SSP Summer Reading List

Featured Faculty: 

"War and the Engineers: The Primacy of Politics Over Technology" by Keir Lieber

"How the Gloves Came Off: Lawyers, Policy Makers, and Norms in the Debate on Torture" by Liz Grimm Arsenault

"Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War" by C. Christine Fair

"Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions" by Elizabeth Saunders

"Inside Terrorism" by Bruce Hoffman

"The Dictator's Army: Battlefield Effectiveness in Authoritarian Regimes" by Caitlin Talmadge

"The Challenge of Nation-Building: Implementing Effective Innovation in the U.S. Army from World War II to the Iraq War" by Rebecca Patterson

“The Cybersecurity Dilemma: Hacking, Trust and Fear Between Nations” by Ben Buchanan

"Just War Reconsidered: Strategy, Ethics, and Theory" by James M. Dubik

“The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy: Why Strategic Superiority Matters” by Matthew Kroenig

“Beyond NATO:  A New Security Architecture for Eastern Europe” by Michael O'Hanlon

"The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order" by Sean McFate

"Deep Black: A Tom Locke Novel" by Sean McFate

Books by Concentration:

Please note that, in order to avoid redundancy, titles are only listed under one concentration, but could certainly apply to more than one, so please peruse them all!

International Security

"On Grand Strategy" by John Lewis Gaddis; recommended by James Carafano and Tom McNaugher

"South Korea at the Crossroads" by Scott Snyder; recommended by Scott Harold

"Asia’s Cauldron" by Robert Kaplan; recommended by Scott Harold

"Fascism: A Warning" by Madeleine Albright; recommended by Jeremy Mathis

"The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy" by Walter A. McDougall; recommended by Mike Mazarr

"The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power" by Thomas Christensen; recommended by Al Willner

"The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers" by Richard McGregor; recommended by Al Willner

"Leadership Without Easy Answers" by Ronald Heifetz; recommended by James Dubik

"Great Powers, Grand Strategies: The New Game in the South China Sea" by Anders Corr (ed); recommended by Robert Tomes

Terrorism and Substate Violence

"The Exile: The Stunning Inside Story of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda In Flight" by Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy; recommended by Liz Arsenault

"Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement" by Alexander Thurston; recommended by Liz Arsenault

"Quicksilver War: Syria, Iraq, and the Spiral of Conflict" by William Harris; recommended by Robert Tomes

"Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism" by John Calvert; recommended by Robert Tomes

"Munitions of the Mind" by Philip M. Taylor; recommended by Mark Jacobson

    Technology and Security

    "SuperIntelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies" by Nick Bostrom; recommended by Ben Buchanan

    "The Innovators:  How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" by Walter Isaacson; recommended by Gary Shiffman

    "Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know" by P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman; recommended by Meredith Burkart

    "Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War" by Fred Kaplan; recommended by Meredith Burkart

    "Energy and Civilization: A History" by Vacliv Smil; recommended by Paul Sullivan

    "The Quantum Spy" by David Ignatius; recommended by Paul Sullivan

    "Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America's Power" by Meghan L. O'Sullivan; recommended by Kirk Sherr

    "The New Geopolitics of Natural Gas" by Agnia Grigas; recommended by Kirk Sherr

    "Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet" by Varun Sivaram; recommended by Kirk Sherr

    "Strategy, Evolution, and War; From Apes to Artificial Intelligence" by Kenneth Payne; recommended by Ali Hawks

    U.S. National Security Policy

    "By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783" by Michael Green; recommended by Tom McNaugher and Scott Harold

    “Kings and Presidents:  Saudi Arabia and the United States since FDR” by Bruce Riedel; recommended by Michael O’Hanlon

    “All Measures Short of War” by Tom Wright; recommended by Michael O’Hanlon

    "Clashing Over Commerce" by Douglas A. Irwin; recommended by James Carafano

    "US defense budget outcomes: volatility and predictability in army weapons funding" by Heidi Brackman Demarest; recommended by Larry Korb

    "The Return of Marco Polo's World" by Robert Kaplan; recommended by Jeremy Mathis and Robert Tomes

    "Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy" by Jonah Goldberg; recommended by Jeremy Mathis

    "Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America" by Kathleen Belew; recommended by Liz Arsenault

    "Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence" by Bryan Burrough; recommended by Liz Arsenault

    "The Men Who Lost America" by Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy; recommended by Bob Murray

    "Preventive Engagement:  How American Can Avoid War, Stay Strong, and Keep the Peace" by Paul B. Stares; recommended by Tom McNaugher

    "The Best and the Brightest" by David Halberstam; recommended by David Gutschmit


    "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers" by Daniel Ellsberg; recommended by Mike Mazarr

    "Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite" by Jake Bernstein; recommended by Gary Shiffman

    "Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes" by Jacques Ellul; recommended by Mark Jacobson

    "None So Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam" by George Allen; recommended by Patrick Eddington

    "War of Numbers" by Sam Adams (forward by COL David Hackworth, USA (ret)); recommended by Patrick Eddington

    "And I Was There: Pearl Harbor and Midway Breaking the Secrets" by RADM Edwin T. Layton; recommended by Patrick Eddington

    "Fooled by Randomness" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb; recommended by Paul Sullivan

    "Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan" by Steven Coll; recommended by Joe Collins

    "Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence" by James R. Clapper and Trey Brown; recommended by Robert Tomes

    "The Future of Foreign Intelligence: Privacy and Surveillance in a Digital Age" by Laura K. Donohue; recommended by Robert Tomes

    "Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters" by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Samuel M. Katz; recommended by Robert Tomes

    Military Operations

    "Combined Arms Warfare in the Twentieth Century" by Jonathan House; recommended by John Gordon

    "Every War Must End" by Fred Ikle; recommended by James Dubik

    "No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes" by Anand Gopal; recommended by Ben Buchanan

    "Maritime Supremacy and the Opening of the Western Mind" by Peter Padfield; recommended by Bob Murray

    "The Unwomanly Face of War" by Svetlana Alexievich; recommended by Ellen Haring

    "War by Other Means" by Robert Blackwill and Jennifer Harris; recommended by Mike Mazarr

    "The U.S. Military’s Force Structure: A Primer" by Congressional Budget Office; recommended by David Mosher

    "Winning the Fight" by Special Tactics Institute; recommended by Keith Hrebenak

    "America and the Future of War: Past as Prologue" by Williamson Murray; recommended by Robert Tomes

    "The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook" by Niall Ferguson; recommended by Robert Tomes

    "Thomas Schelling and the Nuclear Age: Strategy as Social Science" by Robert Ayson; recommended by Robert Tomes

    Unconventional Weapons and Non-Proliferation

    "The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy" by David E. Hoffman; recommended by Mallory Stewart

    “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” by Richard Rhodes; recommended by Mallory Stewart