Understanding War

Home » Sources


Sources on this page consist of websites, sources related to the theory of war, and sources relevant to the current application of strategic concepts.


  1. The RAND Corporation conducts detailed analysis on strategic and practical dilemmas encountered by military and foreign policy leaders. Many reports and books are available on their website free of charge.
  2. The Institute for the Study of War publishes daily situation reports for ongoing conflicts in the middle east.
  3. The Correlates of War Project has compiled an impressive database of information relating to armed conflict.
  4. The Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy regularly publishes scholarship pertaining to the study of terrorism and counterterrorism.
  5. Princeton University has sponsored Empirical Studies of Conflict, which compiles data and publishes reports pertinent to understanding armed conflict.
  6. The Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas regularly hosts events and compiles the work of various scholars.

Understanding War

  1. The Histories by Herodotus
  2. The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
  3. The Peloponnesian War by Stephen Lattimore
  4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  5. The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli
  6. On War by Carl von Clausewitz
  7. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Memoirs of General William Tecumseh Sherman
  9. Strategies of Containment by John Lewis Gaddis
  10. On Strategy: a Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War by Harry G. Summers Jr.
  11. A Better War by Lewis Sorley
  12. The Long Game by Derek Chollet
  13. Sustainable Security: Rethinking American National Security Strategy edited by Jeremi Suri
  14. Choosing to Lead produced by various authors under the John Hay Initiative
  15. The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power & The Necessity of Military Force by Eliot Cohen
  16. Vicksburg: 1863 by Winston Groom
  17. Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence was Fought by Michael Stephenson
  18. The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson

Understanding Diplomacy and Soft Power

  1. Just and Unjust Wars by Michael Walzer
  2. Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime by Eliot Cohen
  3. Henry Kissinger and The American Century by Jeremi Suri
  4. Assuming The Burden: Europe and The American Commitment to War in Vietnam by Mark Atwood Lawrence
  5. And The Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future by Yanis Varoufakis
  6. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis by Robert F. Kennedy
  7. The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and The End of The Cold War by James Graham Wilson
  8. The Violence of Peace by Stephen L. Carter
  9. Armed State Building by Paul Miller
  10. At War’s End: Building Peace After Conflict by Roland Paris
  11. Hostile Intent: U.S Covert Operations in Chile 1964-1974 by Kristian Gustafson
  12. Planning a Tragedy: The Americanization of the War in Vietnam by Larry Berman
  13. Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy Under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan by Henry Nau

Understanding the Contemporary Environment

  1. The World America Made by Robert Kagan
  2. A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne
  3. Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick
  4. Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror by Mary Habeck
  5. The Uses and Limits of Small Scale Military Interventions by Stephen Watts, Caroline Baxter, Molly Dunigan, and Christopher Rizzi
  6. America’s War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew Bacevich
  7. Battle of the Casbah: Counterterrorism and Torture by General Paul Aussaresses
  8. The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper
  9. The Places in Between by Rory Stewart
  10. In The Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan by Seth Jones
  11. Our Latest Longest War: Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan edited by Aaron O’Connell
  12. Not A Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda by Sean Naylor
  13. The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Thirty-year Conflict With Iran by David Crist
  14. The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia by Andrei Lankov
  15. Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific
  16. 34 Days: Israel Hezbollah and the War in Lebanon by Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
  17. My Share of the Task: A Memoir by General (retired) Stanley McChrystal
  18. The French War on Al’ Qaida in Africa by Steven Chivvis