06 December 2006

List of Must-Read Books

Mr Tout asked me to compile a list of significant, must-read books. This was in response to his being blown away by a book of his that I had read and he hadn't, despite my many urgings over the years.

This book was

1. The Face of Battle - John Keegan

Nearly as good:

2. The History of Warfare - John Keegan

The usual suspects:

3. Dune
4. The Godfather

But now for the less famous:

5. Blood Money

6. Steel My Soldiers' Hearts - Col. David Hackworth

Very readable. Not quite as insightful into the nature of the world, but very readable. Gripping. Could have used a few more maps, especially at the climactic battle.

7. Guerilla Warfare - Che Guevara

8. Coup d'Etat - Edward Luttwak

This blew my socks off.

9. The Territorial Imperative

Heavy going - the guy is a writer, not a scientist, and he loves to show off his beautiful, crystalline, flintlike but difficult prose. But interesting.

10. Guns, Germs and Steel

Everything you ever wanted to know about how and why the white man - and the myth of the intrinsic superiority of the white man - conquered the earth.

11. The Consolations of Philosophy - Alain de Botton

Cheeky yet readable prose. Love his outlook. Basically he takes us through the history of philosophy - real philosophy, i.e. the significance of pleasure and pain - through looking at 6 key philosophers. Sets it forth so simply even your brother-in-law could understand it. Ends with Nietzsche and a great take on his message.


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