Junior Ganymede
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Best Books of Military History

May 26th, 2009 by G.

What’s your favorite? I’ve read Shelby Foote’s Civil War several times, though more as an American devotion than for the military history. And I always skip the epilogue. Davis might have been a fine fellow but he still should have been hanged.

Keegan is always very readable.

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May 26th, 2009 12:54:07

John Mansfield
May 26, 2009

I thought 1794: America, Its Army,
and the Birth of a Nation
was very worthwhile. The author is Dave Palmer, former West Point superintendent. It looks at the first year of the United States Army under the Constitution (Whiskey Rebellion and Indian Wars around Pittsburgh) to examine what it took to create a military that would remain thoroughly subject to civilian authority. I think I read it in 1994, and its pages about how we set out to avoid governance by a “man on horseback” have stuck with me. The link below gives one chapter.

“Killing the king was a chilling and unforgettable event. Englishmen would forever afterwards remember that the army had done it. While there would be a Royal Navy once more, and one day a Royal Air Force, there would never again be a Royal Army. An English army, or a British army, but not a royal one.”


Adam G.
May 27, 2009

That reminds me: Washington’s Crossing is also superb.

May 27, 2009

I can’t think of a favorite at the moment, but I’ve recently enjoyed Cockleshell Heroes, about a folding kayak raid on Nazi-occupied France, and Raid on the Sun, about the Osirik reactor strike.

Adam G.
May 27, 2009

Folding kayaks? Spoiled. Back in my day we had to raid nazis on boats made of lettuce leaves.

Ben Pratt
May 28, 2009

A while back I started reading Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War online. I have yet to finish it.

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