Last week, Don Gomez, of the blog Carrying the Gun, posted The Junior Officer Reader – two down. The post was a plea to fellow bloggers and readers for titles of books written by junior officers or soldiers about their military experiences. He listed a few that he had in his library, but wanted to know of other books he may not be aware of. There are two purposes for this post: 1) What books are you aware of to answer Don’s question?, and 2) To answer his question with a few resources recently posted on the internet.
One of the blogs I follow is Time Magazine‘s Battleland, where there are quite the opinionated blog posts about the United States military and defense policy. But, this morning, they sent out their daily digest of articles which included an article entitled, Not (Just) Another Reading List. Within this article may be a few of Don’s answers. From the article:
…I have a shelf of books I own solely because some previous commander put it on his mandatory reading list. These lists are handed down as part of the boilerplate leadership model every commander (in the Army at least) learns early on…I thought it might be interesting to put together a list of literary works that soldiers and others would find helpful or at least interesting and worthwhile…I won’t make this a top-ten list, but rather just a list of a couple handfuls of books and why I think they’re worth including on soldiers’ reading lists…
——-> Continue reading Not (Just) Another Reading List
A link within the above article went to The Junior Officers’ Book Club. Here, the author may have come a bit closer to Don’s answer. The links within the below excerpt from the article lead to additional book lists and resources:
This is the second time in six months I’ve written about military reading lists. In August, we looked at the books then Army Chief of Staff, now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey asked his soldiers and officers to read as part of their professional development. Reading lists are interesting because they’re the books commanders and superiors want their troops to be reading in their free time, which is a precious commodity in the military…In this month’s ARMY magazine, which is published by the Association of the United States Army, company level officers weighed in on the books that had an impact on their effectiveness as platoon leaders and company commanders. What makes this list noteworthy is that the suggestions are by company-grade officers, for company-grade officers–young leaders telling their peers and those coming through the ranks behind them what was important…
——-> Continue reading The Junior Officers’ Book Club
And, as I was preparing this post, I got a Tweet from The Command and General Staff College (@USACGSC). It was a link to an article written by Admiral James Stavridis, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander, US European Command. The article, entitled Twenty Great Novels for Summer Reading, is more a list of literary works, with a few military and war-oriented titles. From Admiral Stavridis’ article:
We learn so much from reading. In a sense, every novel we pick up and read allows us to live another life entirely. As we head into the summer, I went back to some of the great reads of the last century in fiction. Some are famous and well known to generations of high school and college students — but might deserve a re-read. Others are less well known to broad audiences…
——-> Continue reading Twenty Great Novels for Summer Reading
I’d love to hear about other great literary works on the wartime experience. What else should we be reading? What books had the biggest impact on your effectiveness as a leader?
Related Articles –
H.R. McMaster: The Warrior’s-Eye View of Afghanistan (online.wsj.com)
Professional Reading is Essential – An Introduction (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)
The Development of a Reading Program (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)