100 books like The West Point Atlas of American Wars

By Vincent J. Esposito (editor),

Here are 100 books that The West Point Atlas of American Wars fans have personally recommended if you like The West Point Atlas of American Wars. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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 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 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 Korean War

James N. Butcher Author Of Korea: Traces of a Forgotten War

From my list on the Korean War from someone who served there.

Why am I passionate about this?

James Neal Butcher is a professor emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota. At age 17, he enlisted in the US Army during the Korean War. He served 2 years in a parachute infantry division (82nd Airborne). He volunteered for service in the Korean War and served one year as an infantry soldier in the 17th Infantry Regiment during the war including the battles for Jane Russell Hill in October 1952 and Pork Chop Hill in April 1953. In 2013 he published a memoir of his early life and his military experience Korea: Traces of a forgotten war. 

James' book list on the Korean War from someone who served there

James N. Butcher Why did James love this book?

Max Hasting’s book described the early days of the war, for example the actions of Task Force Smith. He provides a valuable perspective on the Korean War that includes an interesting balanced account of a war that is still considered by many to be controversial. Hastings considers the perspectives of all sides of the Korean conflict and examines the various motivations of their respective actions, such as the U.S. decision to send troops to Korea in September 1945, and to send them back in June 1950, to the Chinese decision to send their own troops into Korea in the fall of 1950.  He also provides a perspective on the important decision to participate in the signing of the armistice in July 1953.

By Max Hastings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Korean War is journalist and military historian Sir Max Hastings' compelling account of the forgotten war.

'The best narrative history of the Korean conflict' - Guardian

On 25 June 1950 the invasion of South Korea by the Communist North launched one of the bloodiest conflicts of the last century. The seemingly limitless power of the Chinese-backed North was thrown against the ferocious firepower of the UN-backed South in a war that can be seen today as the stark prelude to Vietnam.

Max Hastings draws on first-hand accounts of those who fought on both sides to produce this vivid and…


Book cover of Macarthur's Victory: The War in New Guinea, 1943-1944

John E. Happ Author Of The Navigation Case: Training, Flying and Fighting the 1942 to 1945 New Guinea War

From my list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up just north of Chicago, took courses at the University of Madrid (La Complutense), and graduated from Marquette University.  I speak 5 languages and have written for such diverse reviews as The Journal of the American Revolution and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. Nothing has possessed me like my father’s Navigation Case. Besides learning how this young college graduate helped pioneer the nascent aviation industry training in 11 different types of aircraft, I take pride in the astonishing role he played in American history. He was a combat pilot in the first-ever demonstration of air superiority over an enemy, leading to the greatest campaign victory in the history of the US Air Force. 

John's book list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea

John E. Happ Why did John love this book?

This book gave me a basic understanding of the New Guinea war into which my father was sent. It gave me the framework with which I could piece together the timeline of my father’s service. It gave me an idea of the progress of the war and a context for all of his military orders, his stacks of correspondence, and all of his photos, long stored away in his Navigation Case.

By Harry Gailey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A GREAT WARRIOR AT THE PEAK OF HIS POWERS

In March 1942, General Douglas MacArthur faced an enemy who, in the space of a few months, captured Malaya, Burma, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and, from their base at Raubaul in New Britain, threaten Australia. Upon his retreat to Australia, MacArthur hoped to find enough men and matérielfor a quick offensive against the Japanese. Instead, he had available to him only a small and shattered air force, inadequate naval support, and an army made up almost entirely of untried reservists.

Here is one of history’s most controversial commanders battling…


Book cover of Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II

Karen Whiting Author Of Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front

From my list on unknown facts about women American patriots.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for this topic is my background as a military wife, daughter, sister, niece, and mother of men and women who served. I'm also a descendant of men who fought in the American Revolution and women who remained strong on the home front. Moving around the country as a military wife and mother gave me an inside understanding of some of the hardships and difficulties faced by women throughout American history. It’s important to share how women helped shaped this country and supported the military men and women who fought for the freedoms we have and need to continue to preserve. I've been weaving in historical stories into my current devotional series and articles.

Karen's book list on unknown facts about women American patriots

Karen Whiting Why did Karen love this book?

Larkin has written several historical nonfiction books, especially in the Battlefield and Blessing series. His accuracy to history that shares the faith of the individuals and their stories makes reading about the war captivating. More than a researcher and author, Larkin is a decorated hero of the Vietnam War. He knows the struggles of war firsthand. My husband also served during Vietnam and my uncle served during the Korean war, so I find authors who lived what they write about have a special connection and depth in their writing.

By Larkin Spivey, Jocelyn Green,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The primary goal of Stories of Faith & Courage from World War II is to strengthen the faith of its readers by showing the power of others’ faith under the most extreme circumstances imaginable. This is accomplished through 365 one-page stories from America’s greatest conflict presented in a daily devotional format with relevant scripture readings for each day of the year. Additionally, the book presents a unique and concise history of World War II with summaries, maps, and photographs of the major campaigns of the war. On this level, the individual stories provide insights into the war and combat not…


Book cover of A Military History of Australia

Peter Stanley Author Of Bad Characters

From my list on Australian military history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Research Professor in history at UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy. I now mostly write on the military history of British India history but for 27 years I worked at the Australian War Memorial, Australia’s national military museum, where I became Principal Historian. Much of my career was devoted to Australian military history and more than half of my 40 or so books are in that field. That puts me in a good position to comment upon what I think are the five best books in the field of Australian military history (my own excepted, of course). 

Peter's book list on Australian military history

Peter Stanley Why did Peter love this book?

My late colleague at UNSW Canberra, Jeff Grey, wrote this important book at the age of just 31. The product of a military family, Jeff blossomed from a specialist in Commonwealth operations in the Korean war into the author of a confident, opinionated (but impressively well researched) general history that went through three editions before Jeff’s untimely death in 2016. Jeff deserves credit for seeing that despite the resurgence in interest in Australia’s military history over the 1980s, no one had spotted the need for a comprehensive book that showed us how the bits went together. Thirty years on, no one has bettered it.

By Jeffrey Grey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Military History of Australia provides a detailed chronological narrative of Australia's wars across more than two hundred years, set in the contexts of defence and strategic policy, the development of society and the impact of war and military service on Australia and Australians. It discusses the development of the armed forces as institutions and examines the relationship between governments and military policy. This book is a revised and updated edition of one of the most acclaimed overviews of Australian military history available. It is the only comprehensive, single-volume treatment of the role and development of Australia's military and their…


Book cover of The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947

Neal Thompson Author Of Reckoning: Vietnam and America's Cold War Experience, 1945-1991

From my list on America’s path through the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I entered the United States Army in August 1970, two months after graduation from high school, completed flight school on November 1971, and served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot in Troop F (Air), 8th US Cavalry, 1st Aviation Brigade. After my discharge, I served an additional 28 years as a helicopter pilot in the Illinois National Guard, retiring in 2003. I graduated from Triton Junior College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University Law School in 1981. My passion for this subject arises, as one would expect, from my status as a veteran. My expertise is based on my own experience and 16 years of research and writing that went into the preparation of my book.

Neal's book list on America’s path through the Cold War

Neal Thompson Why did Neal love this book?

Professor Cumings provides the most detailed, honest analysis of this country’s involvement in Korea from the end of World War II through the catastrophic war that virtually destroyed the entire Korean peninsula, left several million dead, and led this country directly into Vietnam. 

By Bruce Cumings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Description for this book, The Origins of the Korean War, Volume I: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947, will be forthcoming.


Book cover of In Time of War: Understanding American Public Opinion from World War II to Iraq

Matthew A. Baum Author Of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age

From my list on public opinion and foreign policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started my career in Washington D.C., where my first job involved conducting strategy meetings with senior civilian and military policy officials regarding potential military conflicts around the world. At the time I was struck by the extent to which senior policymakers worried about whether they would be able to garner and sustain public support for U.S. overseas military operations. This concern often dominated our meetings. It ultimately set me on my course as a scholar, where much of my work has focused on trying to understand what average people think about the world, why they believe what they do, and whether and how their attitudes affect leaders’ decision-making in crisis situations.

Matthew's book list on public opinion and foreign policy

Matthew A. Baum Why did Matthew love this book?

This is one of the most comprehensive books on the question of how Americans think about war. Berinsky reviews public opinion on every major war since World War II. He persuasively refutes most existing explanations for public opinion regarding these conflicts, while showing that Americans’ responses to foreign policy events are not really unique to foreign policy. Rather, Americans mostly respond to wars the way they respond to most other political issues. One of the most impressive aspects of the book is the vast trove of previously unknown public opinion data from World War II that Berinsky uncovers. This is a unique window into one of America’s defining military conflicts. We learn that, contrary to the received wisdom, Americans responded to World War II in much the same way as they did during more recent conflicts.

By Adam J. Berinsky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From World War II to the war in Iraq, periods of international conflict seem like unique moments in U.S. political history - but when it comes to public opinion, they are not. To make this ground breaking revelation, In "Time of War" explodes conventional wisdom about American reactions to World War II, as well as the more recent conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Adam J. Berinsky argues that public response to these crises has been shaped less by their defining characteristics - such as what they cost in lives and resources - than by the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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