94 books like Decoding Clausewitz

By Jon Tetsuro Sumida,

Here are 94 books that Decoding Clausewitz fans have personally recommended if you like Decoding Clausewitz. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Cathal J. Nolan Author Of Mercy: Humanity in War

From my list on how wars are won and lost.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning teacher and writer who introduces students and readers to war in a profession that today is at best indifferent to military history, and more often hostile. That gives me a wry sense of irony, as colleagues would rather teach about fashion than fascism and truffles over tragedy. Having written a multiple award-winning book that covered 2,000 years of war, frankly I was sickened by how the same mistakes were made over and again. It has made me devoted to exploring possibilities for humane behavior within the most inhumane and degraded moral environment humanity creates; where individuality is subsumed in collective violence and humanity is obscured as a faceless, merciless enemy.

Cathal's book list on how wars are won and lost

Cathal J. Nolan Why did Cathal love this book?

Beautifully written masterwork on one of the most important wars of the 19th century. It takes the reader from the experience of ordinary soldiers in battle to key debates around the cabinet table, in a rare display of dexterity and understanding of all levels of war. You will enter Grant’s HQ from where he ran the critical Western theater of operations and sit across from Lincoln as he makes the key decision for a hard war that let the Union maximize its resources and win. And you will walk into Lee’s HQ where the Confederacy lost the war in bursts of Southern hubris that led to two ill-conceived invasions of the North that provoked the final crushing.  

By James M. McPherson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Battle Cry of Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now featuring a new Afterword by the author, this handy paperback edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom is without question the definitive one-volume history of the Civil War.
James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War including the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. From there it moves into…


Book cover of The War Lords and the Gallipoli Disaster: How Globalized Trade Led Britain to Its Worst Defeat of the First World War

James Kelly Morningstar Author Of Patton's Way: A Radical Theory of War

From my list on military history for people who think.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for this theme because I served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for more than twenty years. I saw the effect of both thinking and non-thinking commanders first-hand in places like the inter-German border during the Cold War, Iraq in combat during the first Gulf War, and Bosnia in ‘operations other than war.’ My experience drove me to continue my military studies resulting in four degrees, including my PhD and my current occupation as a professor of military history. My search for understanding war and military decision-making reflects a desire to better instruct the future leaders among my college students and readers.

James' book list on military history for people who think

James Kelly Morningstar Why did James love this book?

With unmatched research and brilliant analytical thought, Nicholas Lambert upends long-accepted explanations of a military disasterthe Gallipoli Campaignthat not only rocked Britain in World War I but reverberates in international relations to this very day. His forensic examination of the British government’s symbiotic political, diplomatic, economic, and military decision-making should be required reading for all students of those disciplines. His approach dismantles accepted histories derived from the political assignment of blame and instead gives the reader an understanding of policy decisions tortured by a wide array of then-pertinent circumstances ranging from the price of a loaf of bread to the power of a Russian Tsar. We can hear the echoes of Lambert’s analysis in today’s cable news reports regarding globalization, disruption to wheat markets, and the political impact of inflation. A timeless work indeed. 

By Nicholas A. Lambert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War Lords and the Gallipoli Disaster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An eye-opening interpretation of the infamous Gallipoli campaign that sets it in the context of global trade.

In early 1915, the British government ordered the Royal Navy to force a passage of the Dardanelles Straits-the most heavily defended waterway in the world. After the Navy failed to breach Turkish defenses, British and allied ground forces stormed the Gallipoli peninsula but were unable to move off the beaches. Over the course of the year, the Allied landed hundreds of thousands of reinforcements but all to no avail. The Gallipoli campaign has gone down as one of the great disasters in the…


Book cover of Torpedo: Inventing the Military-Industrial Complex in the United States and Great Britain

James Kelly Morningstar Author Of Patton's Way: A Radical Theory of War

From my list on military history for people who think.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for this theme because I served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for more than twenty years. I saw the effect of both thinking and non-thinking commanders first-hand in places like the inter-German border during the Cold War, Iraq in combat during the first Gulf War, and Bosnia in ‘operations other than war.’ My experience drove me to continue my military studies resulting in four degrees, including my PhD and my current occupation as a professor of military history. My search for understanding war and military decision-making reflects a desire to better instruct the future leaders among my college students and readers.

James' book list on military history for people who think

James Kelly Morningstar Why did James love this book?

Katherine Epstein unravels the tale of a single weapon system—the pre-World War I self-propelled torpedo—to reveal a remarkably informative and entertaining history of the interconnectedness of world politics, economics, law, industry, and military power. National leaders in the early 20th Century had to reach into all these spaces to develop effective, cheap torpedoes that could potentially upset rival naval powers resting on traditional, expensive, and vulnerable big gun ships. American and British leaders succeeded only by reshaping obsolete procurement processes into partnerships between public fund managers and private sector research and development, leading to attendant legal clashes between intellectual property rights and national security concerns—and creating the basis for the Military-Industrial Complex. With brilliant research and analysis, Epstein illustrates how complicated and seemingly unrelated factors merge to dictate the flow of a revolution in military affairs that changed the world. In the process, she reminds historians like me to…

By Katherine C. Epstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Torpedo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When President Eisenhower referred to the "military-industrial complex" in his 1961 Farewell Address, he summed up in a phrase the merger of government and industry that dominated the Cold War United States. In this bold reappraisal, Katherine Epstein uncovers the origins of the military-industrial complex in the decades preceding World War I, as the United States and Great Britain struggled to perfect a crucial new weapon: the self-propelled torpedo.

Torpedoes epitomized the intersection of geopolitics, globalization, and industrialization at the turn of the twentieth century. They threatened to revolutionize naval warfare by upending the delicate balance among the world's naval…


Book cover of The West Point Atlas of American Wars: Vol. 1, 1689-1900

James Kelly Morningstar Author Of Patton's Way: A Radical Theory of War

From my list on military history for people who think.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for this theme because I served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for more than twenty years. I saw the effect of both thinking and non-thinking commanders first-hand in places like the inter-German border during the Cold War, Iraq in combat during the first Gulf War, and Bosnia in ‘operations other than war.’ My experience drove me to continue my military studies resulting in four degrees, including my PhD and my current occupation as a professor of military history. My search for understanding war and military decision-making reflects a desire to better instruct the future leaders among my college students and readers.

James' book list on military history for people who think

James Kelly Morningstar Why did James love this book?

I probably have referred to this work more than any other in my personal library of several thousand books. This original hardback covers more than thirteen wars in hundreds of detailed maps. Later hardback and online editions have added all major conflicts from the Korean War to the recent war in Afghanistan. Patton once said that terrain is the skeleton upon which we flesh out our plans and operations. I believe no historian can understand battles and campaigns without first understanding the terrain. These maps make it possible to see the restraints and constraints imposed by terrain and give the possibility for the trained eye to retrospectively measure the coup de oeil in their subject’s eye. All military history begins with a map and the maps begin here. 

By Vincent J. Esposito (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The West Point Atlas of American Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Presents maps with corresponding narratives covering every campaign in American wars from 1689 to the Korean War


Book cover of On War

Martin Van Creveld Author Of The Privileged Sex

From my list on on war, full stop.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professor emeritus of history at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, over the years I’ve been widely mentioned as one of the world’s foremost experts on military theory and history. On these and other topics I have written 34 books, which between them have been published in 19 languages. I’ve also consulted with defense departments, taught and lectured all over the world, etc., etc.

Martin's book list on on war, full stop

Martin Van Creveld Why did Martin love this book?

Most theoretical works on war claim to instruct their readers about how to wage war. With the result that, especially in modern times when technology is racing ahead, quickly becomes out of date. By contrast, Clausewitz, a student of the philosopher Immanuel Kant, all but ignores technology. Instead he focuses on two cardinal questions: what war is, and what it is waged for. From this, using reality to check on theory and theory to check on reality, he proceeds step by step. Many of his conclusions, e.g “war is a duel on an extended scale means.” “The best strategy is always to be very strong, first in general and then at the decisive point.” “The attacker always wants peace.” “The stronger form of war is the defense.” “In war everything is simple, but the simplest thing is very complex.” “Comes the culminating point, every offense will turn into a defense,”…

By Carl von Clausewitz, Beatrice Heuser, Michael Howard (translator) , Peter Paret (translator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked On War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'War is merely the continuation of policy by other means'

On War is one of the most important books ever written on the subject of war. Clausewitz, a Prussian officer who fought against the French during the Napoleonic Wars, sought to understand and analyse the phenomenon of war so that future leaders could conduct and win conflicts more effectively. He studied the human and social factors that affect outcomes, as well as the tactical and technological ones. He understood that war was a weapon of government, and that political purpose,
chance, and enmity combine to shape its dynamics. On War…


Book cover of The Encyclopedia of Military History from 3500 B.C. to the Present

Julian Spencer-Churchill (Schofield) Author Of Strategic Nuclear Sharing

From my list on strategic studies on a deeper understanding of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of political science with a focus on strategic studies and the causes of war, and before that, I was an operations officer at an army engineering regiment during the Cold War, and before that I was an adolescent wargamer obsessively applying math to sociological problems, and before that an enthusiast of military history. I have had the generosity of providence to conduct research in and on Pakistan’s military for over ten years, as well in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Egypt. These are the books I think every scholar of strategic studies should start with, as they provide an inspirational and the most direct path to strategic insight.   

Julian's book list on strategic studies on a deeper understanding of war

Julian Spencer-Churchill (Schofield) Why did Julian love this book?

Dupuy & Dupuy’s Encyclopedia of Military History is the historical bedrock of strategic studies. Despite its name, it is not so much an encyclopedia, as a readable chronological account of world history. It is integrated with insightful commentary on technology, tactics, leadership, and society, presented at the beginning of each chapter, and within sections dedicated to specific battles and wars. Although Wikipedia now exceeds it in the detail of the events and the background of the conflicts covered, Wikipedia lacks a roadmap or the careful examination of the cumulative historical changes that underpin warfare. I assign this fourteen hundred-page text as the primary text in my introduction to strategic studies course. 

Book cover of The Art of War: Complete Text and Commentaries

Charles S. Oliviero Author Of Praxis Tacticum: The Art, Science and Practice of Military Tactics

From my list on military tactical thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent 40 years as a soldier studying war. After graduation from Royal Military College, I joined the Armoured Corps. Throughout history, we have regaled each other with stories of war. From Greek myths to Norse sagas to modern movies, we cannot seem to get enough of war stories. And yet, we know that war is inherently a bad idea. It is evil. It is a form of collective madness. War is destructive and cruel, unworthy of our better selves. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, war breaks the bonds of our affection and does not speak to our better angels. I study it in order to better understand this madness.

Charles' book list on military tactical thinking

Charles S. Oliviero Why did Charles love this book?

I recommend this book because it is not only the oldest military book known, but also a foundational text. It is short, simple to read, and can be understood at multiple levels from absolute novice to grand strategist. It is a compilation of aphorisms and stories intended to give the reader an insight into the nature of war. To stay with the Chinese theme, Lao Tzu reputedly said that the journey of a thousand li (miles) begins with a single step. This book is that step.

By Sun Tzu, Thomas Cleary,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sun Tzu's Art of War, compiled more than two thousand years ago, is a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict. It is perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world today. Now, this unique volume brings together the essential versions of Sun Tzu's text, along with illuminating commentaries and auxiliary texts written by distinguished strategists. The translations, by the renowned translator Thomas Cleary, have all been published previously in book form, except for The Silver Sparrow Art of War, which is available here for the first time. This comprehensive collection contains:



The Art of…


Book cover of How to Make War: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Warfare in the Twenty-First Century

Julian Spencer-Churchill (Schofield) Author Of Strategic Nuclear Sharing

From my list on strategic studies on a deeper understanding of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of political science with a focus on strategic studies and the causes of war, and before that, I was an operations officer at an army engineering regiment during the Cold War, and before that I was an adolescent wargamer obsessively applying math to sociological problems, and before that an enthusiast of military history. I have had the generosity of providence to conduct research in and on Pakistan’s military for over ten years, as well in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Egypt. These are the books I think every scholar of strategic studies should start with, as they provide an inspirational and the most direct path to strategic insight.   

Julian's book list on strategic studies on a deeper understanding of war

Julian Spencer-Churchill (Schofield) Why did Julian love this book?

Jim Dunnigan, the author of How to Make War, is the founder of Simulations Publications International (SPI), a commercial wargame company from the early 1970s, that revolutionized our understanding of warfare by applying historical data to combat simulation. SPI’s alumni are some of the most productive wargame designers, credited with designing simulations that frequently predicted the outcome of wars. How to Make War provides an introductory survey with insightful analysis of the key elements of modern warfare, often controversial, but always well explained. The four editions between 1983 and 2003 are updated significantly to reflect the evolving interests in military matters in each period. This is the secondary text I assign as part of my introductory strategic studies course.  

By James F Dunnigan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Make War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An up-to-date, comprehensive survey of modern warfare furnishes a detailed explanation of virtually every facet of modern war, examining the world's armed forces, cutting-edge weapons, tactics, logistics, intelligence, the increasing use of terrorist techniques, and more. Original.


Book cover of Command: The Politics of Military Operations from Korea to Ukraine

Andrew Payne Author Of War on the Ballot: How the Election Cycle Shapes Presidential Decision-Making in War

From my list on the politics of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I take great pride in having somehow turned a passion for visiting presidential libraries into an academic career. I’ve now conducted extensive research at eight of them, and have future projects lined up to get me to the rest. This experience means I can and frequently do ruin family gatherings by challenging distant relations to quizzes about obscure details involving presidential pets. But it has also left me well-placed to write a number of articles and books exploring how domestic politics shapes the development and execution of U.S. foreign policy. I’ve done this while affiliated with the University of Oxford and, more recently, at City, University of London. 

Andrew's book list on the politics of war

Andrew Payne Why did Andrew love this book?

Every book this author produces feels like a magnum opus. In this latest tour de force, Freedman surveys decades of history across several continents to shed light on the deeply intertwined relationship between the development of military strategy and the politics of command.

Thanks to this vast scope, the case studies in this book provide portraits of a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters, demonstrating how civilian leaders and military officials battled over authority, autonomy, and resources in a wide range of contexts.

By Lawrence Freedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Command as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Using examples from a wide variety of conflicts, Lawrence Freedman shows that successful military command depends on the ability not only to use armed forces effectively but also to understand the political context in which they are operating.

Command in war is about forging effective strategies and implementing them, making sure that orders are appropriate, well-communicated, and then obeyed. But it is also an intensely political process. This is largely because how wars are fought depends to a large extent on how their aims are set. It is also because commanders in one realm must possess the ability to work…


Book cover of Pan-Asianism and Japan's War 1931-1945

Moss Roberts Author Of Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

From my list on modern Asia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a strong, if contrarian, interest in modern history, Asian history in particular. I have published more than a dozen articles and book reviews on the subject, and I have taught courses on modern Asian history (China, Japan, Vietnam, India) at New York University, where I have been a professor since 1968. A brief history of my somewhat unusual academic career may be found in a 50-page memoir published via Amazon in 2020 together with an appendix containing a sampling of my short writings. It is titled Moss Roberts: A Journey to the East. The memoir but not the appendix is free via Researchgate. In addition, I have studied (and taught) the Chinese language for more than half a century, and published translations of classical works of literature and philosophy.   

Moss' book list on modern Asia

Moss Roberts Why did Moss love this book?

Important for Japan’s shifting policy in China, but also for the responses in China and in Russia.  Identifies key figures in the military responsible for war planning and their conflicts as well as the role of the emperor. This book emphasizes the twisting path toward Pearl Harbor and how it might have been avoided.

By Eri Hotta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pan-Asianism and Japan's War 1931-1945 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book explores the critical importance of Pan-Asianism in Japanese imperialism. Pan-Asianism was a cultural as well as political ideology that promoted Asian unity and recognition. The focus is on Pan-Asianism as a propeller behind Japan's expansionist policies from the Manchurian Incident until the end of the Pacific War.


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