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Thread: Professional/recommended reading lists

  1. #16
    Officer of Engineers

    New insights and released as of this year.

  2. #17
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    20 Aug 03


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.


  3. #18
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    03 Jul 08
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Two small works of science fiction; "A Small Colonial War" and "Fire in a Far Away Place" by Robert Frezza. Once you get past the premise, you will be hooked.

  4. #19
    Military Professional Grim's Avatar
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    22 Dec 06
    Just found this on the net The National Academies Press, thought it might be worth checking out. I really like the read online for free option. They have some interesting titles here.
    the sub links are worth a look as well

  5. #20
    Regular theravenseldon's Avatar
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    23 Apr 09
    I have heard good things about Jerry Pournelle's series "The Prince" and I have to say the book is an excellent read.

  6. #21

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    Military Professional S2's Avatar
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    11 Sep 06
    Portland, Oregon

    Elliot Cohen's Short List Of COIN

    Elliot Cohen has this short offering of COIN readings in the latest FOREIGN AFFAIRS. Note the final selection-

    What to Read on Fighting Insurgencies- Foreign Affairs
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  7. #22
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    30 May 09
    On Killing... On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society (9780316330114): Dave Grossman: Books

    A 'must read', in my opinion, for anyone on active duty, retired, or even contemplating military service.

  8. #23

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    11 Sep 06
    Portland, Oregon

    The Bear Went Over The Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics In Afghanistan

    Freebie to read online here-

    The Bear Went Over The Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics In Afghanistan-Lester Grau N.D.U. 1996

    Reads fine at 100%.

    EDIT: And here is its twin- The Other Side Of The Mountain: Mujahideen Tactics In The Soviet-Afghan War

    The Other Side Of The Mountain: Mujahideen Tactics In the Soviet-Afghan War-Ali Ahmad Jalali and Lester Grau

    Best read at 75% size. Remove the bookmark and chapters to the left and reduce the size. PDF takes a moment to load so don't panic.
    Last edited by S2; 14 Dec 09, at 09:27.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  9. #24
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    11 Feb 10
    Norfolk, Va
    Everything ever written by or about Col. John Boyd.

  10. #25
    Military Professional sappersgt's Avatar
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    04 Mar 06
    Latitude 38 Longitude 112
    Good stuff!)
    Reddite igitur quae sunt Caesaris Caesari et quae sunt Dei Deo
    (Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's)

  11. #26
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    23 Feb 05
    AFSA Reading List

    The Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and the President of the American Foreign Service Association have co-sponsored the creation of a Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List to serve as a resource for Foreign Service and Civil Service employees of the foreign affairs agencies. AFSA, the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, and the State Department's Ralph J. Bunche Library, Office of the Historian, and Office of E-Diplomacy have compiled the list, with help from regional and functional bureaus. The list seeks to identify useful books and websites to serve as a point of departure for career-long, self-directed professional development.

    To further assist busy employees, the list designates a small core group of "Highly Recommended" books that are must-reads for any well-rounded foreign affairs professional.

    Contributions to this list are welcomed. To nominate additions to the reading list or add comments about the books listed, please e-mail

    Diplomacy Theory & Practice

    Berridge, G. R. Diplomacy: Theory and Practice. 4th Ed. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmilla, 2010. An up-to-date treatment of foreign ministries, the art of negotiation, and modes of diplomacy by a leading scholar. [JZ1405.B475 2002]

    Berridge, G. R., and Alan James. A Dictionary of Diplomacy, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave-Macmillan 2004. A comprehensive guide to all aspects of diplomacy, continually updated online. [JZ1405.B47 2001]

    Cohen, Raymond. Negotiating Across Cultures: International Communication in an Interdependent World. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace, 1997. A revised version of the 1991 edition, this work expands upon the way cultural factors affect U.S. dealings with Japan, China, Egypt, India, and Mexico. [JZ1305.C63]

    Dorman, Shawn, ed. Inside A U.S. Embassy: How the Foreign Service Works For America. Washington, DC: American Foreign Service Association, 2005. Details the inner workings of U.S. embassies around the globe, including first-hand accounts of diplomacy in action. [JZ1405.I55 2003]

    Freeman, Charles. Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace, 1997. A thought-provoking manual for the professional diplomat that provides an outline and introduction to diplomatic thought and practice. [JZ1305.F74]

    Ikenberry, John, ed. American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays (5th ed.). New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 2004. Thought-provoking essays by leading scholars of U.S. foreign policy and international relations. [E840.A62]

    Kissinger, Henry. A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh, and the Problems of Peace, 1812-22. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957. [D383.K5]

    Miller, Robert Hopkins et al. Inside an Embassy: The Political Role of Diplomats Abroad. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Books, 1992. How diplomats carry out embassy political functions, with cases and illustrative political reporting. [JX1706.M48]

    Newsom, David D., Ed. Diplomacy under a Foreign Flag: When Nations Break Relations. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990. Analysis and case histories of an aspect of international law and diplomacy: the role of protecting powers and interest sections in maintaining dialogue absent diplomatic relations. [JX1683.F6D47]

    Nicolson, Harold. Diplomacy. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1939. A classic work that explores the origins of diplomacy, its development, basic diplomatic practices, and the personal qualities required of successful diplomats. [JX1662.N51 1988]

    Stanton, Fredrik . Great Negotiations: Agreements That Changed the Modern World . Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, 2010. A look at eight critical international diplomatic negotiations, in which the author makes the case for the importance of robust and sustained diplomacy. [327.09 STANT]

    U.S. Foreign Policy & International Relations

    Ferguson, Niall. Colossus: The Price of America's Empire. New York: Penguin Press, 2004. A provocative work examining the historical hesitation of the United States - the most powerful empire in history - to be classified as an empire. [JZ1480.F47 2004]

    Ghani, Ashraf and Clare Lockhart. Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World. London: Oxford University Press, 2008. [JC328.7.G43 2008]

    Haass, Richard. The Opportunity: America's Moment to Alter History's Course. New York: Public Affairs, 2005. The former Director of Policy Planning at the State Department and current President of the Council on Foreign Relations describes the challenges and opportunities facing the United States at the beginning of the 21st century in trying to create a more secure, free and prosperous world. [E902.H22 2005]

    Hume, Cameron R. The United Nations, Iran, and Iraq: How Peacemaking Changed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. Behind-the-scenes account of evolving Security Council diplomacy and conflict resolution in the Iran-Iraq and Iraq-Kuwait conflicts. [JX1977.2 I7 H55

    Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. This thought-provoking work explores the cultural foundations of international conflict. [D860.H86 1997]

    Khan, Riaz. Untying the Afghan Knot: Negotiating Soviet Withdrawal. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1991. An authoritative insider’s account by the senior Pakistani diplomat involved in the eight-year negotiations among all the major players leading to the 1988 Geneva Accords. [DS371.2.K48]

    Kohut, Andrew and Bruce Stokes. America and the World: How We Are Different and Why We Are Disliked. New York: Times Books, 2006. An important work which draws on polling data from 50 countries to examine modern anti-Americanism. [E169.12.K59 2006]

    Mandelbaum, Michael. The Case for Goliath: How America Acts As the World's Government in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Public Affairs, 2005. In this provocative work, the author positions the United States as a modern-day Goliath, "the functional equivalent of the world's government." [JZ1480.M3258 2005]

    McDougall, Walter A. Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. [E183.7.M517]

    Mead, Walter Russell. Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. A history of American foreign policy and its influence on the world. [E183.7.M52]

    Zimmerman, Warren. First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power. New York: Farrar, Straus and Diroux, 2002. [E663.Z46 2002]

    Public Diplomacy

    Dizard, Wilson P. Inventing Public Diplomacy: The Story of the United States Information Agency. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 2004. A useful, clear, and compact account of a vitally important aspect of U.S. foreign policy. [E840.2.D59 2004]

    --- Digital Diplomacy: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Information Age. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2001. [E840.D5 2001eb]

    Kiehl, William, ed. America's Dialogue with the World. Washington, DC: Public Diplomacy Council, 2006. Essays on strategic communication, cultural diplomacy, technology, exchanges and other subjects relating to the changing nature of U.S. public diplomacy. [E895.A43 2006]

    Nye, Joseph. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs, 2004. Makes the case for using the “soft power” of U.S. public diplomacy aboard. [JZ1480.N94 2004]

    Tuch, Hans N. Communicating with the World: U.S. Public Diplomacy Overseas. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990. A seasoned practitioner vividly explains how diplomatic missions abroad practice public diplomacy. [JX1706.T78]

    U.S. Diplomatic & Consular History

    Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations. William I. Cohen, ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993. v. 1. The Creation of a Republican empire, 1776-1865. Bradford Perkins: v. 2. Empire for opportunity, 1865-1913. Walter LaFeber: v. 3. The globalizing of America, 1913-1945. Akira Iriye: v. 4. America in the age of Soviet power, 1945-1991. Warren I. Cohen. [E183.7.C24]

    Eicher, Peter D. "Emperor Dead" and Other Historic American Diplomatic Dispatches. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Books, 1996. A fascinating selection of over 260 dispatches from 1776 to the Vietnam era, most taken directly from originals in the National Archives, many previously unpublished or inaccessible. [E183.7.E47]

    Kagan, Robert. Dangerous Nation. New York: Knopf, 2006. [E183.7.K34 2006]

    --- The Return of History and the End of Dreams . New York: Knopf, 2008.

    Kennedy, Charles Stuart. The American Consul: A History of the United States Consular Service, 1776-1914. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990. The consular service prior to the Rogers Act. [JZ1480.K46 1990 Reference]

    --- The Department of State: A History of its Organization, Procedure, and Personnel. New York: Macmillan Co., 1949. [JK853.S8]

    18th & 19th Century

    Bemis, Samuel Flagg. John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy. New York: A.A.Knopf, 1949. [E377.B5]

    Brown, Gordon S. Toussaint’s Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005. A well-crafted narrative of early American diplomacy’s responses to the Haitian revolution. [E310.7.B76 2005]

    Hunt, Michael H., The American Ascendance: How the United States Gained & Wielded Global Dominance. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007. An author of numerous studies of U.S. diplomacy charts America's rise to power from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to its position of dominance. [Pre-order Status]

    Nicolson, Harold George. The Congress of Vienna, A Study in Allied Unity: 1812-1822. London: Constable & Co., Ltd., 1946. [DC249.N5 1946a]

    Parker, Richard B. Uncle Sam in Barbary: A Diplomatic History. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. A scholar-diplomat who served in and studied the Arab world for fifty years explores the young American republic’s earliest encounter with Islam, beginning in 1785. [Pre-order Status]

    20th Century

    Beale, Howard K. Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1984 [c1956]. [E757.B4 1984]

    Bowden, Mark. Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006. Chronicles the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by militants, who held 66 American staffers hostage from November 1979 to January 1981. [DS274.2.U5 B68 2006]

    Gaddis, John Lewis. The Cold War: A New History. Minneapolis, MN: Highbridge Co. 2005. An excellent analysis of the central issues of the Cold War that summarizes the major and many minor events of that era. [D843.G22 2005]

    Hart, Parker T. Two NATO Allies at the Threshold of War–– Cyprus: A Firsthand Account of Crisis Management, 1965–1968. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990. An insider’s case study of crisis management, skillful diplomacy, and the shuttle diplomacy of Cyrus Vance. [DS54.9.H38]

    Kirk, Roger, and Mircea Raceanu. Romania Versus the United States: Diplomacy of the Absurd, 1985–1989. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994. A revealing insiders’ account of the deteriorating special relationship between the United States and Romania in the last years of Ceausescu by the two chief diplomatic actors in the drama. [DR229.U5 K47]

    Lederer, William J. The Ugly American. New York: Norton, 1958. [DS508.L41]

    Macmillan, Margaret Olwen. Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. New York: Random House, 2002. A fresh look at the peace negotiations to end WWI and their enduring impact on 20th century history.[D644.M32 2002]

    McNamara, Robert. In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. New York: Times Books, 1995. [DS558.M44]

    Miller, Robert H. Vietnam and Beyond: A Diplomat’s Cold War Education. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2002. The exceptional "hands-on" knowledge and critical evolution of a career diplomat who worked on America's unsuccessful Vietnam venture and its aftermath for nearly one-third of his Cold War–spanning career. [E840.8.M53 M55 2002]

    Nicolson, Harold George. Peacemaking, 1919. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1939. [D644.N45 1939]

    Post 1989

    Priest, Dana. The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2004. A noted Washington Post reporter’s path-breaking examination of the growing militarization of diplomacy. [UA23.P748 2003]

    Stephenson, James. Losing the Golden Hour: An Insider’s View of Iraq’s Reconstruction. Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2007. A vivid account by the 2004–2005 USAID mission director, an FSO expert in post-conflict transition, of what it was like to live and work in war-torn Iraq. [DS79.769.S74 2007]

    Global Issues

    Armstrong, Karen. Islam: A Short History. New York: Modern Library, 2002. The concise summation of years of thinking and writing about the world's fastest growing religion. [BP50.A69]

    Benedick, Richard Elliot. Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, enlarged ed., 1998. The chief U.S. negotiator of the 1987 Montreal Protocol combines science, politics, economics, and diplomacy in the definitive account of the origins and realization of this precedent-setting international agreement. [K3593.B46 1998]

    Goodby, James E., Dmitri Trenin, and Petrus Buwalda, with Yves Pagniez. A Strategy for Stable Peace: Towards a Euroatlantic Security Community. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace, 2002. The results of a two-year study on alternative futures for U.S.-EU-Russian relations and a "peaceful, undivided, democratic Europe." [UA646.G66]

    Langewiesche, William. The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime. New York: North Point Press, 2004. [HE571.L36 2004]

    Naim, Moises. Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy. New York: Doubleday, 2005. A hard-hitting exploration of the effect of illicit activities on the global economy. [HV6252.N35 2005]

    Economics, Trade, & Commerce

    Friedman, Thomas L. The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005. [HM846.F74 2005]

    Kennedy, Paul. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000. New York: Random House, 1987. A seminal work about the dangers of imperial overstretch. [D210.K46]

    Kopp, Harry W. Commercial Diplomacy and the National Interest. New York: American Academy of Diplomacy; Business Council for International Understanding, 2004. Describes the importance of promoting U.S. business abroad in maintaining America’s place in the world. [HF1455.K66 2004]

    Rangan, V. Kasturi. Business Solutions for the Global Poor Creating Social and Economic Value. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, c2007. Papers presented at A Conference on Global Poverty: Business Solutions and Approaches, Harvard University, Dec.1-3, 2005. Includes bibliographical references and index.[HD60.C624 2005eb]

    Sachs, Jeffrey. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for our Time. New York: Penguin Press, 2005. [HC59.72 P6 S225 2005]

    Steil, Benn and Robert E. Litan. Financial Statecraft: The Role of Financial Markets in American Foreign Policy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005. The first book devoted to “financial statecraft,” the influencing of capital flows. [HG181.S797 2006]

    Science, Technology, & Industry

    National Research Council ( U.S.) Globalization, Biosecurity and the Future of the Life Sciences. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2006. [HV6433.3.G56 2006]

    Steffen, Alex. Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century. New York: Abrams, 2006. [HC79.E5 W676 2006]

    Leadership & Management

    Anderson, Dean. Beyond Change Management : Advanced Strategies for Today's Transformational Leaders. {Practicing Organization Development Series} San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2001. [HD57.7.D522 2001]

    Drucker, Peter. The Effective Executive. New York: HarperBusiness Essentials, 2002. [HD38.25.U6 D78 2002]

    Klann, Gene. Crisis Leadership: Using Military Lessons, Organizational Experiences, and the Power of Influence to Lessen the Impact of Chaos on the People You Lead. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1995. A short, but well-done, primer on leadership in crises. [HD57.7K547 2003]

    Neustadt, Richard E. and Ernest R. May. Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision-Makers. New York: Free Press, 1986. [E743.N378]

    Smilansky, Jonathan. Developing Executive Talent: Best Practices from Global Leaders 2007 [pre-order status].

    Diplomatic Biographies & Memoirs


    Lidegaard, Bo. Defiant Diplomacy: Henrik Kauffmann, Denmark, and the United States in World War II and the Cold War 1939–1958. New York: Peter Lang, 2003. The extraordinary life of a major figure in U.S.-Danish relations as Denmark's wartime and postwar envoy to Washington. [DL252.K285 2003]

    Schaffer, Howard B. Chester Bowles: New Dealer in the Cold War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993. A highly readable account of the controversial foreign policy years of a leading Democratic politician who promoted Third World development as Ambassador to India twice and as Under Secretary of State. [E748.B73 S33]

    --- Ellsworth Bunker: Global Troubleshooter, Vietnam Hawk. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. The biography of one of America’s foremost diplomats, who served seven presidents as ambassador, special envoy, and mediator extraordinaire following a long career as a successful businessman. [E840.8.B845 S33 2003]


    Acheson, Dean. Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department. New York: Norton, 1969. [E744.A25]

    Bender, Margaret. Foreign at Home and Away: Foreign-born Wives in the U.S. Foreign Service. Lincoln, NE: Writers Club Press, 2002. Individual stories of Foreign Service life interwoven with themes such as transitions, work, children, senior wives, CIA wives, marital problems, post–Foreign Service life, and home country reentry. [E840.6.B36 2002]

    Grove, Brandon. Behind Embassy Walls: The Life and Times of an American Diplomat. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2005. A highly literate account of a 35- year diplomatic career in Africa, Europe, Central America, and the Middle East. [E840.8.G76G76 2005]

    Kennan, George. Memoirs 1925-1950. New York: Random House, Inc. 1983. This book by one of America’s most influential diplomats brings to life major events of U.S. diplomatic history of his era. [E748.K38 A3]

    Kennedy, Charles Stuart and William D. Morgan, eds. American Diplomats: The Foreign Service at Work. New York: Universe:, 2004. Drawn from the ADST Oral History program. [E744.A537 2004]

    Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. A readable yet scholarly insider's perspective on critical developments during the Cold War. [JX1662.K57]

    --- White House Years. Boston: Little, Brown, 1979. [E855.K57]

    --- Years of Upheaval. Boston: Little, Brown, 1982. [E840.8.K58 A38]

    --- Years of Renewal. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. [E840.8.K58 A3 1999]

    Linderman, Patricia and Brayer Hess, Melissa ed. Realities of Foreign Service Life. San Jose, CA: Writers Club Press, 2002. An honest and balanced view of the realities of life in the Foreign Service. JZ1405.R43]

    Perkins, Edward J. Mr. Ambassador: Warrior for Peace. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006. This memoir of one of America's most courageous statesmen is illustrated with 50 b&w photographs and 6 maps and is a dynamic history of a time, a people, a nation and one extraordinary. [E840.8.P4255 A3 2006]

    Spain , James W. In Those Days: A Diplomat Remembers. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1998. A diplomatic life on the edge, told with a bluntness leavened with feeling and humor, by a career diplomat and four-time ambassador, to Tanzania, Turkey, Sri Lanka, and USUN. [E748.S734 A3 1998]

    Most Useful Websites

    U.S. Diplomacy (an exploration of diplomatic history and foreign affairs)
    American Diplomacy (American Diplomacy online journal)
    Library of Congress Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (oral history collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training- ADST)
    Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (includes details of books in ADST’s two publication series)
    U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Historian
    U.S. Public Diplomacy (wealth of information on public diplomacy topics)
    National Defense University Reading List Professional Military Reading Lists
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  12. #27
    Global Moderator
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    Albany Rifles's Avatar
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    27 Apr 07
    Prince George, VA

    2011 US Army Chief of Staff's Reading List

    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  13. #28
    Join Date
    07 Mar 12
    Hong Kong
    US Army Chief of Staff's Reading Lists

    Additional Reading Lists are available here --
    CMH Recommended Professional Reading List - U.S. Army Center of Military History

  14. #29
    Regular rundown's Avatar
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    17 Oct 05
    1. George W. Baer. One Hundred Years Of Sea Power.The U.S. Navy 1890-1990.
    2. Captain Wayne P. Hughes Jr. Fleet Tactics And Coastal Combat.
    3. Correlli Barnett. The Collapse Of British Power.

  15. #30
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    Huntsville, AL
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    Wars of Blood and Faith, by Ralph Peters
    I knew Ralph Peters. He and I were captains in the same division. He gave a good briefing once using a very large terrain board. Both of us have aged. I look better but he was far more successful than I.

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