Editor’s note: War Books is a weekly MWI series, in which we ask interesting guests—practitioners, experts, or experienced students of war—to list five books that have shaped the way they understand war, warfare, and strategy. This edition of War Books originally appeared last year.


Top Five Books

Graham Greene, The Quiet American

Evelyn Waugh, Sword of Honour Trilogy

Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams

Stanley Kubrick (director), Dr. Strangelove

Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History

The One That Shaped Me The Most

In my judgment, Niebuhr’s The Irony of American History, published in 1952, remains the most important book ever written about US foreign policy. It makes the crucial point that the origins of US policy come from within. We do what we do in the world largely in response to our own illusions of who we are as a people and what we are summoned to do as a nation.


Andrew Bacevich is a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. He graduated from West Point in 1969 and served for 23 years in the army. His PhD is from Princeton. He is the author of several books, among them American Empire, The New American Militarism, The Limits of Power, and Washington Rules. He is currently working on a history of US military involvement in the Greater Middle East since 1980.

Thee views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Point, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or any agency of the US government.