LtGen James Mattis' Reading List

Commander, United States Marine Corps Forces, Central Command Reading List

Commander's Intent: The Global War on Terrorism is a long war, and as such we need to continue our preparation to be engaged in all aspects of this war. For our current fights the MARCENT Reading List provides a collection of readings to be read dependent upon your grade and how long you have before deploying. Whether part of a unit or an individual augment, my intent is to prepare you for the operational, tactical, cultural and environmental factors affecting your specific fight. This reading list is not all inclusive and your local command may require you to accomplish other tasks in preparation for deployment as well. All of these actions will ensure we send educated, well-trained and properly prepared Marines into the fight. Turn-to, get it done, you and your Marines will be better for your efforts.

LtGen James N. Mattis

Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command

Section I is a list of articles, books and publications that are required reading for all hands to prepare for your upcoming deployment to the USCENTCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR).

Section II is recommended reading separated into specific regions within the AOR.  Applicable ranks are assigned and each item is marked by the estimate amount of time that the item can be completed prior to deployment.  The time allotted permits prioritization of the reading requirements should a Marine receive late notification for deployment.

I.  Require reading list for all Marines and Sailors deploying to USCENTCOM AOR.

All Ranks

Small Units Leaders’ Guide to Counterinsurgency – MCCDC (MCIP 3-33.01) (Ed. note, pardon the alternate online source, it is no longer available via FAS)

Closing Ranks – Leslie Susser, Jerusalem Post, 8 January 2007

Israel’s Lebanese War, A Preliminary Assessment – Dr. Martin van Creveld, The RUSI Journal, October 2006

Gates of Fire: Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae – Setphen Pressfield

Squad Leaders, Non-Commissioned Officers / Petty Officers and Above

The Village – Bing West

Ethics and Combat: Thoughts for Small Unit Leaders – Steven Silver, Marine Corps Gazette, November 2006

Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency – Dr. David Kilcullen

Blood Stripes – David Danelo

Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned Website – (PKI / CAC Card Login Required)

Staff NCOs, CPOs, Company Grade Offices and Above

Winning the Peace, The Requirement for Full Spectrum Operations – MG Peter Chiarelli, Military Review, October 2006 (COIN Reader)

Tentative Manual for Countering Irregular Threats: An Updated Approach to Counterinsurgency Operations – MCWL (MCIP 3-33.02)

Learning Counterinsurgency: Observations from Soldiering in Iraq – LTG David Petraeus, Military Review, October 2006 (COIN Reader)

Seven Months in Ar Ramadi: Observations from 2nd Battalion 4th Marines - Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned Website – (PKI / CAC Card Login Required)

A Bell for Adano – John Hersey

Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned Website – (PKI / CAC Card Login Required)

One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer – Nathaniel Fick

Field Grade Officers, First Sergeants and Master Sergeants, CPOs / Above

Marine Corps Operating Concepts for a Changed Security Environment – MCCDC Pamphlet dated March 2006

Tentative Manual for Countering Irregular Threats: An Updated Approach to Counterinsurgency Operations – MCWL (MCIP 3-33.02)

Winning the Peace, The Requirement for Full Spectrum Operations – MG Peter Chiarelli, Military Review, October 2006 (COIN Reader)

Counterinsurgency – US Army Field Manual 3-24 / Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 33.3.5

Multi-Service Concept for Irregular Warfare – MCCDC / USSOCOM Pamphlet dated 2006

The Army in Vietnam – Andrew Krepenivich

Achilles in Vietnam – Jonathan Shay

The Crusades Through Arab Eyes – Amin Maalouf

The Small Wars Manual – FMFRP 12-15

Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice – David Galula

Combat Stress – Marine Corps Reference Publication 6-11C

Colonels and General Officers

Thoughts on Operational Art – Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, October 2006

The Utility of Force – General Rupert Smith

The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror – Bernard Lewis

Tentative Manual for Countering Irregular Threats: An Updated Approach to Counterinsurgency Operations – MCWL (MCIP 3-33.02)

Counterinsurgency – US Army Field Manual 3-24 / Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 33.3.5

Knowing the Enemy: Can Social Scientists Redefine the "War on Terror" – George Packer, The New Yorker Magazine dated 18 December 2006

Advising Foreign Forces: Tactics, Techniques and Procedures - Center for Army Lessons Learned Special Edition No. 06-01 dated January 2006 (requires AKO account)

II. Recommended Reading for Marines and Sailors Deploying to Specific Regions of USCENTCOM’s AOR

Afghanistan

Corporals and Below

Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia – Ahmed Rashid

Taliban – Ahmed Rashid

Imperial Grunts – Robert Kaplan

Sergeants and Above and Company Grade Officers

Reaping the Whirlwind: Afghanistan, Al Qa'ida and the Holy War – Michael Griffin

Afghan Guerilla Warfare: In the Words of the Mujahideen Fighters – Ali Ahmad Jalali and Lester Grau

Imperial Grunts – Robert Kaplan

Tactics of the Crescent Moon – H. John Poole and Ray Smith

Afghanistan’s Cave Complexes 1979 – 2004 – Mir Bahmanyar

Soldier Sahibs – Charles Alan  

The Village – Bing West

What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East – Bernard Lewis

From Beirut to Jerusalem – Thomas Friedman

Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan – Lester Grau

The Other Side of the Mountain: Mujahideen Tactics in the Soviet-Afghan War – Ali Ahmad Jalali and Lester Grau

The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power – Max Boot

Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan – Robert Kaplan

Staff NCOs and Field Grade Officers

Afghanistan – Stephan Taylor (ed. note - unable to locate online)

The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An Oral History – Peter Bergen

Charlie Wilson’s War – George Crile  

Afghanistan: A Military History – Stephen Tanner

Culture and Customs of Afghanistan – Hafizullah Emadi

War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet – Eric Margolis

The Soviet Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost – Russian General Staff

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia – Ahmed Rashid

The Punishment of Virtue – Sarah Chayes

Afghan Guerrilla Warfare – Ali Ahmad Jalali

The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America’s Power and Purpose – General Anthony Zinni

Djibouti / Horn of Africa

Sergeants and Company Grade Officers

What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam – John Esposito

The Battle for God – Karen Armstrong

Islamism and its Enemies in the Horn of Africa – Alex De Waal

Staff NCOs and Field Grade Officers

A Modern History of the Somali – I. M. Lewis

Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia – Paul Henze

Famine Crimes – Alex De Waal

The Horn of Africa: Politics and International Relations – Peter Woodward

The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror – Bernard Lewis

Iraq

Sergeants and Company Grade Officers

No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle of Fallujah – Bing West

Imperial Grunts – Robert Kaplan

The Revolt on the Tigris – Mark Etherington

Greater Middle East

Corporals and Below

Hatred’s Kingdom – Dore Gold

The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam’s War Against America – Daniel Benjamin

No God but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam – Reza Aslan

The Idea of Pakistan – Stephen Cohen

Understanding Arabs: A Guide for Modern Times – Margaret Nydell

The Arab Mind – Raphael Patai

The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future – Vali Nasr

Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution – Nikki Keddie

Failure of Political Islam – Oliver Roy

Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism – Robert Pope

Sergeants and Company Grade Officers

Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda – Gary Bernsten and Ralph Pezzullo

Global Responses to Terrorism: 9/11, Afghanistan and Beyond – Mary Buckley

Staff NCOs and Field Grade Officers

All the Shah’s Men – Stephen Kinzer

Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napolean to Al-Qaeda – John Keegan

The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power – Max Boot

Battle Ready – Tom Clancy

The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future – Vali Nasr

Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution – Nikki Keddie

Failure of Political Islam – Oliver Roy

Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism – Robert Pope

A Peace to End All Peace – David Fromkin

The Arab Israeli Wars – Chaim Herzog

What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East – Bernard Lewis

The Easter Offensive – Colonel G. H. Turley

The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror – Bernard Lewis

MARCENT Coordination Elements

MCWP 0-1.1 Componency (Required Reading for all MCE Assigned Personnel – MCWP 3-40.8

USMARCENT Theater Campaign Plan – MARCENT G-5 (not on NIPRNET)

0
Your rating: None

Comments

An article from 2013 and an exchange between the author, an American (then) studying at Kings War Studies: http://www.strifeblog.org/2013/05/07/with-rifle-and-bibliography-general...

Might be worth reading again.

I would also recommend several others books with specific reference to Afghanistan..they are:

1. Decent Into Chaos by Ahmed Rashid: Afghan reconstruction and reconciliation opportunities missed with the onset of Iraqi Freedom.

2. Mission, Men and Me by Pete Bladber: Operation Anaconda, Paktia Province March of 2002 by Senior Delta operator.

3. Not a Good Day to Die by Sean Naylor: Chaos atop Takur Ghar during Anaconda resulting in deaths of Ranger QRF. Lessons learned...or not learned in the early days.

4. SOG by John Plaster: Vietnam..Where daily missions then would be spectacular missions/achievements today-heros of another time. 5th Grp SF operating in Laos and in "real bad guy" territory.

5. The Devil We Know by Bob Baer (this is a must read). Iran and the consequence of the war in Iraq; involvement in Lebanon & Gaza.

Paktia/Khost-2003

WARNING...WARNING... DANGER, WILL ROBINSON... SHAMELESS PLUG FOLLOWS!!!

Add "COIN and Irregular Warfare in a Tribal Society Primer version 2" by yours truly to the reading list. The primer can be found in the SWJ.

Shamelessly yours,

MAC

You are correct! I withdraw that criticism in order to concentrate on some of the lower brow works!

Isn't FMFRP 12-15 the 1940 Small Wars Manual?

We insult the intelligence of junior enlisted and officers by recommending that they read middlebrow nonsense or the gleanings from pundits. Much of this doesn't inform the work that they shall do, and some it likely is counter-productive.

The fact that the USMC's own Small Wars Manual (1940) doesn't even appear on a list compiled by a Marine is bracing. I guess it had to make way for COIN genius Tom Friedman.

Also, it's Pape, not Pope.

I'm glad that Bing made the cut. It might have been nice to have seen a few selections from actual insurgents! Empathy matters.