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James Mattis

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James Norman Mattis is a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general who served as the 26th US secretary of defense from January 2017 through January 2019. During his 44 years in the Marine Corps, he commanded forces in the Persian Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War.
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The Future of Strategy
Colin S. Gray - Oct 12, 2020 (first published in 2015)
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Strategy is not a modern invention. It is an essential and enduring feature of human history that is here to stay. In this original essay, Colin S. Gray, world-renowned scholar of strategic thought, discusses the meaning of strategy and its importance for politicians and the military as a means of achieving desired outcomes in complex, uncertain co...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
I think Colin Gray’s Fighting Talk and The Future of Strategy are just two tremendous ones.      source
Meditations
Marcus Aurelius - Apr 07, 2020 (first published in 180)
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The Meditations are a set of personal reflections by Marcus Aurelius. He writes about the vicissitudes of his own life and explores how to live wisely and virtuously in an unpredictable world.Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful ...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
You have to keep your peace up there, so you’d better read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations     source
BEFORE THE FIRST SHOTS ARE FIRED
TONY ZINNI - Sep 15, 2015
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For the better part of the last half century, the United States has been the World's Police, claiming to defend ideologies, allies, and our national security through brute force. But is military action always the most appropriate response? Drawing on his vast experience, from combat in Vietnam to peacekeeping in Somalia, to war games in Washington,...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
Tony Zinni’s Before the First Shot Is Fired and H.R. McMaster’s Dereliction of Duty are really first-rate     source
World Order
Henry Kissinger - Sep 01, 2015 (first published in 2014)
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Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found hereHenry Kissinger offers inWorld Ordera deep meditation on the roots of international harmony and global disorder. Drawing on his experience as one of the foremost statesmen of the modern era—advising presidents, traveling the world, observing and shaping the central foreign policy events ...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
Certainly you get that too if you look at our nation, where we’re at right now, if you read Barbara Tuchman’s March of Folly or The Guns of August, or you read Paul Kennedy’s Rise and Fall of the Great Powers or Henry Kissinger’s Diplomacy and World Order, you can see what’s happening to a nation in a broader context, which I think is critical.     source
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Just and Unjust Wars
A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations
Michael Walzer - Aug 11, 2015 (first published in 1976)
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From the Athenian attack on Melos to the My Lai Massacre, from the wars in the Balkans through the first war in Iraq, Michael Walzer examines the moral issues surrounding military theory, war crimes, and the spoils of war. He studies a variety of conflicts over the course of history, as well as the testimony of those who have been most directly inv...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
You’ve got to study ethics and not confront your ethical dilemmas for the first time on the battlefield, so you read Michael Walzer’s Just and Unjust Wars or Malham Wakin’s War, Morality, and the Military Profession.      source
Duty
Memoirs of a Secretary at War
Robert M. Gates - Jan 14, 2014
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From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vividly written account of his experience serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House in 2006, he thought he’d left Washington politics behind: after working for six presidents in bot...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
I was the executive secretary for two secretaries at Defense, I worked closely with three others — and when you read Gates’ book Duty, you get a real sense of the breadth and the gravity of what faces people at that level.      source
The Rules of the Game
Jutland and British Naval Command
Andrew Gordon - Feb 21, 2013 (first published in 1996)
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At the Battle of Jutland eighty years ago in May 1916, 250 warships of the two most powerful fleets in the world clashed in an encounter which might potentially have reshaped forever the political map of Europe and the world beyond. In the event, though one in ten of the ships went to the bottom, and 9,000 men died, its consequences were less spect...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
You look at our reliance on communications today, on cyber and all this stuff, and then you read Andrew Gordon’s book on The Rules of the Game about what went wrong for the Royal Navy between Nelson’s navy at Trafalgar and Admiral Jellicoe’s navy one hundred years later at Jutland, and you get a real reminder of how you can take fundamental errors that just screw you up royally.      source
The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant - Dec 10, 2012 (first published in 1885)
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General Grant's personal memoirs are a must read for all Civil War buffs and those even remotely interested in history. This book, which includes both Volume I and II, articulately spells out the military career of one of the United States' greatest generals. Grant's memoirs are well-written, thoughtful, insightful, and offer more than a glimpse in...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
When you go up to the operational level of war, where you look at operational and strategic, you can’t go wrong when you read Grant’s Memoirs or Viscount Slim’s Defeat into Victory.     source
The Lessons of History
Will Durant - Feb 16, 2010 (first published in 1968)
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A concise survey of the culture and civilization of mankind, The Lessons of History is the result of a lifetime of research from Pulitzer Prize–winning historians Will and Ariel Durant.With their accessible compendium of philosophy and social progress, the Durants take us on a journey through history, exploring the possibilities and limitations of ...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
In some way you look back on Will and Arial Durant’s The Lessons of History or Ron Chernow’s book on Alexander Hamilton, and you realize, man, you can get an awful lot out of people who have been through this sort of thing and studied the ones who did it before.      source
Fighting Talk
Forty Maxims on War, Peace, and Strategy
Colin S. Gray - Aug 01, 2009 (first published in 2007)
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Colin Gray presents an inventive treatise on the nature of strategy, war, and peace, organized around forty maxims. This collection of mini essays will forearm politicians, soldiers, and the attentive general public against many—probably most— fallacies that abound in contemporary debates about war, peace, and security. While one can never guarante...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
I think Colin Gray’s Fighting Talk and The Future of Strategy are just two tremendous ones.      source
With the Old Breed
At Peleliu and Okinawa
E.B. Sledge - Sep 25, 2007 (first published in 1981)
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Eugene B. Sledge was part of the war's famous 1st Marine Division - 3d Battalion, 5th Marines. Based on notes that Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and intense frankness the experience of a Marine in the fierce Pacific Theatre. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life...
James Mattis
Mar 28, 2017
E. B. Sledge With the Old Breed was a really good one.     source
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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Scipio Africanus by B. H. Liddell Hart
My American Journey by Colin Powell
The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer
The Greatest Raid of All by C.E.Lucas Phillips
Defeat Into Victory by Field-Marshal Viscount William Slim
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
Military Innovation in the Interwar Period by Williamson Murray
Dereliction of Duty by H. R. McMaster
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger
The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman
Sherman by B. H. Liddell Hart
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy
War, Morality, And The Military Profession by Malham M Wakin
The March of Folly by Barbara W. Tuchman
For Country and Corps by Gail B. Shisler