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The Best Books I Read in 2012

[by J. Scott Shipman]

Defining “the best” is at best subjective. In no particular order save the first two, these are the best books I read in 2012:

Best Non-Fiction: Inventing Grand Strategy and Teaching Command, Jon Tetsuro Sumida

Best Biography: The Last Lion, Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, William Manchester and Paul Reid

National Security Dilemmas, Colin Gray

America in Arms, John McAuley Palmer

Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Admirals, Walter Borneman

Creating a Lean R&D System, Terence Barnhart

The Twilight War, David Crist

Catherine The Great, Robert K.Massie

Rubicon, Tom Holland

Honorable Mentions:

The First Battle, Otto Lehrack

Master and Commander, Patrick O’Brian

Clausewitz’s On War, A Biography, Hew Strachan

John Quincy Adams, Harlow Giles Unger

Cross-posted at To Be or To Do.

6 Responses to “The Best Books I Read in 2012”

  1. Lexington Green Says:

    There is a good discussion of Palmer in Eliot Cohen’s book Citizens and Soldiers: The Dilemmas of Military Service, which is worth reading.  

  2. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Lex,
    I have Cohen’s book on your suggestion, just haven’t read it yet. Many thanks! 

  3. Justin Boland Says:

    My own 2012 list, offered in the spirit of earnest sharing rather than self-promotion, which I am altogether too old for: http://www.brainsturbator.com/articles/2012_reading_list_year_of_the_jellyfish/
    (Bear in mind I’m young, so something like “The Best and the Brightest” is actually new to me.)

  4. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Justin,
    You have quite a list there, and a nice blog. Understand on new old books, and as an old guy (over 50) there are too many of those yet:) That said, military incompetence books looks interesting, so I guess I’m a nerd…

  5. Mr. X Says:

    Scott — Catherine the Great is coming back into vogue in Russia these days what with the talk of taking in more Greeks, Italians, Spaniards and other EUropeans thrown out of work in the Continent’s Great Depression 2.0.

  6. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Mr. X,
    Many thanks for the heads up!
    I’ve long been a fan of Robert K. Massie, however his Catherine  wasn’t as good as his bios of Peter the Great, Nicholas & Alexandra, and The Romanovs — all three first rate bios. I’d be hard pressed to choose between PTG and N&A. His Castles of Steel and Dreadnought were excellent as well. (BTW, I read those books many, many years ago.) 

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