Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History


Lee Harris - 2004
    Free Press, 2004.

The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America


Daniel Benjamin - 2002
    Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon trace the growth of radical Islam from its medieval origins and, drawing on their years of counter-terrorism work at the National Security Council, provide essential insights into the thinking of Usama bin Laden and his followers. With unique authority, they analyze why America was unable to defend itself against this revolutionary threat on September 11, 2001, why bin Laden’s apocalyptic creed is gaining ground in the Islamic world, and what the United States must do to stop the new terror.

The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End


Peter W. Galbraith - 2006
    The USA invaded Iraq with grand ambitions to bring democracy & thereby transform the Middle East. Instead, Iraq has disintegrated into three constituent components: a pro-western Kurdistan in the north, an Iran-dominated Shiite entity in the south & a chaotic Sunni Arab region in the center. The country is plagued by insurgency & is in the opening phases of a potentially catastrophic civil war. George W. Bush broke up Iraq when he ordered its invasion in '03. The USA not only removed Saddam Hussein, it also smashed & later dissolved the institutions by which Iraq's Sunni Arab minority ruled: its army, its security services & the Baath Party. With these institutions gone & irreplaceable, the basis of an Iraqi state has disappeared. This book describes the administration's strategic miscalculations behind the war as well as the blunders of the occupation. There was the failure to understand the intensity of ethnic & religious divisions. This was followed by incoherent & inconsistent strategies for governing, the failure to spend money for reconstruction, the misguided effort to create a national army & police, then the turning over of the country's management to Republican political loyalists rather than qualified professionals. As a matter of morality the Iraqi Kurds are no less entitled to independence than are Lithuanians, Croatians or Palestinians. If the country's majority Shiites want to run their own affairs, or even have their own state, on what democratic principle should they be denied? If the price of a unified Iraq is another dictatorship it's too high a price to pay. The USA must focus now, not on preserving or forging a unified Iraq, but on avoiding a spreading civil war. It must accept the reality of Iraq's breakup & work with Iraq's Shiites, Kurds & Sunni Arabs to strengthen the already semi-independent regions. If they're properly constituted, these regions can provide security, tho not all will be democratic. There's no easy exit from Iraq. We have to relinquish present strategy--trying to build national institutions when there is in fact no nation. That effort is doomed. It will only leave the USA with an open-ended commitment in circumstances of uncontrollable turmoil. Galbraith has been in Iraq many times over the last 21 years during historic turning points for the country: the Iran-Iraq War, the Kurdish genocide, the '91 uprising, the immediate aftermath of the '03 war & the writing of Iraq's constitutions. In The End of Iraq, he offers 1sthand observations of the men who are now Iraq's leaders. He draws on his nearly two decades of involvement in Iraq policy working for the US government to appraise what has occurred & what will happen. This book is a definitive account of the war & its ramifications.

Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan


Scott Horton - 2017
    I highly recommend this excellent book on America’s futile and self-defeating occupation of Afghanistan.” — Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower and author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner“The real story of the disastrous U.S. war in Afghanistan must be written so that future generations may understand the folly of Washington’s warmongers. Scott Horton’s Afghan war history is an important contribution to this vital effort.” — Ron Paul, M.D., former U.S. congressman and author of Swords into Plowshares: A Life in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity“Scott Horton’s, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, is a definitive, authoritative and exceptionally well-resourced accounting of America’s disastrous war in Afghanistan since 2001. Scott’s book deserves not just to be read, but to be kept on your shelf, because as with David Halberstam’s The Best and Brightest or Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie, I expect Horton’s book to not just explain and interpret a current American war, but to explain and interpret the all too predictable future American wars, and the unavoidable waste and suffering that will accompany them.” — Capt. Matthew Hoh, USMC (ret.), former senior State Department official, Zabul Province, Afghanistan, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy“Fool’s Errand is a hidden history of America’s forgotten war, laid bare in damning detail. Scott Horton masterfully retells the story of America’s failed intervention, exposes how Obama’s troop surge did not bring Afghanistan any closer to peace, and warns that the conflict could go on in perpetuity — unless America ends the war. As Trump threatens to send more troops to Afghanistan, Horton shows why the answer to a brutal civil war is not more war, which makes Fool’s Errand a scintillating and sorely needed chronicle of the longest war in American history.” — Anand Gopal, journalist and author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes“Scott Horton’s new book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan has a title that tells you where it is going, but to think that is all it is about would be to sell short a comprehensive work that takes the reader on a long journey starting in the 1980s. Indeed, if there were a university course on what went wrong with Afghanistan, starting with Ronald Reagan’s Holy Warriors and continuing with George W. Bush’s ouster of the Taliban leading to 15 years of feckless nation building, this book could well serve as the textbook. Horton provides insights into key decision-making along the way as he meticulously documents the dreadful series of misadventures that have brought us to the latest surge, which will fail just like all the others. The book is highly recommended both for readers who already know a lot about Afghanistan as well as for those who want to learn the basics about America’s longest war.” — Philip Giraldi, former CIA and DIA officer, executive director of the Council for the National Interest

No Worse Enemy: The Inside Story of the Chaotic Struggle for Afghanistan


Ben Anderson - 2011
    Including interviews with military top brass, from commanding officers to General Petreaus himself, this book reveals the disturbing chasm between official rhetoric and the situation on the ground.Informed by more than 300 hours of firsthand frontline footage with the U.S. Marines, documentary filmmaker Anderson (HBO's "The Battle for Marjah") provides a gripping account of the Afghanistan war in Helmand province.

A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind


Martin van Creveld - 2015
    But in the approximately 2,327 years that separated Man’s two most famous works of military tactics and strategy, a considerable number of less well-known works were published. Some, such as those written by Vauban and Douhet, were focused on specific aspects of war, while others like Onasander and Jomini wrote works that were more general in nature. But all of them were written with the objective of permitting generals and other leaders of men to wage war more effectively. There are few better suited to write the history of strategy and military thought than Dr. Martin van Creveld, who has himself been a significant contributor to the literature of war. A Professor Emeritus at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Dr. van Creveld is one of the world’s leading writers on military history and strategy, with a special interest in the future of war. He is fluent in Hebrew, German, Dutch, and English, and has authored more than twenty books, including the influential Technology and War: 2000 BC to the Present (1988), The Transformation of War (1991), and The Culture of War (2010). He is known for his development of the concept of “nontrinitarian” warfare as well as contributing two books to the 4GW canon. Featuring a foreword by Dr. Jerrry Pournelle, A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind begins with the Chinese military literature, then reviews the Greek, Roman and Byzantine works before proceeding to the Middle Ages. From Machiavelli and Montecuccoli to Guibert and Frederick the Great, van Creveld chronicles the gradual transition from medieval to Napoleonic warfare. Subsequent chapters delve into the literature of naval warfare, including Mahan and Corbett, then examine the works of the leading strategists of the early 20th century, including Moltke, Liddell Hart, and Ludendorff. The final chapter considers the modern strategists behind such concepts as Mutually Assured Destruction, terrorism, insurgency, and 4th Generation War. This brief, but wide-ranging history is an effective education in military thought. It is an excellent introduction to the various strategic works for the neophyte, and an illuminating summary of them for armchair and professional experts alike. Van Creveld not only describes each thinker and his most important contributions, but explains how one conceptual advancement led to another, and in doing so, makes it eminently clear why Sun Tzu and Clausewitz are so universally well-regarded by theoreticians and practitioners of war alike.

American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character


Diana West - 2013
    In American Betrayal, West digs deeper to discover the root of this malaise and uncovers a body of lies that Americans have been led to regard as the near-sacred history of World War II and its Cold War aftermath.Part real-life thriller, part national tragedy, American Betrayal lights up the massive, Moscow-directed penetration of America's most hallowed halls of power, revealing not just the familiar struggle between Communism and the Free World, but the hidden war between those wishing to conceal the truth and those trying to expose the increasingly official web of lies.American Betrayal is America's lost history, a chronicle that pits Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight David Eisenhower, and other American icons who shielded overlapping Communist conspiracies against the investigators, politicians, defectors, and others (including Senator Joseph McCarthy) who tried to tell the American people the truth.American Betrayal shatters the approved histories of an era that begins with FDR's first inauguration, when "happy days" are supposed to be here again, and ends when we "win" the Cold War. It is here, amid the rubble, where Diana West focuses on the World War II--Cold War deal with the devil in which America surrendered her principles in exchange for a series of Big Lies whose preservation soon became the basis of our leaders' own self-preservation. It was this moral surrender to deception and self-deception, West argues, that sent us down the long road to moral relativism, "political correctness," and other cultural ills that have left us unable to ask the hard questions: Does our silence on the crimes of Communism explain our silence on the totalitarianism of Islam? Is Uncle Sam once again betraying America?In American Betrayal, Diana West shakes the historical record to bring down a new understanding of our past, our present, and how we have become a nation unable to know truth from lies.

1001 Nights in Iraq: The Shocking Story of an American Forced to Fight for Saddam Against the Country He Loves


Shant Kenderian - 2005
    But then Saddam Hussein invaded Iran and sealed off Iraq's borders to every man of military age -- including Shant. Suddenly forced onto the front lines, his two-week visit turned into a nightmare that lasted for ten years. 1001 Nights in Iraq presents a human story that provides unique insight into a country and culture that we only get a hint of in the headlines. After surviving the horrors of the Iran-Iraq War, Shant was then forced to fight on the front lines of Desert Storm without being given the proper equipment, including a gun, but miraculously survived to be captured by the Americans and become a POW. He underwent starvation, heavy interrogations, and solitary confinement, but what broke him in the end was his love affair with a female American soldier. Yet throughout this whole ordeal, Shant never lost his respect for people, his faith in God, or his sense of humor.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism


Paul Kengor - 2017
    What's not to like? Too many young Americans are supporting communism. Millennials prefer socialism to capitalism, and 25 percent have a positive view of Lenin. One in four Americans believe that George W. Bush killed more people than Josef Stalin. And 69 percent of Millennials would vote for a socialist for president.They ought to know better. Communism is the most dangerous idea in world history, producing dire poverty, repression, and carnage wherever it has been tried. And no wonder—because communism flatly denies morality, human nature, and basic facts. But it's always going to be different this time. In The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, renowned scholar and bestselling author Paul Kengor unmasks communism, exposing the blood-drenched history—and dangerously pervasive influence—of the world's worst ideology.

American Heritage History of the American Revolution


Bruce Lancaster - 2014
    . . . Bruce Lancaster's text is terse, rapid, lucid, and dramatic . . . filled with the color and excitement of a grim and bloody war." – The New York Times The American Heritage History of the American Revolution is the complete chronicle of the Revolutionary War told in full detail. Lancaster starts his story with an examination of colonial society and the origins of the quarrel with England. He details the ensuing battles and military campaigns from Lexington and Concord to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, as well as the tense political and social situation of the new nation. The American Heritage History of the American Revolution details the birth of America with insight and depth.

On Thermonuclear War


Herman Kahn - 1960
    It is iconoclastic, crosses disciplinary boundaries, and finally it is calm and compellingly reasonable. The book was widely read on both sides of the Iron Curtain and the result was serious revision in both Western and Soviet strategy and doctrine. As a result, both sides were better able to avoid disaster during the Cold War.The strategic concepts still apply: defense, local animosities, and the usual balance-of-power issues are still very much with us. Kahn's stated purpose in writing this book was simply: "avoiding disaster and buying time, without specifying the use of this time." By the late 1950s, with both sides H-bomb-armed, reason and time were in short supply.Kahn, a military analyst at Rand since 1948, understood that a defense based only on thermonuclear arnaments was inconceivable, morally questionable, and not credible.The book was the first to make sense of nuclear weapons. Originally created from a series of lectures, it provides insight into how policymakers consider such issues. One may agree with Kahn or disagree with him on specific issues, but he clearly defined the terrain of the argument. He also looks at other weapons of mass destruction such as biological and chemical, and the history of their use.The Cold War is over, but the nuclear genie is out of the bottle, and the lessons and principles developed in On Thermonuclear War apply as much to today's China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea as they did to the Soviets.

The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East


Jay Solomon - 2014
    Through a combination of economic sanctions, global diplomacy, and intelligence work, successive U.S. administrations have struggled to contain Iran's aspirations to become a nuclear power and dominate the region--what many view as the most serious threat to peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran has used regional instability to its advantage to undermine America's interests. The Iran Wars is an absorbing account of a battle waged on many levels--military, financial, and covert.Jay Solomon's book is the product of extensive in-depth reporting and interviews with all the key players in the conflict--from high-ranking Iranian officials to Secretary of State John Kerry and his negotiating team. With a reporter's masterly investigative eye and the narrative dexterity of a great historian, Solomon shows how Iran's nuclear development went unnoticed for years by the international community only to become its top security concern. He catalogs the blunders of both the Bush and Obama administrations as they grappled with how to engage Iran, producing a series of both carrots and sticks. And he takes us inside the hotel suites where the 2015 nuclear agreement was negotiated, offering a frank assessment of the uncertain future of the U.S.-Iran relationship.This is a book rife with revelations, from the secret communications between the Obama administration and the Iranian government to dispatches from the front lines of the new field of financial warfare. For readers of Steve Coll's Ghost Wars and Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower, The Iran Wars exposes the hidden history of a conflict most Americans don't even realize is being fought, but whose outcome could have far-reaching geopolitical implications.Praise for The Iran Wars "The use of the word 'wars, ' plural, in the title of this illuminating book tells the story: U.S.-Iranian relations have been troubled for many years. This deeply researched account of negotiations and their implications makes an important contribution to understanding the short- and long-term consequences of how we manage this difficult relationship."--George P. Shultz, former secretary of state "An illuminating, deeply reported account from one of the best journalists writing about the Middle East today. Jay Solomon's The Iran Wars offers a front-row view of the spy games, assassinations, political intrigue and high-stakes diplomacy that have defined relations with one of America's most cunning and dangerous foes."--Joby Warrick, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS "A thorough yet concise survey of Iran's buildup of nuclear technology since the 1980s, its troubling exporting of Shiite insurgency in countries around it, and the changing American reaction. Wall Street Journal chief foreign affairs correspondent [Jay] Solomon offers an evenhanded look at the backdoor schemes involving the building of Iran's nuclear weapons and the world players involved in and against its machinations."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Last Citadel: A Novel of the Battle of Kursk


David L. Robbins - 2003
    . .David L. Robbins has won widespread acclaim for his powerful and splendidly researched novels of World War II. Now he casts his brilliant vision on one of the most terrifying--and most crucial--battles of the war: the Battle of Kursk, Hitler’s desperate gamble to defeat Russia, in the final German offensive on the eastern front.Last CitadelSpring 1943. In the west, Germany strengthens its choke hold on France. To the south, an Allied invasion looms imminent. But the greatest threat to Hitler’s dream of a Thousand Year Reich lies east, where his forces are pitted in a death match with a Russian enemy willing to pay any price to defend the motherland. Hitler rolls the dice, hurling his best SS forces and his fearsome new weapon, the Mark VI Tiger tank, in a last-ditch summer offensive, code-named Citadel.The Red Army around Kursk is a sprawling array of infantry, armor, fighter planes, and bombers. Among them is an intrepid group of women flying antiquated biplanes; they swoop over the Germans in the dark, earning their nickname, “Night Witches.” On the ground, Private Dimitri Berko gallops his tank, the Red Army’s lithe little T-34, like a Cossack steed. In the turret above Dimitri rides his son, Valya, a Communist sergeant who issues his father orders while the war widens the gulf between them. In the skies, Dimitri’s daughter, Katya, flies with the Night Witches, until she joins a ferocious band of partisans in the forests around Kursk. Like Russia itself, the Berko family is suffering the fury and devastation of history’s most titanic tank battle while fighting to preserve what is sacred–their land, their lives, and each other–as Hitler flings against them his most potent armed force.Inexorable and devastating, a company of Mark VI Tiger tanks is commanded by one extraordinary SS officer, a Spaniard known as la Daga, the Dagger. He’d suffered a terrible wound at the hands of the Russians: now he has returned with a cold fury to exact his revenge. And above it all, one quiet man makes his own plan to bring Citadel crashing down and reshape the fate of the world.A remarkable story of men and arms, loyalty and betrayal, Last Citadel propels us into the claustrophobic confines of a tank in combat, into the tension of guerrilla tactics, and across the smoking charnel of one of history’s greatest battlefields. Panoramic, authentic, and unforgettable, it reverberates long after the last cannon sounds.From the Hardcover edition.

Gray Work: Confessions of an American Paramilitary Spy


Jamie Smith - 2014
    This is a fascinating tale-and potentially the first-to describe the work of American contractors, men who run highly dangerous missions deep inside foreign countries on the brink of war. It will lift the veil and detail the ultimate danger and risk of paramilitary operations (both officially government-sanctioned and not) and show us in very intimate terms exactly what private soldiers do when the government can't act or take public responsibility. GRAY WORK combines covert military intelligence with boots-on-the-ground realism, following Jamie Smith through his CIA training and work as a spy in the State Department, to his co-founding of Blackwater following 9/11, to his decision to leave that company. As the founder and director of Blackwater Security, Smith's initial vision has undeniably shaped and transformed a decade of war. He argues that this gray area-and its warriors who occupy the controversial space between public and private-has become an indispensable element of the modern battlefield.

Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World


H.R. McMaster - 2020
    General H.R. McMaster, U.S. Army, ret., the former National Security Advisor and author of the bestselling classic Dereliction of Duty, comes a bold and provocative re-examination of the most critical foreign policy and national security challenges that face the United States, and an urgent call to compete to preserve America’s standing and security.Across multiple administrations since the end of the Cold War, American foreign policy has been misconceived, inconsistent, and poorly implemented. As a result, America and the free world have fallen behind rivals in power and influence. Meanwhile threats to security, freedom, and prosperity, such as nuclear proliferation and jihadist terrorism have grown. In BATTLEGROUNDS, H.R. McMaster describes efforts to reassess and fundamentally shift policies while he was National Security Advisor. And he provides a clear pathway forward to improve strategic competence and prevail in complex competitions against our adversaries.BATTLEGROUNDS is a groundbreaking reassessment of America’s place in the world, drawing from McMaster’s long engagement with these issues, including 34 years of service in the U.S. Army with multiple tours of duty in battlegrounds overseas and his 13 months as National Security Advisor in the Trump White House. It is also a powerful call for Americans and citizens of the free world to transcend the vitriol of partisan political discourse, better educate themselves about the most significant challenges to national and international security and work together to secure peace and prosperity for future generations.