What I was Reading in 2017. How about you?

A few thoughts on the books I was learning from this year, just in time for Jolabokaflod for you Icelandians.

I like to read about 10 books at a time so when I get bored with one book I can grab another. My list usually contains books about current events, a classic, something I would like to review, something fun etc.

This is what I was working through: (I went way beyond 10 at a time this year, but I needed a break from writing)

  • The Hawk and the Dove, Thompson. Link I gained a new appreciation for the Cold War by studying the lives of Nitze and Kennan and no one can tell the story like the grandson of Paul Nitze. Many lessons can be applied today.
  • Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman, W. Tecumseh Sherman. While Grant’s memoirs are often held up as the standard, I enjoy seeing the world through Sherman’s eyes. His time as a company grade officer is full of deployments and surprises. As a Florida boy who was stationed in Monterey CA these stories have a special significance as we trod much of the same ground.
  • Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, Berg. Amazon If you are an editor or a writer this is a must read. I would suggest the movie too. Max Perkins changed the publishing world by pushing the old guard to accept knew and controversial authors. Can you imagine the world without the authors he had in his bullpen?
  • The Papers of George C. Marshall, Vol 7. The long awaited final volume has been published and it is another treasure trove of life lessons from one of America’s top 5 citizens. He is my favorite General Officer because of his humility and wisdom. Pick up any of these volumes and read his letters, orders, and speeches. Find out what the codeword “Pinehurst” meant.
  • That Summer in Paris, Callaghan. Amazon if you want to understand the lost generation this is the best account. Well written and concise. The stories you thought you knew.
  • David Shepherd: My Painting Life, Shepherd. With the passing of this art and wildlife conservation icon I went back to re-read his book and look at his paintings. So Glad I got to introduce my wife to him last year and get a private tour of his studio. Rest well David. David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
  • A Man and a Motorcycle: How Hamid Karzai Came to Power, Dam. Goodreads a fast paced look at Karzai’s rise in Afghanistan by a journalist.
  • While serving as a NatSec advisor on the bipartisan Presidential Transition Team in 2016-17 I read a few articles and papers I found useful. Advice for Young Muslims, Ghobash. On Tribalism, Kaplan and Costa 2014. The Islamic State and the New Tribalism, Kaplan and Costa 2015. Approaches for Countering Violent Extremism at Home and Abroad, Selim 2016. National Security Strategy, Reagan, 1987.
  • Dereliction of Duty, McMaster. I suggest reading this every year. Many lessons to learn and relearn. Goodreads
  • Arab States of the Lower Gulf, Anthony. If you want to understand the backstory behind the GCC battles this year take a step back in time with GCC expert and annual guest Dr John Duke Anthony one of my Arab world mentors. Discover more about the Arab states at NCUSAR
  • Of Time and the River, Wolfe. Link to book Read the story that tried editor Max Perkin’s soul. A Carolina writer that has a distinct way with words.
  • 32 Battalion, Nortje A gift from an old Africa Hand took me to a new battlefield and introduced me to units and tactics that should be studied.
  • Treasure Island, Stevenson. Book Go back and read this classic. I prefer the Wyeth illustrated version.
  • The Complete Short Stories of Hemingway, the Finca Vigia edition. I read Hemingway often as his writing style is a great place to return after lots of academic reading. This book has a great variety.
  • Classical Persian Literature, Arberry. Link if you enjoy Rumi then take in the whole story of Persian writing.
  • One Mission, Fussell. Chris Fussell of the McChrystal Group Leadership Institute brings us more team building lessons. Become a book reviewer and you will be rewarded with sneak peaks.
  • God, Country, Golf, Wesley Bauguess. Link. An Army widow and veteran helps America understand what losing a best friend is like and how to become a stronger person. Inspiring story.
  • Drums, James Boyd. Link. A tale of the American Revolution as seen by a young man in North Carolina. North Carolina author and Philanthropist.
  • Ernest Hemingway as remembered by Norberto Fuentes. A photo journey of Hemingway’s life during his years in Cuba.
  • The Qur’an: A Chronological Modern English Interpretation, Howk. I read my own book many times this year during the editing process. If you are interested in learning about Islam then read someone’s version. Book Review
  • Up next: SAS Rogue Heroes, Macintyre. After years of working beside some of these warriors I’m digging into their history. Amazon

Have fun reading in 2018,

Jason

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