The Really Alternative U.S. Army Reading List

Everyone, even CNASistas, is making fun of new U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey’s 26 volume attempt at a “professional reading list“. This Committee, ever eager to jump on the newest, hippest trend out of the Pentagon, is as willing to dogpile on Gen. Dempsey’s list as anyone else.

Any list that includes one, let alone two, books by the Mustache of Understanding, is instantly marked “self-parody” in the Committee’s collective INBOX and deleted. After touching any field of human inquiry, the Mustache of Understanding leaves PowerPoint in his wake and calls it wisdom. The Mustache of Understanding’s works may be of interest to future historians looking back on our age. But that sort of interest will be the same sort of forensic interest that epidemiologists summon when examining smallpox under a microscope in a cleanroom.

In the spirit of fairness to the good general, the Committee here offers up its own twenty-six books for the aspiring strategic professional:

  1. The Illiad – Homer, translated by Robert Fagles
  2. The History of the Peloponnesian War – Thucydides, translated by Rex Warner
  3. The Anabasis of Cyrus – Xenophon, translated by Wayne Ambler (see roundtable on this book here)
  4. The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China – translated by Ralph Sawyer
  5. The Rise of the Roman Empire – Polybius, translated by Ian Scott-Kilvert
  6. The Sweetness of Power: Machiavelli’s Discourses & Guicciardini’s ConsiderationsNiccolo Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini, translated by James Atkinson and David Sices
  7. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America – David Hackett Fischer
  8. Treason by the Book – Jonathan Spence
  9. The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000 – William H. McNeill
  10. Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction – Michael Howard (Was the post-1976 Clausewitz the real Carl or a construct of Michael Howard and Peter Paret’s? Here there’s no ambiguity.)
  11. War and the World: Military Power and the Fate of Continents, 1450-2000– Jeremy Black
  12. Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 – Fred Anderson
  13. The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World: 1700-2000 – Niall Ferguson
  14. The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688-1783 – John Brewer
  15. God’s Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan – Jonathan D. Spence
  16. Democratic ideals and reality; a study in the politics of reconstruction – Halford J. Mackinder
  17. Propaganda – Edward Bernays (skip the introduction)
  18. The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham
  19. Cheating and Deception – J. Bowyer Bell and Barton Whaley
  20. Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought – Michael Handel
  21. Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton – Martin Van Creveld
  22. Strange Victory – Ernest May
  23. The Fourth World War: Diplomacy and Espionage in the Age of Terrorism –Count Alexandre de Marenches
  24. Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776 – Walter MacDougall
  25. The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy – Adam Tooze
  26. Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War – Eliot A. Cohen
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About Joseph Fouche

L. C. Rees carefully selected the nom de guerre "Joseph Fouche" to profoundly irritate unnaturally rampant pro-Buonopartist sentiment at Skyline High School, Millcreek, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. The Corsican Ogre once claimed that he would have remained "Emperor of the French" if he'd had two men shot: Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord and Joseph Fouche. SInce Rees bears no resemblance to a club-footed defrocked bishop, Joseph Fouche it was.

2 thoughts on “The Really Alternative U.S. Army Reading List

  1. Pingback: Reading List Bonananza–Or Not. | Fear, Honor, and Interest

  2. Hey There Joseph Fouche,
    This question may be a little off-topic First person to get the most right, gets the ten points!!! Whooo!

    1.) Anywhere you go, anyone you meet
    Remember that your eyes can be your enemies

    2.) I will never let you fall.
    I’ll stand up with you forever.

    3.) These wounds won’t seem to heal
    This pain is just too real
    There’s just too much that time cannot erase

    4.) a fragment of light
    at the end of the tunnel,
    a reason to fight

    5.) When I’m losing my control, the city spins around
    You’re the only one who knows, you slow it down

    6.) Walking like a one man army
    Fighting with the shadows in your head

    7.) The broken locks were a warning
    You got inside my head
    I tried my best to be guarded
    I’m an open book instead

    8.) Steady hands just take the wheel
    Every glance is killing me
    Time to make one last appeal for the life I lead

    9.)Picking up things we shouldn’t read
    Looks like the end of history as we know
    It’s just the end of the world

    Good Luck!
    Nice One!

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