100 books like Studies in Generalship

By Meir Finkel,

Here are 100 books that Studies in Generalship fans have personally recommended if you like Studies in Generalship. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA

Yakov Ben-Haim Author Of The Dilemmas of Wonderland: Decisions in the Age of Innovation

From my list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired university professor. My research, in which I am still actively engaged, deals with decision-making under deep uncertainty: how to make a decision, or design a project, or plan an operation when major relevant factors are unknown or highly uncertain. I developed a decision theory called info-gap theory that grapples with this challenge, and is applied around the world in many fields, including engineering design, economics, medicine, national security, biological conservation, and more.

Yakov's book list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on

Yakov Ben-Haim Why did Yakov love this book?

This is an interesting collection of essays on the history of the CIA.

A spy agency thrives on deceit and uncertainty, making plans and taking actions when the adversary also thrives on those same elements.

Arranged in chronological order, the essays cover nearly 20 different incidents, describing the challenges, uncertainties, goals, and decisions made by both high-level political decision-makers and practitioners in the field.

Topics covered include early stages in the development of the CIA (founded in 1947), including covert action against the Soviet Union in the 1950s, the Bay of Pigs (1961), the Iran-Contra affair (mid-1980s), up to more recent events with bin Laden, fake news, and more.

By Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Question of Standing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Question of Standing deals with recognizable events that have shaped the history of the first 75 years of the CIA. Unsparing in its accounts of dirty tricks and their consequences, it values the agency's intelligence and analysis work to offer balanced judgements that avoid both celebration and condemnation of the CIA.

The mission of the CIA, derived from U-1 in World War I more than from World War II's OSS, has always been intelligence. Seventy-five years ago, in the year of its creation, the National Security Act gave the agency, uniquely in world history up to that point, a…


Book cover of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Yakov Ben-Haim Author Of The Dilemmas of Wonderland: Decisions in the Age of Innovation

From my list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired university professor. My research, in which I am still actively engaged, deals with decision-making under deep uncertainty: how to make a decision, or design a project, or plan an operation when major relevant factors are unknown or highly uncertain. I developed a decision theory called info-gap theory that grapples with this challenge, and is applied around the world in many fields, including engineering design, economics, medicine, national security, biological conservation, and more.

Yakov's book list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on

Yakov Ben-Haim Why did Yakov love this book?

The world is complicated and confusing, but Harari organizes this complexity into 21 issues covering such diverse topics as liberty, community, war, ignorance, and meaning.

The book is a collection of self-standing essays that can be read independently. The prevailing message is that we can understand the world in which we live, though, at the same time, we cannot always make reliable decisions today or confidently predict the future because we fundamentally don't know what's going on.

Finally, the book offers a warning: modern technology, coupled with artificial intelligence, may challenge human freedom if we lose control of the powerful and evolving forces of hi-tech and AI.

By Yuval Noah Harari,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 21 Lessons for the 21st Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER**

In twenty-one bite-sized lessons, Yuval Noah Harari explores what it means to be human in an age of bewilderment.

How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news or the threat of terrorism? What should we teach our children?

The world-renowned historian and intellectual Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today's most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant…


Book cover of Hannibal: Rome's Greatest Enemy

Yakov Ben-Haim Author Of The Dilemmas of Wonderland: Decisions in the Age of Innovation

From my list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired university professor. My research, in which I am still actively engaged, deals with decision-making under deep uncertainty: how to make a decision, or design a project, or plan an operation when major relevant factors are unknown or highly uncertain. I developed a decision theory called info-gap theory that grapples with this challenge, and is applied around the world in many fields, including engineering design, economics, medicine, national security, biological conservation, and more.

Yakov's book list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on

Yakov Ben-Haim Why did Yakov love this book?

This is a very readable account of Hannibal and his exploits, though it’s perhaps a somewhat idealized, romantic, and heroic portrayal of the man. Nonetheless it’s a great read.

The book follows Hannibal’s many military exploits in Carthage, Sicily, Spain, and many more, up to Cannae, Rome, and his ultimate fall from power and exile.

One sees the continual tension between three factors: Hannibal’s military genius in making military decisions despite deep uncertainty about his own capabilities and about the adversary's intentions, the military genius of his opponents, and the ruthless hand of uncertainty in human history. Hannibal’s life illustrates all three factors.

By Philip Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Telling the story of a man who stood against the overwhelming power of the mighty Roman empire, Hannibal is the biography of a man who, against all odds, dared to change the course of history.

Over two thousand years ago one of the greatest military leaders in history almost destroyed Rome. Hannibal, a daring African general from the city of Carthage, led an army of warriors and battle elephants over the snowy Alps to invade the very heart of Rome's growing empire. But what kind of person would dare to face the most relentless imperial power of the ancient world?…


Book cover of The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000

Yakov Ben-Haim Author Of The Dilemmas of Wonderland: Decisions in the Age of Innovation

From my list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired university professor. My research, in which I am still actively engaged, deals with decision-making under deep uncertainty: how to make a decision, or design a project, or plan an operation when major relevant factors are unknown or highly uncertain. I developed a decision theory called info-gap theory that grapples with this challenge, and is applied around the world in many fields, including engineering design, economics, medicine, national security, biological conservation, and more.

Yakov's book list on making decisions when you don’t know what’s going on

Yakov Ben-Haim Why did Yakov love this book?

The author presents a reasoned rational explanation of historical events: Agents act rationally from self-interest. History makes sense.

As I read the book, I was challenged to ask: how rational is human behavior? What does rationality mean in a world that we hardly understand because it is fraught with uncertainty?

Uncertainty and surprise are important in history: What will be the next revolutionary invention? Who will be the next charismatic leader? What new ideology will sweep away conventions? Does history really make sense? Can we really make rational decisions when we face deep uncertainty about the world?

By William H. McNeill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this magnificent synthesis of military, technological, and social history, William H. McNeill explores a whole millennium of human upheaval and traces the path by which we have arrived at the frightening dilemmas that now confront us. McNeill moves with equal mastery from the crossbow-banned by the Church in 1139 as too lethal for Christians to use against one another-to the nuclear missile, from the sociological consequences of drill in the seventeenth century to the emergence of the military-industrial complex in the twentieth. His central argument is that a commercial transformation of world society in the eleventh century caused military…


Book cover of Foch in Command: The Forging of a First World War General

Nick Lloyd Author Of The Western Front: A History of the Great War, 1914-1918

From my list on the Western Front of WW1 and what it was like.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nick Lloyd is Professor of Modern Warfare at King's College London, based at the Defence Academy UK in Shrivenham, Wiltshire. He is the author of five books, including Passchendaele: A New History, which was a Sunday Times bestseller, and most recently, The Western Front: A History of the First World War. He lives with his family in Cheltenham.

Nick's book list on the Western Front of WW1 and what it was like

Nick Lloyd Why did Nick love this book?

This is a magisterial biography of Ferdinand Foch, the man who would become Allied Generalissimo in 1918. Greenhalgh traces the development of one of France’s foremost soldiers, who overcame setbacks and trials, including the death of his only son in 1914, to guide the forces of the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and the United States to victory in 1918. Based upon meticulous research, this helped resurrect Foch’s reputation and place him, once more, at the centre of military histories of the Western Front. He emerges as a man of great courage, endless optimism, and a real understanding of what could, and could not, be achieved on the battlefield.

By Elizabeth Greenhalgh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ferdinand Foch ended the First World War as Marshal of France and supreme commander of the Allied armies on the Western Front. Foch in Command is a pioneering study of his contribution to the Allied victory. Elizabeth Greenhalgh uses contemporary notebooks, letters and documents from previously under-studied archives to chart how the artillery officer, who had never commanded troops in battle when the war began, learned to fight the enemy, to cope with difficult colleagues and allies, and to manoeuvre through the political minefield of civil-military relations. She offers valuable insights into neglected questions: the contribution of unified command to…


Book cover of American Warlords: How Roosevelt's High Command Led America to Victory in World War II

Iwan W. Morgan Author Of FDR: Transforming the Presidency and Renewing America

From my list on why FDR was the greatest American president.

Why am I passionate about this?

I consider FDR the greatest of all presidents for leading America with distinction in the domestic crisis of the Great Depression and the foreign crisis of World War 2 and creating the modern presidency that survives today in the essential form he established. I have written books on Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan during fifty years as a US history professor in UK universities. I always intended to write a book about how FDR reinvented the presidency that these Republicans inherited, something I finally did in ‘retirement’. My five chosen books explain the challenging times he faced and the leadership skills he displayed in meeting them.     

Iwan's book list on why FDR was the greatest American president

Iwan W. Morgan Why did Iwan love this book?

This is an intimate account of the collaboration between the quartet who led America to victory in World War II: FDR, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Army Chief of Staff George Marshall, and Commander-in-Chief of the US Fleet Admiral Ernest King. The four sometimes disagreed: the military men initially worried that FDR sought to shape war strategy for political purposes; the president overruled their preference for an Anglo-American invasion of Nazi-occupied France in 1943, something he considered premature. Far more often, the quartet set aside personal, political, and professional differences to pull the nation through its darkest days of the twentieth century. Superbly researched and written, this book offers illuminating commentary on how wars are won.

By Jonathan W. Jordan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author Jonathan W. Jordan—author of Brothers, Rivals, Victors—comes the intimate true story of President Franklin Roosevelt’s inner circle of military leadership, the team of rivals who shaped World War II and America.

“Superbly written, well researched, and highly interesting.”—Jean Edward Smith, New York Times bestselling author of FDR and Eisenhower in War and Peace 

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States was wakened from its slumber of isolationism. To help him steer the nation through the coming war, President Franklin Roosevelt turned to the greatest “team of rivals” since the days of Lincoln:…


Book cover of It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

Gary DePaul Author Of Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership: A Guide for Inspiring Creativity, Innovation, and Engagement

From my list on contemporary leadership books that guide us in the new normal.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2014, I was laid off from my management role at Lowe’s Home Improvement. Instead of starting another job, I took several months to reflect on my leadership experiences and researched how leadership has evolved in the 21st Century. Based on a detailed analysis of 14 books, including the five I recommend, I wrote my first book that explains how to practice 21st-century leadership (now in its second edition). After publishing, I’ve written another leadership book, several blogs, and have been a keynote speaker. I now host the Unlabeled Leadership Podcast, which helps listeners learn how everyday people practice leadership.

Gary's book list on contemporary leadership books that guide us in the new normal

Gary DePaul Why did Gary love this book?

If you are like me and want to figure out how to help your team become unstuck, you are not alone!

Through his real-life journey, you’ll discover how Captain Abrashoff transformed the crew of the USS Benfold from being low in morale and underperforming to one of the most engaged and high-performing crew in the Navy! I found his story impressively illustrates behaviors that anyone can adopt to build a team’s culture.

After reading the book, I had the privilege of meeting Abrashoff and hearing him talk about his Navy experience, which exemplified the value of his book even more. Abrashoff’s examples and stories can be your call to action that helps you transform a group of employees into a high-performing team!

By Michael Abrashoff,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked It's Your Ship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of Captain D. Michael Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold has become legendary inside and outside the Navy. Now Abrashoff offers this fascinating tale of top-down change for anyone trying to navigate today's uncertain business seas. When Captain Abrashoff took over as commander of USS Benfold, a ship armed with every cutting-edge system available, it was like a business that had all the latest technology but only some of the productivity. Knowing that responsibility for improving performance rested with him, he realized he had to improve his own leadership skills before he could improve his ship. Within…


Book cover of Autumn of the Black Snake: George Washington, Mad Anthony Wayne, and the Invasion That Opened the West

Peter Cozzens Author Of Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation

From my list on the American Indian Wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired Foreign Service Officer with the U. S. Department of State and, more to the point for the purpose of the topic at hand, the author or editor of eighteen books on the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Among them is the bestselling, multiple award-winning The Earth is Weeping: The Indian Wars for the American West.

Peter's book list on the American Indian Wars

Peter Cozzens Why did Peter love this book?

The bloodiest and most decisive Indian wars occurred not in the American West but in the Ohio Valley shortly after the United States gained its independence. The little known struggles with the formidable tribes of the Midwest opened the way for westward expansion. Autumn of the Black Snake is a scrupulously balanced account of what is sometimes called President George Washington’s Indian War, enhanced with an intriguing recounting of the often dirty policies behind the creation of the United States Army. Author William Hogeland also offers engaging portraits of towering but largely forgotten Indian leaders such as Little Turtle and Blue Jacket and their peoples. Read this book before turning to the Indian Wars in the West.

By William Hogeland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Autumn of the Black Snake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

William Hogeland's Autumn of the Black Snake presents forgotten story of how the U.S. Army was created to fight a crucial Indian war.

When the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, the newly independent United States savored its victory and hoped for a great future. And yet the republic soon found itself losing an escalating military conflict on its borderlands. In 1791, years of skirmishes, raids, and quagmire climaxed in the grisly defeat of American militiamen by a brilliantly organized confederation of Shawnee, Miami, and Delaware Indians. With nearly one thousand U.S. casualties, this was the worst defeat the nation would…


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 The Commander's Dilemma: Violence and Restraint in Wartime

Leigh Binford Author Of From Popular to Insurgent Intellectuals: Peasant Catechists in the Salvadoran Revolution

From my list on violence and restraint in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an anthropologist, trained in political economy, who began doing fieldwork in southern Mexico in the early 1980s. While there, Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees were flowing into the area from Chiapas. I visited El Salvador in 1986 and in 1991 made several trips to an FMLN-controlled area. After the war ended I made nine field trips to northern Morazán, the last in 2012. My interests in catechists and liberation theology developed early on as I sought to reconstruct the region’s pre-war history. I wrote one book on the El Mozote massacre and am currently working on a third book on the area.

Leigh's book list on violence and restraint in wartime

Leigh Binford Why did Leigh love this book?

Green investigates The Commander’s Dilemma in the Salvadoran Revolution through a combination of questionnaires with ex-combatants from the FMLN and government forces, interviews, documents, and secondary resources. She argues that all military commanders everywhere confront the dilemma of ensuring that troops are skilled in meting out violence but that they reign in their violent tendencies so as to respect the human rights of civilians and adversaries that have been wounded and captured. The rebel FMLN educated its troops far more than the government military and according to the United Nations and other organizations committed but a small percentage of the wartime human rights violations.

By Amelia Hoover Green,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Commander's Dilemma as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why do some military and rebel groups commit many types of violence, creating an impression of senseless chaos, whereas others carefully control violence against civilians? A classic catch-22 faces the leaders of armed groups and provides the title for Amelia Hoover Green's book. Leaders need large groups of people willing to kill and maim-but to do so only under strict control. How can commanders control violence when fighters who are not under direct supervision experience extraordinary stress, fear, and anger? The Commander's Dilemma argues that discipline is not enough in wartime. Restraint occurs when fighters know why they are fighting…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Israel, military officers, and Jewish history?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Israel, military officers, and Jewish history.

Israel Explore 107 books about Israel
Military Officers Explore 48 books about military officers
Jewish History Explore 457 books about Jewish history