Essential Military Reading Pt1 Top 10 Books from the World’s Militaries

This is the first of two videos revealing the Top Ten Books the World’s military’s recommend to their officers, NCOs and enlisted forces to read, study, and learn from.

This essential list is based on my research into the global phenomenon of the ‘professional military reading list’. These educational tools are used by armies, air forces, navies across the world to encourage and support the development of broad and deep professional knowledge of the military arts and sciences in the current and future cohorts of military professionals. I collected and analysed nearly 70 of these reading lists from services and armed forces across Asia, Oceania, the Americas and Europe, crunched a bunch of data, and came up with, among other things, the most authoritative ‘essential readings’ list you’ll likely find for military professional development.

All the academic papers and data behind this list are freely available through

#10 is Martin Van Creveld’s Command in War. Do read this provocative thought leader’s blog at
#9 is Supreme Command by Eliot Cohen. Follow for a take from Cohen on supplying advice to strategic leaders.
#8 is Masters of War by Michael Handel. A review of this classic by Eliot Cohen is at
#7 is The Mask of Command by John Keegan. Check out the great television series “Soldiers’ based on the work of Keegan and Richard Holmes at
#6 is We Were Soldiers Once and Young by Harold Moore and James Galloway. Wow! Check out and and and

ReadingforWisdom is a YouTube channel aimed at exploring some of the ideas around the idea of books as a timeless technology, essential for our intellectual evolution as a species. Considering ‘books’ can and will take us in all sorts of intellectual journeys but the channel does have a natural bias towards discussions about books, their ideas and authors who focus on history, warfare, politics, culture, science and the human condition (ok, most things that matter then). The videos will explore the history of religion but, unlike much content on the web referring to ‘wisdom’, it is a thoroughly secular enterprise, the editor a lifelong religious sceptic.

The channel is a companion to, a site curated by Dr Emmet McElhatton to modestly add to what Robert Maynard Hutchings, Chicago academic, Editor-in-Chief of the Great Books of the Western World series and, with colleague Mortimer Adler, founder of the Great Books movement, described as the ‘great conversation’ of history; the dialogue created through the exchange of ideas through the medium of published writings. While the material on is grounded in rigorous study, the product of lifelong reading, we hope to provide, and recommend, material that is accessible, stimulating and free from unnecessary academic stylings.

This series of videos are filmed and edited by Caleb McClure. Music is supplied by



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