Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Reading lists: The West Point history dept. selects its top 10 military classics

You know those guys at West Point, always making top 10 lists!  The Top Ten Military Classics Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. 1832. Ed. and trans. by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Indexed ed. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1984. Corbett, Julian Stafford. Some Principles of Maritime Strategy. Reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1976 ...

Flickr
Flickr
Flickr

You know those guys at West Point, always making top 10 lists!

 The Top Ten Military Classics

Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. 1832. Ed. and trans. by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Indexed ed. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1984.

You know those guys at West Point, always making top 10 lists!

 The Top Ten Military Classics

Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. 1832. Ed. and trans. by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Indexed ed. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1984.

Corbett, Julian Stafford. Some Principles of Maritime Strategy. Reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1976 (originally published by Conway Press Ltd., 1911; 1st Reprint by U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1972).

Delbruck, Hans. History of the Art of War Within the Framework of Political History.  Original German edition, 4 vols, 1900-1920.  Vols. 1-4 trans. by Colonel Walter J. Renfroe, Jr. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1975-82.

Douhet, Giulio. The Command of the Air. 1921. USAF Warrior Studies. Richard Kohn and Joseph P. Harahan, eds. Trans. by Dino Ferrari. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983, paperback, (Ayer Company published an edition in 1972 which was a reprint of the 1942 edition originally translated by Dino Ferrari).

Du Picq, Ardant. Battle Studies. In Roots of Strategy, Book 2, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:  Stackpole Books, 1987, paperback (previously published by The Military Service Publishing Co., 1946, and by the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, as part of the "Art of War," colloquium, undated).

Jomini, Antoine Henri. The Art of War. 1838. Trans.by G.H. Mendell and W.P. Craighill. Reprint, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1971.

Machiavelli, Niccolo.  The Art of War.  1521. Trans. by Ellis Farneworth.  Revised with an introduction by Neal Wood.  New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 1965, 1990 repr.

Mahan, Alfred Thayer. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783. 1890. Reprint, New York: Hill and Wang, 1957. Paperback, New York: Dover Books, 1987.

Sun Tzu. The Art of War.  4th century B.C. Trans. with an introduction by Samuel B. Griffith.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1963 (also available in Roots of Strategy, R.H. Phillips, ed., Stackpole, 1987, paperback).

Thucydides.  The Peloponnesian War.  Revised Edition.  Trans. by Edward Crawley. New York:  Modern Library, 1982. 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

U.S. President Joe Biden listens to remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on May 19.
U.S. President Joe Biden listens to remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on May 19.

Russia’s Defeat Would Be America’s Problem

Victory in Ukraine could easily mean hubris in Washington.

Russian and Belarusian troops take part in joint military exercises.
Russian and Belarusian troops take part in joint military exercises.

Russia’s Stripped Its Western Borders to Feed the Fight in Ukraine

But Finland and the Baltic states are still leery of Moscow’s long-term designs.

Electricity pylons are shown under cloudy skies during rainfall near Romanel-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland, on Sept. 15.
Electricity pylons are shown under cloudy skies during rainfall near Romanel-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland, on Sept. 15.

Europe’s Energy Crisis Is Destroying the Multipolar World

The EU and Russia are losing their competitive edge. That leaves the United States and China to duke it out.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces new European Union energy policies at the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels, on Sept. 7.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces new European Union energy policies at the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels, on Sept. 7.

With Winter Coming, Europe Is Walking Off a Cliff

Europeans won’t escape their energy crisis as long as ideology trumps basic math.