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A Nerd’s Guide to Military Strategy: Top 10 Must-Reads

Bologna on 2023-09-15T22:43:00.000+02:00
by Angelo Reale
tags: strategy

Hello, fellow strategy enthusiasts! 🤓 Before we dive into my curated list of military strategy literature, a personal anecdote is in order.

Growing up, my relationship with my father was distant, a chasm I often wished to bridge.

My father has died recently, but one undeniable influence he had on my life and readings stemmed from his intriguing associations with ABIN, Brazil’s counterpart to the CIA.

This exposure, albeit indirect, kindled my fascination with the intricate dance of geopolitics, espionage, and military strategy.

Now, as someone who eagerly consumes every tidbit on the subject (and thinks Sun Tzu’s maxims make for riveting dinner conversation), his shelve didn’t escape this craving, and so I want to share with you my top 10 must-reads on this captivating topic.

Without further ado, let’s embark on this strategic journey!

1. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu
An age-old classic that feels as fresh as ever. Sun Tzu’s timeless wisdom resonates even today, not just in warfare but in business, sports, and daily life. Fun fact: I’ve quoted Sun Tzu at least 3 times at dinner parties!
2. “On War” by Carl von Clausewitz
Heavy reading, but oh-so-rewarding. Clausewitz delves into the very nature of war itself. I may or may not have tried (unsuccessfully) to start a book club around this one.
3. “A Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi
Written by a legendary swordsman, it’s a beautifully philosophical look at combat strategy. Plus, the parallels with martial arts make it doubly fascinating for me!
4. “Strategy: A History” by Lawrence Freedman
A mammoth book covering the vast spectrum of strategic thinking. It’s like taking a journey from ancient battles to modern boardrooms. And yes, I have taken notes.
5. “History of the Peloponnesian War” by Thucydides
An ancient work that reads like a modern thriller. It’s not just a chronicle of war but also a deep dive into human psychology and statecraft.
6. “The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783” by Alfred Thayer Mahan
As a fan of naval strategy, this one’s close to my heart. It opened my eyes to how naval dominance can shape world events.
7. “Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age” edited by Peter Paret
A smorgasbord of essays that offer a buffet of strategic insights. Perfect for those who love to jump between eras and ideas.
8. “The Face of Battle” by John Keegan
This one’s for the empath in all of us. Seeing battle from the perspective of the foot soldier? Groundbreaking and heartrending.
9. “Air Power and Armies” by J.F.C. Fuller
For the aviation nerds out there (like me), Fuller’s analysis of the role of airpower is a thrilling read.
10. “Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice” by David Galula
Last but not least, a deep dive into the complex world of counterinsurgency. A poignant reminder that warfare isn’t just about grand battles but also the subtle art of winning hearts and minds.

In conclusion, military strategy isn’t just about battles and tactics; it’s a reflection of human nature, politics, and history. Each of these books has expanded my horizons in different ways. If you’re as obsessed with strategy as I am, I hope you’ll find these recommendations enlightening. Dive in, and may your strategic insights be ever sharp!