Ten books on military history that should be better known? Discuss.

The following is from a US current affairs website that I find quite informative:
Expert picks: Ten books on military history that should be better known

I was wondering if some of our erudite ARSSErs might wish to comment on the books included or point other works that should (in their opinion) have been included in the list, a copy of which I havee included below.

NOTE: This is specifically about less well known publications (albeit among our American cousins) and not your standard canon of work.

Ten books on military history that should be better known

FOREIGN POLICY, January 22, 2016, By Brian Linn, Best Defense guest historian

David French, The British Way in Counter-insurgency, 1945-1967 — An important corrective to decades of U.S. military critics holding up the British COIN model as the ideal for the U.S. armed forces.

Gregg Daddis, Westmoreland’s War — Another corrective to the myth that Westmoreland was the general who “lost” Vietnam.

Andrew Bacevich, The Pentomic Era: The U.S. Army Between Korea and Vietnam — This short book is still the best introduction to the U.S. Army’s effort to transform itself for the atomic battlefield, well worth looking at by those who think that new technology=RMA.

George Macdonald Fraser, Quartered Safe Out Here — A memoir by a rifleman in Burma in WWII. Brilliant writing, entertaining, and profound.

Fred Kaplan, The Wizards of Armageddon — Still holds up as one of the best studies of nuclear strategy and the close connections between academics and the armed forces.

Douglas Blaufarb, The Counterinsurgency Era — A lot of research has gone on since, but it still has a great deal of insight into the Vietnam Era and the evolution of COIN in the United States.

Shelford Bidwell, Modern Warfare: A Study of Men, Weapons and Theories — Written in 1973, it still may be the best introduction to how modern armies wage war.

David Fitzgerald, Learning to Forget: U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Doctrine and Practice from Vietnam to Iraq — An underappreciated analysis of the army’s institutional struggles to adapt to the challenge of irregular warfare and the malleability of the “lessons of history.”

Antulio J. Echevarria, Reconsidering the American Way of War — The best historical analysis of the current debate, effectively demolishing much of the mythology, sloppy IR theory, and superficial analysis that has characterized this topic.

Gerard Chaliand, ed., The Art of War in World History — An underappreciated reader on military thought whose breadth, depth, and range is unequaled.

Brian McAllister Linn is a professor at Texas A&M University and author of five books on US military history, including The Echo of Battle and the forthcoming Elvis’ Army.

 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
Apparently, all US except for the excellent G McD F' Quartered which is absolutely ace.

There's a bit in the Iliad where Nestor goes into a sulk and says if only people had consulted him the Greeks wouldn't be in such a mess. So not exactly a new theme! Maybe this list should be part of the 'Learning Culture' thread.

Kitson's 'Low Intensity Warfare' anyone?
 
Apparently, all US except for the excellent G McD F' Quartered which is absolutely ace.

There's a bit in the Iliad where Nestor goes into a sulk and says if only people had consulted him the Greeks wouldn't be in such a mess. So not exactly a new theme! Maybe this list should be part of the 'Learning Culture' thread.

Kitson's 'Low Intensity Warfare' anyone?

Well it is written from a US perspective, but Shelford Bidwell might have taken umbrage at being called a colonial cousin ...... :)

I read Kitson's 'Low Intensity Warfare' quite a while ago and found it useful.
 
Likewise Gerard Challiand would scowl in a disdainfully French way!
 
David French, The British Way in Counter-insurgency, 1945-1967 — An important corrective to decades of U.S. military critics holding up the British COIN model as the ideal for the U.S. armed forces.

I was rather under the impression that the British COIN model was officially rejected by the US in 2006 when FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency was published. There is an anecdote doing the rounds that any British staff officer who even dared mention NI, Malaya or Lawrence in a US HQ after about 2004 was quietly asked to 'get the hell outta Dodge'. But that could be pure gusset-whistle.

I would recommend The Struggle for Europe by Chester Wilmot for a refreshingly objective study of the Second World War post-Dunkirk which has the added bonus of seeing both Monty and Patton through the lens of their actual contributions rather than the shit-kickin', barn-shaggin' nationalistic hubris that often surrounds them.
 
David French isn't a colonial cousin either - emeritus Professor of History at UCL and most definitely a man who appreciates by virtue of his nation of birth that 'football' refers to the Association and Rugby variations rather than the strange game which involves a rugby ball and which appears to believe that the forward pass is a legitimate means of progressing down the field.
 
James Lunt has written a few books worth reading


  1. From Sepoy to Subedar: Being the Life and Adventures of Subedar Sita Ram, a Native Officer of the Bengal Army, Written and Related by Himself
    Book
More than bayonet fighting, insightful into John Company
 
L

lumpy2

Guest
I was lucky to get a copy of A Chindit's Chronicle signed by the author William Towill, now sadly deceased.

It went to the highest bidder on here, in aid of Hols. Unfortunately that happened to be Bokkatankie, who is not available to give it a review, due to finally going completely wibble.
 
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Getting a bit long in the tooth but On The Psychology of Military Incompetence by Norman F Dixon still ought to be on any list.
 
I was lucky to get a copy of A Chindit's Chronicle signed by the author William Towill, now sadly deceased.

It went to the highest bidder on here, I aid of Hols. Unfortunately that happened to be Bokkatankie, who is not available to give it a review, due to finally going completely wibble.

Ooooh, you are awful.......... but I like you.
 
J

JWBenett

Guest
Loads of unappreciated books out there, but another vote for George Macdonald Fraser, and research, Quartered Safe Out Here . He called Burma "a barebones war", primitive and up-close. GMF (OBE) served from 1943 to 1947 and served with the Black Cats and the Gordon Highlanders, then in the Middle East and North Africa after the war. I've some of his historical novels. Always a good read even if he was chiefly a novelist.
 
.........I would recommend The Struggle for Europe by Chester Wilmot for a refreshingly objective study of the Second World War post-Dunkirk which has the added bonus of seeing both Monty and Patton through the lens of their actual contributions rather than the shit-kickin', barn-shaggin' nationalistic hubris that often surrounds them.

Yes, I have an old copy of that book gathering dust on my bookshelves back in Blighty.
 

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Hell in a Very Small Place by Bernard Small is worth a shout. It details the events surrounding the siege at Dien Bien Phu.

The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan (drawing heavily on Thucydides) is also well worth reading.
 
I would suggest

David Hackworth's "Steel My Soldiers' Hearts"

and

John Ellis' "Brute Force".
 
J

JWBenett

Guest
I'm holding Blandford's book of Military Uniforms of the World in Colour, 1968. Cost 30s.net in 1968, and covers about three hundred years of military uniforms. Only half of it's colour pictures, up to 1965, but it's got all the Napoleonic War and Crimean uniforms. More rare: colonial troops 1870-1860. Fun collecting or ordering originals from bookshops when they're scribbled in by past owners. Great for research and a lazy read through. "New" copies of the Blandford are over £60.00 but it's worth more than money, not long before it's fifty years old :) Half my time is spent rifling through archives online; not fond of revisionists and copy cats.

Amazon product
 
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