The Canadian Army Reading List - Version 1, September 2001
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Military History

General and Reference

Creasy, Sir Edward S; Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: From Marathon to Waterloo; pub 1960, Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA.

The classic study of fifteen battles from Marathon in 490 BC to Waterloo in 1815.

Dupuy, R. Ernest and Dupuy, Trevor N., The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, HarperCollins Publishers, 1993.  ISBN:  0-06-270056-1.

This is the best reference book for general military history.  The who-where-what-when of history is covered from the First Battle of Megiddo (or Armageddon, the first battle recorded in History) up to the Gulf War.  Interspersed are sections describing military systems, weapons, and important battles. 

Goerlitz, Walter.  History of the German General Staff, 1657-1945. Translated by Brian Battershaw.  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975.

The first comprehensive work on the Prussian and German general staff from its origins in the Thirty Years’ War to the German surrender in 1945.


Luttwak, Edward N. The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century A.D. to the Third. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University, 1976. ISBN 0-0818-2158-4.

An examination of Roman military organization, strategic problems and tactical fighting methods.

Mowat, Farley. The Regiment. Toronto McLelland and Stewart, 1955. Various editions available.

A memoir of the author’s service with The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment during the Second World War.

Early Modern

Duffy, Christopher. Military Experience in the Age of Reason. London: Wordsworth Editions, 1987. ISBN 1-85326-690-6.

An investigation of warfare in the eighteenth century and the revolutionary change armies underwent during this period.

Frederick the Great Frederick the Great on the Art of War. Translated and edited by Jay Luvaas.  New York: The Free Press, 1966.

Written only for the eyes of his generals, On the Art of War presents Frederick’s maxims and basic rules on war. While discussing the problems of war, the role and employment of the various arms and the problems of manoeuvring large armies in the field, one learns that his ideas were surprisingly modern and had a significant impact on the evolution of warfare.

Parker, Geoffrey. The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500 – 1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-521-47958-4.

Based on the Lees Knowles Lectures at Trinity College, this book is an examination of how the west, so deficient in natural resources in 1500 had by 1800 come to control over one third of the world.

Saxe, Maurice, Comte de.  Reveries, or Memoirs Upon the Art of War, 1757. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1971.

Maurice, Comte de Saxe (1696-1750), a victorious French field marshal, rules and reflections on the art of warfare as practiced during the first half of the eighteenth century.  Straightforward and precise, his discussions of all aspects of soldiering are of historical interest and are valuable for their perspective on timeless military problems.

Modern General

Howard, Michael. The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France, 1870 - 1871. London and New York: Routledge, 1988. ISBN 0-415-02787-X.

The Franco-Prussian War was one of the most dramatic and decisive conflicts in Europe. The overwhelming triumph of German military might introduced an era of power politics that was to reach a disastrous climax in 1914.

Miller, Carman. Painting the Map Red: Canada and the South African War, 1899 – 1902. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-7735-0913-5.

Between 1899 and 1902, almost 8,000 Canadians served in this first major overseas war fought by this nation. Miller chronicles the national debate leading Canadian participation, the raising of the various contingents and their experiences in and out of the line.

Napoleonic Era

Chandler, David G. Campaigns of Napoleon: The Mind and Method of History’s Greatest Soldier. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1978.

Arguably the best study of Napoleon in the English language, Chandler’s exhaustive study examines Napoleon’s rise, the origins and development of his grand tactics and the campaigns in which Napoleon personally led his armies.

Elting, John R. Swords Around a Throne: Napoleon’s Grande Armée. New York: The Free Press, 1988. ISBN 0-02-909501-8.

A compelling overview of an army that conquered most of Europe, at its height totalled over a million soldiers and only lasted 10 years. Included is an overview of the command system, organization, combat arms and services, logistics, weapons, tactics, discipline and the reasons for its decline.

Muir, Rory. Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-300-07385-2.

The elements of combat, command and control and the aftermath of battle are discussed from the perspective of several period armies.

North America

Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754 – 1766. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. ISBN 0-375-40642-5.

An engrossing narrative of the events that led to elimination of French power north of the Caribbean and the suzerainty of the British in North America and laid the foundation for the fall of the First British Empire.

Stanley, George F.G. Canada Invaded: 1775 – 1776. Toront Hakkert, 1973.

During 1775 and 1776 American Revolutionary armies attempted to capture both Montreal and Quebec in a bid to make Canada the Fourteenth Colony. Expecting support from the English living in Canada, the Americans were faced by hostile weather and a willing foe composed of English and French Canadians, and were ultimately defeated at the gates of Québec.

Griffith, Paddy. Battle Tactics of the Civil War. Yale University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-300-04247-7.

This important study, written by a British historian, argues that the American Civil War was not, as is generally accepted, the first modern war. By examining various technological developments, the author concludes that technology had less an effect on the conduct or outcome of the war than did doctrine, terrain and command decisions. The Civil War is depicted as the final Napoleonic War.  An important study that questions how military history is perceived and the difficulty in assessing the impact of technology.

Hitsman, J. Mackay. The incredible War of 1812: A Military History. Updated by Donald E. Graves. Toront Robin Brass Studio, 1999. ISBN 1-896941-13-3.

This book was called the finest single volume study on the War of 1812 when it was first published in 1965. Now updated with new maps and appendices, this excellent volume provides an overview of the major events of the war in North America and around the world.

First World War

Griffith, Paddy. Battle Tactics of the Western Front: The British Army’s Art of Attack, 1916 – 1918. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-300-06663-5.

An examination of British military tactics during the First World War which argues that the British Army responded to the tactical problems of the war with great vigour and achieved a skill and mobility that has since been rarely surpassed.

Neillands, Robin. The Great War Generals on the Western Front, 1914 – 1918. London: Robinson, 1999. ISBN 1-85487-900-6.

A fresh examination of generalship during the First World War, based upon political, Imperial, doctrinal and technological considerations.

Rawling,Bill. Surviving Trench Warfare: Technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914 – 1918. Toront University of Toronto Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8020-6002-1 (paper).

The First World War is often painted as one whereby little tactical innovation occurred. In this study of technology and the Canadian Corps, the author argues that technology itself was not a decisive military factor, but that the response to it was. Rawling describes how the Canadian Corps (and to a certain degree the British Army it belonged to) changed tactics and procedures in a coordinated deliberate fashion that produced one of the best formations on the western front.

Schreiber, Shane B. Shock army of the British Empire: The Canadian Corps in the Last 100 Days of the Great War. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997.

In contrast to the set-piece action of Vimy, the 100 Days, beginning with the Battle of Amiens in August 1918 and ending at Mons in November 1918, were noteworthy for the return of manoeuvre and high tempo. They were probably the finest operations conducted by the Canadian Corps. This book is an excellent overview of these final battles of the First World War.

Travers, Tim. Command and Technology in the British Army on the Western Front, 1917 – 1918. London and New York: Routledge, 1992. ISBN 0-415-07628-5.

A fresh and often controversial analysis of the conduct of operations, the origins of mechanical warfare and the role of technology in solving military problems.

Second World War

Citino, Robert M. The Evolution of Blitzkrieg Tactics: Germany Defends Itself Against Poland, 1918 – 1933. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1987. ISBN 0-313-25631-4.

The limitations of the Versailles Treaty created some unique planning problems for German defense. By examining the plans to defend eastern Germany from Polish aggression, the author examines how Germany was left with no alternative but to develop a mobile army.

D’Este, Carlo. Decision in Normandy. New York: E.P. Dutton, Inc., 1983. ISBN 0-525-24218.

A full account of one of the major campaigns of the Second World War, by a former U.S. Army officer. The cross channel invasion of Europe is discussed for its first conception to the key battles that settled its outcome.

Graham, Dominick and Bidwell, Shelford. Tug of War: The Battle for Italy, 1943 – 1945. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1986. ISBN 0-340-34347-8.

The original intention of the Allied invasion of Italy was to knock that country out of that war. However, once that aim was met, the campaign continued to attract huge quantities of men and equipment to the level never originally intended. Considered by many as the best book on this campaign.

Wilmot, Chester. The Struggle for Europe. London: Collins, 1952. Later editions available.

An outstanding account of the struggle for Europe from 1944 to 1945 by an Australian journalist.

The Korean Conflict

Fehrenback, T.R. This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness. New York and London: MacMillan, Brassey’s 1998.

A classic study of the Korean War with a brilliant opening chapter on the perils of military preparedness.

Cold War

Haydon, Commander Peter T. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: Canadian Involvement Reconsidered. Toronto The Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies, 1993.

The first complete examination of Canadian foreign and defence policy and military operations during the greatest crisis of the Cold War. Canada was no bystander at this time and under the banner of collective defence was ready for nuclear war.

Maloney, Sean M. War Without Battles: Canada’s NATO Brigade in Germany, 1951 – 1993. Toront McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1997. ISBN 0-07-552892-4.

The story of the only formation permanently stationed outside of Canada in peacetime. It clearly places the organization and role of the brigade in the context of NATO and Canadian defence policy, arguing that Canada effectively influenced NATO policy while the Canadian presence formed an important contribution to the ground forces on the Central Front.

Post-Cold War Period

Cordingly, Major-General Patrick. In the Eye of the Storm: Commanding the Desert Rats in the Gulf War. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1996. ISBN 0-340-68245-0.

The 7th Armoured Brigade Group was the first British formation to deploy to the Gulf in 1990. Faced with many problems of mobilizing the brigade, moving it to the Middle East, integrating it into a larger American led coalition, the then Brigadier Cordingly was confronted with the problems a Canadian commander and formation staff might face in a similar situation. Written from wartime diaries, we learn of the difficulty of leadership, command and operations in a hostile environment during a period of intense operational tempo.