89 books like The Art of War

By Sun Tzu, Thomas Cleary,

Here are 89 books that The Art of War fans have personally recommended if you like The Art of War. 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 Bugles and a Tiger: My Life in the Gurkhas

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?

John Masters grippingly tells of his life as a newly commissioned Subaltern in a Gurkha regiment, warts, and all. This book is especially valuable to new infantry platoon commanders, or anyone interested in the challenges of leading at the lowest levels. Masters is a consummate storyteller who takes the reader along with him in his personal journey of discovery as he learns about life, leadership, and the nature of war.

By John Masters,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bugles and a Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first of John Master's evocative memoirs about life in the Gurkhas in India on the cusp of WWII

John Masters was a soldier before he became a bestselling novelist. He went to Sandhurst in 1933 at the age of eighteen and was commissioned into the 4th Gurkha Rifles in time to take part in some of the last campaigns on the turbulent north-west frontier of India.

John Masters joined a Gurhka regiment on receiving his commission, and his depiction of garrison life and campaigning on the North-West Frontier has never been surpassed. BUGLES AND A TIGER is a matchless…


Book cover of The Defence of Duffer's Drift

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?

Swinton was a British Army Royal Engineer who developed the battle tank. He writes an insightful and often humorous account of the young Subaltern, Lieutenant Backsight-Forethought, who during a series of fitful dreams, repeatedly gets everyone under his command killed. Ultimately, (through multiple failed lives lived) he learns enough about small-unit infantry fighting tactics to successfully defend the fictional Duffer’s Drift during the Boer War. Although Captain (later Major General) Swinton published it as a fictional tale, his aim was to teach tactical lessons and to generate discussion and debate among Subalterns.

By Ernest Dunlop Swinton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ernest Dunlop Swinton is a military professional with experience in the Boer War who wrote this famous short book based on a series of thoughts he had on how an infantry unit with only 50 men could defend a river crossing. Through the perspective of a young Lieutenant, you are given the terrain features, the political situation, conflict with civilians and limits on your own military support. There is a brief history of the war with the "Dutch" and then your Lieutenant receives his assignment. With the use of maps, there are six scenarios of the Lieutenants approach to defending…


Book cover of Achtung-Panzer! The Development of Tank Warfare

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?

Guderian, a name that is synonymous with mechanized warfare started his career as a Signal Officer in WW I. He describes in great detail how the tank changed modern warfare. This book is not only the tale of how he fought to introduce armour tactics to the German army during the inter-war years but also how armour is best employed in battle. Every armour officer must read this book; but it is also worthwhile for the general reader looking for insights into tactical employments, leadership, and history.

By Heinz Guderian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Achtung-Panzer! The Development of Tank Warfare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is one of the most significant military books of the twentieth century. By an outstanding soldier of independent mind, it pushed forward the evolution of land warfare and was directly responsible for German armoured supremacy in the early years of the Second World War.

Published in 1937, the result of 15 years of careful study since his days on the German General Staff in the First World War, Achtung Panzer! argues how vital the proper use of tanks and supporting armoured vehicles would be in the conduct of a future war. When that war came, just two years later,…


Book cover of The Art of War in Western World

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?

If you are to be a serious student of war, warfare, and tactics, then you will need a general reference guide. This book should be your go-to reference for general knowledge on this subject. Jones elegantly combines three major components of war (tactics, strategy, and logistics) to explain the last 2,500 years of military history, from phalanxes in ancient Greece through to the Thirty Years’ War that shaped modern Europe. Well written and thoroughly researched, I have kept it on my desk for the last thirty years.

By Archer Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The magnum opus of one of America's most respected military historians, "The Art of War in the Western World" has earned its place as the standard work on how the three major operational components of war - tactics, logistics, and strategy - have evolved and changed over time. This monumental work encompasses 2,500 years of military history, from infantry combat in ancient Greece through the dissolution of the Roman Empire to the Thirty Years' War and from the Napoleonic campaigns through World War II, which Jones sees as the culmination of modern warfare, to the Israeli-Egyptian War of 1973".


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 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 Decoding Clausewitz: A New Approach to on 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?

This too often overlooked classic—written by my PhD advisor—not only explains why Clausewitz wrote his masterpiece but what he was trying to say. In doing so, Sumida breaks conventional understandings of both the great German military philosopher and the very subject of military history. Clausewitz and Sumida combine to eschew history limited to explaining outcomes by linearly tracing them back to their origins and instead advocate for narratives that reveal what the participants saw as their options in the moment and then contextualizes their choices and actions. It is this path that leads to knowledge gained through synthetic experience. Decoding Clausewitz is the single most influential work in my approach to military history.

By Jon Tetsuro Sumida,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For nearly two centuries, On War, by Carl Phillip Gottfried von Clausewitz (1780-1831), has been the bible for statesmen and military professionals, strategists, theorists, and historians concerned about armed conflict. The source of the famous aphorism that "war is an extension of politics by other means," it has been widely read and debated. But, as Jon Sumida shows in this daring new look at Clausewitz's magnum opus, its full meaning has eluded most readers-until now.

Approaching Clausewitz's classic as if it were an encoded text, Sumida deciphers this cryptic masterwork and offers a more productive way of looking at the…


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 A Clash of Kings

Mikayla Deely Author Of The Rise of Surge: Of Fire and Fate

From my list on ferocious and fantastic dragons.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve read books about dragons ever since I can remember. If I couldn’t read it, my dad read it to me. Outside of books, I’d seek out movies or shows with the magical beasts in them. I was a bit obsessed, really. From cruel-hearted and devious to kind-natured and intelligent, I was writing and reading about it all. My favorite, however, is dragons that are as smart as they are deadly. This reflects a lot in the books I chose, as they all contain some pretty ferocious dragons!

Mikayla's book list on ferocious and fantastic dragons

Mikayla Deely Why did Mikayla love this book?

I’ll be honest, I first found the books after watching the TV series Game of Thrones, but the books had so much more to offer I couldn’t help but fall in love with them. In A Clash of Kings, we get to see Daenerys and her three dragons as they struggle through a wasteland. Daenerys is determined to return to the land of her birth and claim her rightful place on the throne, and her dragons are an essential part of her story and her growth. Martin left a huge impact on me as a writer, and the three dragons from this book helped inspire me to write the powerful beasts in my own work.

By George R. R. Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE BOOK BEHIND THE SECOND SEASON OF GAME OF THRONES, AN ORIGINAL SERIES NOW ON HBO.

A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE: BOOK TWO
 
In this thrilling sequel to A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has created a work of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination. A Clash of Kings transports us to a world of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare unlike any we have ever experienced.
 
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for…


Book cover of The Just War Revisited

Vicente Medina Author Of Terrorism Unjustified: The Use and Misuse of Political Violence

From my list on terrorism and why it matters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and spent my childhood living under a tyrannical regime that indiscriminately used violence against innocent civilians. Such cruelty made a lasting impact on me. For the past thirty-two years, I have been teaching philosophy at Seton Hall University. Given my childhood experiences, I have chosen to write on issues related to social and political philosophy and applied ethics. After the catastrophic event of 9/11, I wondered about the motivations, explanations, justifications, or excuses for this kind of unprecedented act of war against civilians. I have spent a great deal of my research exploring the relationship between justified acts of war and terrorist acts.

Vicente's book list on terrorism and why it matters

Vicente Medina Why did Vicente love this book?

O’Donovan offers us a short but elegantly written book on just war from antiquity to the present. He convincingly argues in favor of the foundational role that religious and theological ideas going back to St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas play in the development of a Christian just war approach. He underscores that what we have come to understand as “just war theory” is a misnomer. There is no such thing as just war theory but rather a proposal of practical reason to develop good judgments in the light of armed conflict or war. The backbone of these good judgments is that the deliberate killing of innocent noncombatants is never morally justified. This prohibition remains constant whether we are dealing with counterinsurgency, the development and use of weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism. 

By Oliver O'Donovan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leading political theologian Oliver O'Donovan here takes a fresh look at some traditional moral arguments about war. Modern Christians differ widely on this issue. A few hold that absolute pacifism is the only viable Christian position, others subscribe in various ways to concepts of 'just war' developed out of a Western tradition that arose from the legacies of Augustine and Aquinas, while others still adopt more pragmatically realist postures. Professor O'Donovan re-examines questions of contemporary urgency including the use of biological and nuclear weapons, military intervention, economic sanctions, war crimes trials and the roles of the Geneva Convention, international conventions…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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