Representative Ike Skelton's Book List

Culture Watch

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Following is a book list prepared by Representative Ike Skelton (D-Mo). It's not your ordinary list. Skelton's highlights books he thinks are essential for people interested in national security issues.

Skelton is a member of the Armed Services Committee. (For more details, click here.)

The List

1. Constitution of the United States

2. "The Art of War," Sun Tzu

3. "On War," Carl von Clausewitz

4. "Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought," Michael I. Handel

5. "The Book of War," John Keegan, ed.

6. "Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: From Marathon to Waterloo," Edward Sheperd

7. "Alexander the Great," Peter Bamm

8. "Hannibal," Sir Gavin De Beer

9. "The Face of Battle," John Keegan

10. "Crucible of War: The Seven Years War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766," Fred Anderson

11. "Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer," John Mack Faragher

12. "Washington," Richard Barksdale Harwell and Douglas Southall Freeman

13. "Tecumseh: A Life," John Sugden

14. "Undaunted Courage," Stephen Ambrose

15. "Napoleon Bonaparte: An Intimate Biography," Vincent Cronin

16. "The Military Maxims of Napoleon," Napoleon Bonaparte

17. "Nelson: A Personal History," Christopher Hibbert

18. "The Price of Admiralty: The Evolution of Naval Warfare," John Keegan

19. "The Washing of the Spears: The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation," Donald R. Morris

20. "Lee," Douglas Southall Freeman

21. "Personal Memoirs," Ulysses S. Grant

22. "Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy: Guerrilla Warfare in the West, 1861-1865," Richard S. Brownlee

23. "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era," James M. McPherson

24. "Son of the Morning Star," Evan S. Connell

25. "A Message to Garcia," Elbert Hubbard

26. "Yanks: The Epic Story of the American Army in World War I," John Eisenhower

27. "Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing," Frank Everson Vandiver

28. "Churchill: A Biography," Roy Jenkins

29. "A War to Be Won," Allan R. Miller and Williamson Murray

30. "Reminiscences," Douglas MacArthur

31. "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," William L. Shirer

32. "Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II," John Prados

33. "Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission," Hampton Sides

34. "Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle," Richard Frank

35. "The Victors: Eisenhower and His Boys and Men of World War II," Stephen Ambrose

36. "Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen," Lynn M. Homan and Thomas Reilly

37. "Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Rendezvous With Destiny," Frank Freidel

38. "Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution," Maj. Gen. Jeanne Hold, USAF (ret.)

39. "Defeat Into Victory," William Slim

40. "Truman," David McCullough

41. "This Kind of War," T.R. Fehrenbach

42. "Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War," Robert Coram

43. "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young," Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

44. "Gulf War: The Complete History," Thomas G. Houlahan

45. "Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Requires a Pagan Ethos," Robert D. Kaplan

46. "Yellow Smoke: The Future of Land Warfare for America's Military," Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales Jr.

47. "Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen and Leadership in Wartime," Eliot Cohen

48. "From Vietnam to 9-11: On the Front Lines of National Security," John P. Murtha, with John Plashal

49. "Making the Corps," Thomas E. Ricks

50. "The American Way of War: A History of United States Military Strategy and Policy," Russell F. Weigley

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More Comments:

Tina Braxton - 6/29/2003

Getting back to Steve's original point here: The reading list is a little too heavy on one theme. Leaving ideological pacifism aside, anybody who doesn't consider any topic other than war worth a place or two on his reading list definitely has a problem.

Robert Cook - 6/28/2003

There is a typographical error in item 38. The correct spelling of the author's name is Holm.

Robert Cook

Roxman - 6/23/2003

Although I admire your sentiment (that of an authentic pacifist), most of us, myself included, are not willing to allow our wives and children to die rather than use force (violence, war) in self defense. One of the reasons there are fewer and fewer pacifists is that it's less likely that they survive from generation to generation. Good luck to you.

Edward Furey - 6/23/2003

Trumbo also wrote the script to "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" -- not exactly a pacifist tract, even though the hero does get maimed (loses his leg). That wasn't poltical correctness -- it happened to Captain Ted Lawson. The depiction of the Doolittle attack in that picture remains superior to the more recent version in "Pearl Harbor," even with the limitations on special effects in 1943. Good film making and writing and a strongly patriotic theme trumps mediocre writing, indifferent production and a strident patriotic theme every time. Or maybe they just patriotism better in the Forties.

Bill Heuisler - 6/22/2003

Your message is obvious, but untenable through any conceivable prism of human experience. You wrote: " wrong in every instance. A Christian can see it no other way."

In every instance? Greeks at Marathon 490 BC? Poles on September first, 1939? Americans on December 8th, 1941? Bar Cochba's Jews in 132 AD? Self defense is imperative for survival.

Reality. "A stone is a better pillow than many visions."
Bill Heuisler

Stephen Kriz - 6/22/2003


War is man's refutation of the admonition of Jesus Christ to "love your neighbor as yourself". It is wrong in every instance. A Christian can see it no other way.

Peace be with you,

Steve Kriz

Bill Heuisler - 6/21/2003

Your peace pronouncements are trite and ahistoric like Haight Ashbury, Shankar and sitar twangs.

Peace is never the answer and usually only the result. In each of the great human advancements of the Ancient World (Lower Nile, Tang Dynasty, Babylon, Sumerian Renaissance) peace for progress was achieved through lengthy wars against "barbarians".

And Dalton Trumbo? "Johnny..." was an exercise in masochism designed to appeal to '38 Lefties who had no quarrel with the Joe and Adolph show in Eastern Europe. But he loved wars as long as they were politically correct - see Spartacus and Exodus. Peace needs character and strength, peace needs justice; the only other peace is in the grave.
Bill Heuisler

Stephen Kriz - 6/20/2003

Seems like Representative Skelton gets a little too stimulated by blood-letting! May I suggest a couple alternatives?

1. The New Testament (Greek translation by Richard Lattimore)

2. Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo

Maybe a little different perspective on war might do you some good (and possibly save your soul!).

Peace is God's way,

Stephen Kriz