A number of experts offer their favourite books on military history and war. The historians Hew Strachan and Michael Howard and the journalist Peter Snow offer very different choices on the general topic, while Jeremy Black focuses on the contribution made by China, the Ottomans and other Asian nations to military history and strategy. Antulio Echevarria chooses his favourite books on military strategy.
Turning to particular wars, Andrew Exum chooses his best books on Understanding the War in Afghanistan, and Julia Lovell looks at China and the Opium Wars in the 19th century. Jonathan Boff chooses the best books on World War I and Anthony Beevor his on World War II. Simon Ball focuses exclusively on the battle of El Alamein. Former SAS soldier, Peter Winner, chooses the best books on the SAS.
On themes related to military history, Joseph Corn chooses his best books on Aviation history. Stephen Glain chooses the best books on US militarism and Peter Paret discusses the cultural context of war with his best books on War and Intellect. Chris Walsh chooses his best books on cowardice.
It’s been 100 years since World War I ended, but there is still very little consensus about what caused it, or what its consequences were. Historian Jonathan Boff talks us through the latest books and best modern interpretations of World War I.
by Carl von Clausewitz
Yorck and the Era of Prussian Reform 1807
by Peter Paret
L'or et le sang: Les buts de guerre économiques de la Première Guerre mondiale
by Georges-Henri Soutou
Vessel of Sadness
by William Woodruff
The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One
by David Kilcullen
Texts about military strategy take us back into the mists of time but what it is, and what the nature of war is, remains hotly debated. Antulio Echevarria II of the US Army War College talks us through key books, both old and new, on military strategy.
Pendulum Of War: Three Battles at El Alamein
by Niall Barr
The Desert War: The Classic Trilogy on the North African Campaign 1940-43
by Alan Moorehead
by Desmond Young
Montgomery and the Eighth Army
by Bernard Montgomery and Stephen Brooks (ed)
The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain
by Stephen Bungay
Churchill hailed the Allied victory at the Battle of El Alamein as “the end of the beginning” for Hitler in World War II. But in that very same speech, he downplayed its significance. Historian Simon Ball separates clichés from facts and chooses the best of the vast number of books written about El Alamein, the Desert War and World War II in general.
American presidents may not want to send troops into battle or militarise foreign policy but, in the end, most of them do. The author and journalist explains how this happens, and why it’s not even the military that’s to blame. He picks the best books on American militarism.
Fear is a great examiner of one’s character, argues the World War II veteran and eminent historian of war, Michael Howard. He recommends the best books on war, two on strategy and three on what it’s actually like for soldiers and commanding officers.
Pete Winner spent 18 years in the SAS, the special forces unit of the British Army that has a reputation for being only for the toughest of the tough. Here he recommends some of the best books that give a feel for what it’s like to be in the SAS or ‘Special Air Service.’