interested in more comprehensive bibliographies on specific military subjects, I direct you to the bibliographies from the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History posted on the Department of History’s website.
It is hoped that this guide will continue to serve the dual purposes of encouraging officers to persist in their professional education and in providing a resource for those in the field to consult when developing their own reading programs. Of course, the study of history will not provide us with a blueprint for the future. Whatever good may be made of this reading guide should be attributed to the input furnished by Professor Waddell, Colonel Greg Daddis, and the other faculty of the Department of History.
JOHN M. STAPLETON, JR
The Top Ten Military Classics Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. 1832. Ed. and trans. by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Indexed ed. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1984.
Corbett, Julian Stafford. Some Principles of Maritime Strategy. Reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1976 (originally published by Conway Press Ltd., 1911; 1st Reprint by U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1972).
Delbruck, Hans. History of the Art of War Within the Framework of Political History. Original German edition, 4 vols, 1900-1920. Vols. 1-4 trans. by Colonel Walter J. Renfroe, Jr. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1975-82.
Douhet, Giulio. The Command of the Air. 1921. USAF Warrior Studies. Richard Kohn and Joseph P. Harahan, eds. Trans. by Dino Ferrari. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983, paperback, (Ayer Company published an edition in 1972 which was a reprint of the 1942 edition originally translated by Dino Ferrari).
Du Picq, Ardant. Battle Studies. In Roots of Strategy, Book 2, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books, 1987, paperback (previously published by The Military Service Publishing Co., 1946, and by the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, as part of the “Art of War,” colloquium, undated).
Jomini, Antoine Henri. The Art of War. 1838. Trans.by G.H. Mendell and W.P. Craighill. Reprint, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1971.
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Art of War. 1521. Trans. by Ellis Farneworth. Revised with an introduction by Neal Wood. New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 1965, 1990 repr.
Mahan, Alfred Thayer. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783. 1890. Reprint, New York: Hill and Wang, 1957. Paperback, New York: Dover Books, 1987.
Sun Tzu. The Art of War. 4th century B.C. Trans. with an introduction by Samuel B. Griffith. New York: Oxford University Press, 1963 (also available in Roots of Strategy, R.H. Phillips, ed., Stackpole, 1987, paperback).
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. Revised Edition. Trans. by Edward Crawley. New York: Modern Library, 1982.
Military Institutions and the Nature and Practice of War Asprey, David. War in the Shadows: the Guerilla in History. 2 Vols. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1975. Brodie, Bernard. War and Politics. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1973, paperback.
Creveld, Martin van. Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2004.
Galula, David. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. New York: Praeger, 2006.
Howard, Michael. Causes of War. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1983.
Huntington, Samuel. The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations. Reprint, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1981, paperback (originally published by Random House, 1957).
Janowitz, Morris. The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait. New York: Free Press, 1971.
Liddell-Hart, B. H. Strategy. New York: NAL Penguin, Inc., 1974, paperback (originally published by Praeger in 1954, revised in 1967).
Mao Tse-tung. On Guerrilla Warfare. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2000 ed.
McNeill, William H. The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1982.
Moten, Matthew, ed. Between War and Peace: How America Ends its Wars. New York: The Free Press, 2011.
Paret, Peter, Gordon A. Craig, and Felix Gilbert. Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.
Rogers, Clifford J. The Military Revolution Debate: Readings on the Military Transformation of Early Modern Europe. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995.
Weigley, Russell F. The American Way of War: A History of United States Military Strategy and Policy. Macmillan series The Wars of the United States, Gen. ed. Louis Morton. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1977, paperback.
The Face of Battle: First Person Accounts, Memoirs and the Experience of War Bellavia, David. House to House: An Epic Memoir of War. New York: The Free Press, 2007.
Bowden, Scott. Blackhawk Down: A Story of Modern War. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1999.
Donovan, David. Once a Warrior King: Memories of an Officer in Vietnam. New York: Ballantine Books, 1986.
Fick, Nathaniel. One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer. New York: Mariner Books, 2006.
Gavin, James M. On to Berlin: Battles of an Airborne Commander 1943-46. New York: Viking Press, 1978.
Grant, Ulysses S. Personal memoirs of U.S. Grant, edited with notes by E. B. Long. New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 1982.
Herrington, Stuart A. Stalking the Vietcong — Inside Operation Phoenix: A Personal Account. New York: Ballantine Books,
Johns, Glover S, Jr. The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo. Mechanichsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002 ed.
Jünger, Ernst, trans. by Michael Hoffman. Storm of Steel. Penguin Classics, 2004.
Junger, Sebastien. War. New York: Twelve, 2011.
Kindsvatter, Peter S. American Soldiers: Ground Combat in the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2003.
Keegan, John. The Face of Battle. Reprint, New York: Penguin Books, 1985, paperback (originally published by Viking Press, 1976 and by Vintage Books, 1977).
Linderman, Gerald F. Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War. New York: The Free Press, 1987, paperback, 1989.
Marshall, S.L.A. Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command in Future War. Reprint, Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1978 (originally published by The Infantry Journal Press, 1947).
Moore, LTG (Ret.) Harold G. and Galloway, Joseph L. We Were Soldiers Once...and Young. Ia Drang: The Battle That Changed the War In Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1992. Reprint, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993, paperback.
Sajer, Guy. The Forgotten Soldier. Trans. by Lily London: Sphere Books Limited, 1977, paperback (published originally in France by Robert Laffront in 1967 as Le Soldat Oublié and in the U.S. by Harper & Row, 1971).
Sledge, E.B. With the Old Breed:At Peleliu and Okinawa. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1981. Reprint, New York, NY: Presidio Press, 2007 ed.
Slim, William. Defeat Into Victory: Battling Japan in Burma and India, 1942-1945. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2000.
Wilson, George D. If You Survive. New York: Random House, 1987.
The History of American Wars Colonial North America
Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York, NY: Random House, 2000.
War for American Independence
Fischer, David Hackett. Washington’s Crossing. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Higginbotham, Don. The War for American Independence: Military Attitudes, Policies, and Practice, 1763-1789. Macmillan series, The Wars of the United States, Gen. ed. Louis Morton. New York: Macmillan, 1971.
War of 1812
Hickey, Don R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
Bauer, Karl Jack. The Mexican War, 1846-1848. Macmillan Series, The Wars of the United States, Gen. ed. Louis Morton. New York: Macmillan, 1974.
American Civil War
Grimsley, Mark. The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
McPherson, James. Battle Cry of Freedom: the Civil War Era. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Royster, Charles. The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.
Warfare on the Frontier
Utley, Robert M. Frontiersmen in Blue: The United States Army and the Indian, 1848-1865 and Frontier Regulars: The U.S. Army and the Indian, 1866-1890. Macmillian Series, The Wars of the United States, Gen ed. Louis Morton. Reprint, Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1981 and 1984 (originally published by Macmillan, 1974 and 1973, respectively).
Trask, David F. The War With Spain in 1898. Macmillan Series, The Wars of the United States, Gen. ed. Louis Morton. New York: Macmillan, 1981.
Linn, Brian McAllister. The Philippine War, 1899-1902. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2000.
First World War
Coffman, Edward M. The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I. Reprint, Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986 (originally published by Oxford University Press, 1968).
Second World War
Doubler, Michael D. Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1994.
Spector, Ronald H. Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan. Macmillan series, The Wars of the United States, Gen. ed. Louis Morton. New York: Free Press, 1985.
Weigley, Russell F. Eisenhower's Lieutenants: The Campaign of France and Germany 1944-1945. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981.
Ridgway, Matthew B. The Korean War. Cambridge, MA: De Capo Press, 1986 ed.
Elliott, David W.P. The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta, 1930-1975. New York, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2002.
Herring, George C. America’s Longest War: The Unites States and Vietnam, 1950-1975, 4th Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing, 2001.
Hess, Gary R. Vietnam: Explaining America’s Lost War. New York, NY: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.
Cold War and its Aftermath
Bolger, Daniel P. Americans at War, 1975-1986: An Era of Violent Peace. San Francisco: Presidio Press, 1988.
Gaddis, John Lewis. Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy During the Cold War. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Scales, Brigadier General Robert H., Jr. Certain Victory: The US Army in the Gulf War. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, Office of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, 1993.
War on Terror
Cloud, David, and Greg Jaffe. The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army. New York, NY: Crown Publishers, 2009.
Wars and Warfare From the Ancients through the 21st Century Pre-Modern Warfare to 1500
Hanson, Victor Davis. The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.
Verbruggen, J. F. The Art of Warfare in Western Europe during the Middle Ages: From the Eighth Century to 1340. Translated by Sumner Willard and Mrs. R.W. Southern. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 1997 (2nd ed., rev. and enl.).
Early Modern Warfare, 1500-1650
Hale, J. R. War and Society in Renaissance Europe, 1450-1620. 2nd ed. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1998.
Parker, Geoffrey. The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road, 1567-1659: The Logistics of Spanish Victory and Defeat in the Low Countries' Wars. Cambridge, England: University Press, 1972.
The Age of “Limited” Warfare, 1650-1788
Duffy, Christopher. The Military Experience in the Age of Reason. New York, NY: Atheneum, 1988.
Ostwald, Jamel. Vauban under Siege: Engineering Efficiency and Martial Vigor in the War of the Spanish Succession. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, NV, 2007.
Showalter, Dennis E. The Wars of Frederick the Great. London: Longman Group, Ltd., 1996.
Warfare in the Age of Napoleon, 1789-1815
Chandler, David G. The Campaigns of Napoleon. New York: Macmillan, 1973.
Esdaile, Charles. Napoleon’s Wars: An International History, 1803-1815. New York, NY: Viking Press, 2007.
Rothenberg, Gunther E. The Art of War in the Age of Napoleon. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1978, paperback.
Nineteenth Century Warfare, 1815-1914
Howard, Michael. The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871. New York: Methuene, Inc. 1981, paperback (originally published by Macmillan, 1961).
Pakenham, Thomas. The Boer War. New York: Random House, 1979.
Wawro, Geoffrey. The Austro-Prussian War: Austria’ War with Prussia and Italy in 1866. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Warfare an Era of Global Conflict, 1914-1945
Murray, Williamson and Allan R. Millett. A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2000.
Overy, Richard. Why the Allies Won. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company, 1996.
Strachan, Hew. The First World War. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2005.
Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World At Arms: A Global History of World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
The Conflicts of the Latter 20th Century and beyond, 1946-Present
Hiro, Dilip. The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict. Routledge, 1991.
Fall, Bernard B. Street Without Joy. Reprint, New York: Schocken, 1972, paperback (originally published by Stackpole, 1964).
Filkins, Dexter. The Forever War. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Lester W. Grau and Mohammed Y. Narwoz, The Soviet War in Afghanistan: History and Harbinger of Future War. Ft. Leavenworth, KS: Foreign Military Studies Office, 1995.
Horne, Alistair. A Savage War of Peace. New York: Penguin Books, 1986, paperback (originally published by Viking Press, 1978).
Millett, Alan R. The War For Korea (3 Vols.). Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2005-10.
Oren, Michael. Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Presidio Press, 2003.
Top Ten Literary Works on Military Institutions, War, and Combat: Crane, Stephen. Red Badge of Courage. New York: Avon, 1987, paperback.
Forester, C.S. The General. Annapolis, MD: Nautical and Aviation Publishing Co, 1936, 1947. Reprinted in 1982.
Heller, Joseph. Catch 22. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1961. Reprint, 1996.
Larteguy, Jean. The Centurions. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1961.
Marlantes, Karl. Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War. Atlantic Monthly Press, 2010.
Myrer, Anton. Once an Eagle. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1968. Reprint, Laguna Beach, CA: Buccaneer Books, 1991.
O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.
Remarque, Erich M. All Quiet on the Western Front. Reprint, New York: Fawcett Crest, 1984.
Shaara, Michael. The Killer Angels. New York: Ballantine, 1987.
Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. Trans. Anthony Briggs. New York, NY: Viking, 2006 ed.