New Reading List

Col Tom Hammes, of the Marines, has published a new reading list in Armed Forces Journal.  These books will undoubtedly be added to my personal reading program.

I have seen Col Hammes speak.  He gave a seminar to my unit back in 2004 on 4GW, although I think that most of the officers in attendance weren’t intellectually equipped to handle what Hammes had to say.  I impugn their lack of professionalism and lack of a personal program of independent study.

I will publish my personal reading list when I have completed it for public consumption.

The Hammes list is here.  Zen wrote about it here, too.


5 Responses to New Reading List

  1. glennanderson says:

    I’ll be very interested to see what your list looks like. Surprisingly, I have already read 1/2 of Col Hammes list. Refreshing to know I’m on the right track. Thanks for the suggestions both excellent additions to my ever growing personal library and anti-library.

  2. Fabius.Maximus.Cunctator says:


    “La véritable école du commandement est la culture générale” (The real school of command is general education). You will, I hope, excuse the very wooden translation. Maybe you do not need it anyway.

    Does the notion seem modern to you ? Who said it?

    “Leser” ist kein günstiges Prädikat in den Personalbögen. (“Reader” is not an advantageous remark to have in one`s personnel file.) Ernst Jünger.

  3. smitteneagle says:


    I speak German well. French, not so much.

    I cannot place the first quote. However, the idea of a classically-trained officer goes back at least 250 years. John Paul Jones, the father of the American navy, remarked that the ideal naval officer had a liberal education. The Rationalist movement attempted to place War as a natural science, capable of study by men of letters. Further in the past, Alexander the Great had perhaps the best classical education ever, being personally tutored by Aristotle.

    Ernst Juenger might be correct. Sometimes meat-headed officers might be tempted to think that intellectualism and the warrior spirit are mutually exclusive, so it is with trepidation that some officers self-identify as men of the mind as well as the sword. One Marine legend, LtGen LB Puller was once highly suspicious of another lesser-known legend, Col. Robert Debs Heinl, because of Heinl’s intellect, thinking it at odds with the Marine ethos. (Heinl later wrote several excellent histories of various Marine actions).

    Yet the legacy of the Meat-Head isn’t a good one. GEN Tommy Franks of the Army is perhaps the most recent such man. His anti-intellectualism and brutish nature did much to worsen the fortunes of the Americans over the years following OIF I and OEF.

  4. fabius.maximus.cunctator says:


    It was Gen. de Gaulle actually. Not all “his” quotes are actually his, but my source on this one is a book based on interviews with Adm. P. de Gaulle.

    Clausewitz and Moltke the older were probably the best know of the German school of highly literate officers.

  5. Yours Truly says:

    Hell, who even reads these days? Most folks I know of just watch TV all day long…

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