I recently saw a booklist, courtesy of a VIP at Shrivenham. It was his 'you should have read this lot' guide for officers studying at the Defence Academy. It struck me as one of the more sterile and self-congratulatory lists I have seen for some time, rather akin to those writers who say 'oh, but surely you've read 'War and Peace' in the original? (No I bloody haven't, and nor in the translation...) Soooo, Let's see what the group mind can come up with: what are your 'must read' books for officers who claim to think about their profession? A brief description, and 'why', is allowed. I'll start with 1 that is often overlooked: 'Some Desperate Glory' (Edwin Campion Vaughan) An outstanding personal memoir of WWI: "This stark WW I diary by a 19-year-old subaltern in the British army begins with an account of his eager departure for the western front, and ends eight months later with an awesome description of the battle of Ypres in which most of his company died. A snobbish, inept and generally insufferable youngster when he joined the frontline regiment, Vaughan was eventually humbled both by the tongue-lashings of superiors and by his ego-shattering experiences in the trenches. He is frank about his fear of death, which renders the material in the latter half of the diary all the more moving, for one discerns that Vaughan is gradually turning into a brave and capable leader of infantry. Some entries are punctuated by mad laughter while, at the same time, a tone of despair becomes more evident. The final line of the diary is no surprise: "I sat on the floor and drank whisky after whisky as I gazed into a black and empty future."" If you want to remind yourself of why you should aspire to professionalism, there is no more humbling read. Not often quoted, because of its honesty, it is a superb insight into fear and leadership under stress: if you want to read the thoughts of a young officer hauling himself up by the bootstraps, this is the one. Offers?