Much has been made of the reading lists promoted by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and JCS Chairman General Mark Milley over the perceived woke and communism-promoting contents of their lists. Few, however, have offered their alternative lists. Herewith, the core (not the totality) of mine. It’s not segregated into suitability for junior, field grade, and flag officers; this is for all.
- Our Declaration of Independence
- Our Constitution
- Your Officer’s Commission as promulgated by the Secretary of [the Air Force in my case]
- Your Oath of Office
These should be reviewed frequently.
Then, in no particular order:
- The Federalist Papers
- The Anti-Federalist Papers
- Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II, Sean McMeekin
- The Art of War, Sun Tzu
- Art of War, Niccolò Machiavelli
- The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
- Discourses, Niccolo Machiavelli
- On War, Carl von Clausewitz
- Hamlet, William Shakespeare
- King Lear, William Shakespeare
- The Republic and the Laws, Cicero
- Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
- The Republic, Plato
- The Allegory of the Cave, Plato
- The Persians, Aeschylus
- The Seven against Thebes, Aeschylus
- Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle
- Republic, Aristotle
- Apologia, Socrates
- The Hundred-Year Marathon, Michael Pillsbury
- Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky
- Just War Against Terror, Jean Bethke Elshtain
- Just War Theory, Jean Bethke Elshtain, ed.
- Just and Unjust Wars, Michael Walzer
- Rethinking the Just War Tradition, Michael Brough, John Lango, Henry van der Linden, eds.
- The Art of War, Antoine-Henri, Baron Jomini
- Unrestricted Warfare, Colonel Qiao Liang and Colonel Wang Xiangsui
- The Fall of Carthage, Adrian Goldsworthy
- Rethinking the Principles of War, Anthony McIvor, ed.
- Introduction to Strategy, André Beaufre
At the risk of self-promotion:
- A Conservative’s View of American National Policy, Eric Hines
- A Conservative’s Treatise on American Government, Eric Hines
- A Conservative’s View of the American Concept of Law, Eric Hines
- A Conservative’s View of the Conduct of Just Wars, Eric Hines
There are many more that would add effectively to an American officer’s library, but these, I claim, make a good start. Others will have other ideas, and I’m all ears, and all eyes on the Comments.
The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
Carnage and Culture, Victor Davis Hanson
I thought about Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, and he was an experienced general in his own right. But he also wrote nonsense like what has come to be styled the “Thucydides Trap.”
Thf-bf-bf-bf-fft. Maybe his credibility or utility is all that.