Cohen, Eliot A. Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime. New York: Free Press, 2002. This work examines four case studies in leadership and civil-military relations. Focusing on Abraham Lincoln, Georges Clemenceau, Winston Churchill, and David Ben-Gurion and their relations with subordinate military commanders, Cohen argues that, rather than adhere to traditional civilian and military roles in directing war, some of the most successful civilian leaders have inserted themselves into what many have argued were "purely military" spheres of strategic and operational art. Cohen's work provides an accessible treatment of longstanding issues in the field of civil military relations.
D'Este, Carlo. Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2002. Perhaps the most renowned American general of the twentieth century, Dwight D. Eisenhower remains a subject of intense interest. A lieutenant colonel at 50 with little combat experience and no military future ahead of him in the stifling between-the-wars promotion system, Eisenhower became, in little more than three years and three months, a five-star general who would later head the nation for two presidential terms of office. D'Este's work focuses only on World War II, discussing the emerging general's skill at building the Allied coalition and keeping its disparate elements pointed at a common objective. He also covers his weaknesses, indicting the supreme commander for keeping incompetents favorites in major positions, failing to make decisive decisions at key junctures in the war, and generally ignoring the dimension of logistics. The balance account provides an accurate picture of the dilemmas faced by military commanders beset by conflicting objectives and course of action.
Habeck, Mary. Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. In this primer on a small splinter group of Islan, Habeck traces the current of Islamic thought that eventuated in jihadism from an early-fourteenth-century scholar and the eighteenth-century founder of the harshly restrictive Islam predominant in Saudi Arabia to four twentieth--century figures who inspired a host of radical reactionary organizations, including Hamas and al-Qaeda. Habeck's purpose is to reveal jihadism. So doing, in considerable detail and with admirable clarity, she contributes one of the most valuable books on the ongoing Middle East--and world--crisis. This is an important book for all leaders as we attempt to understand our enemy.
Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Touchstone, 1996. The late renowned Harvard Social Scientist Samuel Huntington warns of the increasing threat of renewed conflicts originating in countries and cultures that base their traditions on religious faith and dogma. Moving past the issues of race and nationality as sources of future conflict, he cites the growing influence of a handful of major cultures--Western, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, Islamic, Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, and African--in current struggles across the globe. His study underlines the importance of cultural awareness in dealing with crises throughout the globe and its importance in implementing effective policies and programs on the ground.
McMaster, H.R. Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. New York: Harper Perennial Publisher, 1998. A masterful study of military strategy gone awry, the author, a professional soldier, argues persuasively that President Johnson wanted to fight the war on poverty, not the war in Vietnam, and that he made decisions he believed would allow him to do both. The result was a recipe for disaster, which the Joint Chiefs of Staff exacerbated by failing to provide the President with their best advice. Dereliction of Duty is a cautionary tale about how military and civilian leadership failed at the highest levels and stumbled into a war that appeared to have no logical culmination.
Reid, Michael. The Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America's Soul. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2008. In examining a vast continent that is often overlooked by the West, Reid argues that Latin America's efforts to build more equitable and more prosperous societies make it one of the most dynamic areas of the world. Here a series of democratic leaders are attempting to lay the foundations for faster economic growth and more inclusive politics, while addressing the region's seemingly intractable problems of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. Failure will not only increase the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants, but will also jeopardize the stability in a region rich in oil and other strategic commodities, and threaten some of the world's most majestic natural environments. The study provides a vivid, current, and informed account of a dynamic continent and its struggle to compete in a globalized world.
Segal, David R. Recruiting for Uncle Sam: Citizenship and Military Manpower Policy. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1989. Written by a noted military sociologist, this study is a plea to the country to institute a system of civilian and military national service that uses economic incentives to entice recruits and not compulsion. In discussing the possible models for such a service, the author raises issues that are as relevant today as they were when he was writing in the waning days of the Cold War. Included is a compact history of U.S. recruitment and mobilization policies that can serve as a useful précis on the subject.
Slim, Viscount William. Defeat Into Victory: Battling Japan in Burma and India 1942-45 . New York: Cooper Square Press, 2000. In May 1942, British Lt. Gen. William J. Slim was the defeated commander of a demoralized corps in a forgotten theater, forced into a long, humiliating retreat by a seemingly invincible jungle enemy. Almost exactly three years later, his victorious Fourteenth Army marched into Rangoon, completing a masterful re-conquest of the country he had lost. This gripping story of leadership and command in the face of adversity has been praised as one of the great military memoirs of all time, a tale remarkable in its honesty, humility, ironic wit, and human understanding.
Stoler, Mark A. George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century. New York: Twayne, 1989. General George C. Marshall played a pivotal role in American history between 1939 and 1951. In this synthesis, Professor Mark Stoler integrates an extensive variety of primary and secondary sources, including Marshall's private papers, in the story of the frustrations and successes of Marshall's attempts to forge a workable military policy in World War II consistent with the basic principles of American democracy. Marshall, best remembered for the Marshall Plan, is made comprehensible as a strategist at the center of the most destructive conflict in world history.
Strassler, Robert., ed. The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War. New York: Free Press, 1998. This is an annotated new translation of the classic Greek historian's account of the war between Athens and Sparta fought between 431 B.C. and 404 B.C. It has explanatory footnotes and appendixes on war and society in 5th century B.C. E. Greece that does much to place the war in its context. The Peloponnesian War is not only an excellent chronicle of ancient warfare, but also a thoughtful dissertation on the relationship between politics and war, government and empire, and the strong and the weak. It should be in every soldier or diplomat's bookshelf.
Yates, Lawrence A. The U.S. Military Intervention in Panama: Origins, Planning, and Crisis Management June 1987-December 1989. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Army Center of Military History, 2008. In this first of a planned two volume history of Operation Just Cause, Dr. Yates, noted historian of the U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965, discusses the critical events, planning, and undercurrents that lay behind the U.S. military intervention in Panama in late 1989. He skilfully weaves military planning, high-level strategic debates, and interagency priorities and confusion into a masterful story of crisis management in a post-Goldwater-Nichols world. This is essential reading for any student of regional combatant commands, their powers, and their limitations as they attempt to influence strategy and national policy.
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