Professional Reading Recommendations from the Chief


Gen. Raymond Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army

I’m in the process of finalizing my Recommended Professional Reading List.  Currently, it is divided into four categories: The Army Profession, The Force of Decisive Action, Broadening Leaders, and The Strategic Environment.

To really get into the spirit of things on this blog, I invite you to review my draft list and offer an opinion.  I am interested in your thoughts.  Currently, I have 78 titles and I would like to pare it down to a manageable number.

Alternatively, if you have a book that you think should be included, let me know what it is and why it’s worthy of a place on this list.  If I agree with you, I’ll include your suggestion in my final CSA’s Recommended Professional Reading List.

I look forward to hearing from you!

SUBLIST 1 (The Army Profession)

American Military History, Volume II:  The United States Army in a Global Era, 1917-2008. Richard W. Stewart, gen. ed. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 2010.

Between War and Peace: How America Ends Its WarsMatthew Moten, eds. New York:  Free Press, 2011.

Company Commander.  Charles B. MacDonald. Springfield, N.J.: Burford Books, 1999. Original edition, 1947.

Constitution of the United States. Available on-line at URL:

Dereliction of Duty:  Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. H.R. McMaster. New York: Harper Perennial Publisher, 1998.

Eisenhower:  A Soldier’s Life. Carlo D’Este. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2002.

The Face of Battle. John Keegan. New York: Penguin Books, 1985.

The Forgotten Hero of My Lai: The Hugh Thompson Story. Trent Angers.  Lafayette, Louisiana: Acadian House Publishing, 1999.

George C. Marshall:  Soldier-Statesman of the American Century. Mark A. Stoler. New York: Twayne, 1989.

Lincoln and His Generals. Thomas Harry Williams. New York: Vintage Books, 2011. [Originally published in 1952]

A Message to Garcia.  Elbert Hubbard.  Aurora, NY: Seven Treasures, 1982.

Once an Eagle. Anton Myrer. New York: Harper Torch, 2003.

Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace. Mathew Perry. New York: Penguin Publishing, 2007.

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. Ulysses S. Grant. New York: Modern Library, (Reprint), 1999.

Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime. Eliot A. Cohen. New York: Free Press, 2002.

SUBLIST 2 (Force of Decisive Action)

1776.  David McCullough. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006.

The AEF Way of War: The American Army and Combat in World War I. Mark E. Grotelueschen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

An Army at Dawn: The War in Africa, 1942-1943. Rick Atkinson. New York: Henry Holt, 2002.

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. James McPherson. New York: Ballantine, 1988.

Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare. Geoffrey Parker, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Combat Actions in Korea, Russell A. Gugeler. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1970, 1987.

Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. David Galula. New York: Praeger, 2005. [originally published in 1964]

The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944. Rick Atkinson. New York: Henry Holt, 2008.

East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950. Roy E. Appleman.  College Station, TX.: Texas A&M University Press, 1987.

The Landmark Thucydides:  A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War. Robert Strassler, ed. New York: Free Press, 1998.

The Philippine War, 1899-1902. Brian McAllister Linn. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000.

Savage Peace: Americans at War in the 1990’s. Dan Bolger. San Francisco:  Presidio Press, 1995.

A Soldier’s Dream: Captain Travis Patriquin and the Awakening of IraqWilliam Doyle. New York: Penguin Group, 2011.

Summons of the Trumpet: U.S.-Vietnam in Perspective. Dave R. Palmer, Novato, Calif: Presidio Press, 1995.

Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. Martin Van Creveld.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

Surging South of Baghdad:  The 3D Infantry Division and Task Force Marne in Iraq, 2007-2008. Dale Andrade. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 2010.

This Kind of War.  T. R. Fehrenback. Washington, D.C.: Brassey, 2000.

Tip of the Spear:  U.S. Army Small-Unit Action in Iraq 2004-2007. Jon T. Hoffman, ed. Washington D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 2009.

U.S. Army Counterinsurgency and Contingency Operations Doctrine, 1942-1976. Andrew J. Birtle. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 2006.

The U.S. Military Intervention in Panama:  Origins, Planning, and Crisis Management June 1987-December 1989. Lawrence Yates. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Army Center of Military History, 2008.

We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young. Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 2004.

SUBLIST 3 (Broadening Leaders)

Cables from Kabul.  Sherard Cowper-Coles.  London: Harper Press, 2011.

A Choice of Enemies:  America Confronts the Middle East.  Lawrence Freeman.  New York: Public Affairs, 2008.

Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It. James Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

The Devil You Don’t Know.  Zuhair al-Jezairy.  London: Saqi Books, 2010.

The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300-2050. MacGregor Knox and Williamson Murray, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.

From Pusan to Panmunjom. Paik Sun Yup. Washington, New York:  Brassey’s US, Inc., 1992.

Full Spectrum Diplomacy and Grand Strategy: Reforming the Structure and Culture of U.S. Foreign Policy.  John Lenczowski.  Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2011.

How:  Why How We Do Anything Means Everything. Dov Seidman. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2007.

The Instigators.  David Wolman.  Atavist, 2011.

Leading Change. John P. Kotter. Boston: Harvard University Press, 1996.

The Limits of Air Power: The American Bombing of North Vietnam. Mark A. Clodfelter. Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books, 2006.

Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age.  Peter Paret, ed.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986.

The Mask of Command. John Keegan. New York: Penguin Books, 1988.

The Masks of War: American Military Styles in Strategy and Analysis.  Carl H. Builder. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.

The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom.  Evgeny Morozv.  New York: PublicAffairs, 2011.

On China.  Henry Kissinger.  New York: Penguin Press, 2011.

Rethinking the Principles of War.  Anthony D. McIvor. Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, Maryland, 2005.

Setting the Desert on Fire: T. E. Lawrence and Britain’s Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918.  James Barr. New York: WW Norton & Co, 1998.

Soldier’s Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point. Elizabeth D. Samet. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Chip and Dan Heath.  New York: Random House, 2010.

Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers. Richard E. Neustadt and Ernest May. New York: Free Press, 1986.

SUBLIST 4 (Strategic Environment)

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. Niall Ferguson. The Penguin Press, New York, 2008.

Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World.  Michael Lewis. New York: Norton, 2011.

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.  Samuel Huntington. New York: Touchstone, 1996.

Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. Ahmed Rashid. New York: Viking Penguin, 2008.

The Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America’s Soul. Michael Reid.  New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2008.

Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations. Georgina Howell. New York: Manoir La Roche Ltd., 2006.

The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire. Edward N. Luttwak. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.

A History of Modern Iran. Ervand Abrahamian. New York: Cambridge Unersity Press, 2008.

Kevlar Legions:  A History of Army Transformation 1989-2005.   

John Sloan Brown, Washington, D.C.: U. S. Army Center of Military History, 2011.

Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on TerrorMary Habeck. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.

The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict. Dilip Hiro. London: Grafton, 1989.

Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power. Robert D. Kaplan. Random House, 2010.

The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and How America Helped Rebuild Europe. Greg Behrman. New York: Free Press, 2007.

My Life with the Taliban. Abdul Salam Zaeef. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.

Occidentalism:  The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies. Ian Burma and Avishai Margalit. New York: Penguin Press, 2004.

Prodigal Soldiers: How the Generation of Officers Born of Vietnam Revolutionized the American Style of War. James Kitfield. Washington: Bassey, 1997.

The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World.  Daniel Yergin.  New York: Penguin Press, 2011.

That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back.  Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.

The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World. Rupert Smith. New York: Vintage Books, 2008.

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. Thomas Friedman. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.