Best Defense

Quote of the day: Gen. Mattis’ reading list, and why he looks more to the East

Tom note: I’d forgotten about this item, which originally ran on June 8, 2015. I am rerunning it now because it has current interest.

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Best Defense is on summer hiatus. During this restful spell we offer re-runs from the past 12 months. This item originally ran on Feb. 21, 2017.

Tom note: I’d forgotten about this item, which originally ran on June 8, 2015. I am rerunning it now because it has current interest.

Military History asked him what he reads. His answer:

Colin Gray from the University of Reading is the most near-faultless strategist alive. Then there’s Sir Hew Strachan from Oxford, and Williamson Murray, the American. Those three are probably the leading present-day military theorists. You’ve got to know Sun-tzu and Carl von Clausewitz, of course. The Army was always big on Clausewitz, the Prussian; the Navy on Alfred Thayer Mahan, the American; and the Air Force on Giulio Douhet, the Italian. But the Marine Corps has always been more Eastern-oriented. I am much more comfortable with Sun-tzu and his approach to warfare.

Photo credit: University of California, Riverside/Wikimedia Commons

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.

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